Why is it that music can create such controversy yet mean so very much to you and me? Someone once told me that while “words speak to the mind, music speaks to our emotions.” That certainly seems true considering the variety of reactions to the changing styles of music, especially worship music, in the church today. Some have even dubbed the current dialog about music styles,“the worship wars.” When emotions are moved, good or bad, we are vulnerable to responding more emotionally than rationally. And, the music that moves me may leave you flat and bored. So how do we bridge this new generation gap? I found the remark of a college student in a church town-hall meeting instructive. Called to consider the changing music styles in their congregation the discussion was wide-ranging and respectful among the several generations present. Then a young man from a nearby college rose and commented,“God has consistently used the new praise and worship music to draw me closer to Him. But I can tell from your comments that in your experience God used the older hymns to draw you closer to Him. I think that if you can help me understand how God used those hymns in your life I could grow to love them as much as you do.”I think that is one of the best comments summarizing the challenges we face in today’s wide variety of music styles. Bring our focus back to God and testify to His work in our individual lives. God loves variety (just visit a zoo if you doubt this!) He gifts different members of the body to speak to the hearts of His people in many different ways. In appreciating different music tastes we have opportunity to implement the truth of Philippians 2:2-3 “each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. Yielding our personal preferences to the spiritual development of others, rather than focusing ourselves, sharing without judgment or defensiveness how the music we enjoy draws us closer to Christ could lead to a greater unity and growing love within our congregations. Think that would work in your world?
Music for the Dance of Life