Worship music, attractionalism & church growth
I came across two excellent articles this week which deal with the role of music in the church, and attractional models* of church, or more specifically, critiquing such models:
When we gather for worship, we’re not just expressing ourselves to God. It’s not about what we can do for God. It’s not about connecting with God individually. It’s not about passion or emotion.
It’s about retelling our story. A true story. A story that most churches don’t really tell. A story most Christians don’t know.
That’s where I think the historic Christian liturgy is especially helpful. Week after week, season after season, year after year, we participate in the drama of salvation history. Our history. It’s not supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to just be inspiring. It’s not supposed to produce intense emotional response. It’s a microcosmic, disciplined, anticipatory remembrance of who we were, who we are, and who we are to be.
The thing is, every church has a liturgy, whether they realise it or not, even those churches who explicitly reject a formal liturgy. It’s OK not to have a formal liturgy, but as worship leaders, working in a contemporary, informal context, we still need to be putting together services which help our people, week after week, to engage with and enter in the story of redemption. I would argue that when we dive into the story, we will see real growth, as the congregation is formed and shaped by the gospel of Christ.
And from the second article:
The only common touch point between worship and church growth is found in God’s Word. The Lord Himself said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men. The work is His, not ours.
I am not an overt champion for any one specific musical or worship style. I am, however, more and more convicted that we need to be proclaiming Jesus more victoriously and intentionally than ever before.
I highly commend these two articles to your reading.
* Critiquing the attractional model of church growth is not to say that our churches shouldn’t be attractive.