Worship is a highly personal experience and I believe touches us all in different ways. The thing we have to caution ourselves against is condemning other styles of worship. If a worship service doesn’t honor God, if worship is about entertainment and not about praise, if worship is empty of connection to Christ, then it’s not worship. But just because worship CAN be entertaining doesn’t mean that it doesn’t honor God. Just because worship uses a guitar, a cello, a flute, or a piano doesn’t mean that it’s not worship. Worship is flexible and varied, not only to provide US a way to connect with God, but for God’s enjoyment! Can you imagine God up in Heaven watching the beautifully wrought panoply of different worship experiences by different people expressing in different ways, their love for God? It’s like how your children have different gifts and use them in different ways to honor you. Some children buy their parents beautiful gifts because they have been blessed with financial abundance. Some children make their parents something special because they have talented hands and minds. Some children grow something in the garden or in the fields because God has blessed them with a green thumb. Some children write beautiful poems because they have the gift of writing. But although all of these forms of honoring someone are different, they are all valuable to the receiver. Even if WE can’t always appreciate different styles of worship, it doesn’t mean God can’t. I’ve seen churches with remarkable praise teams. I’ve seen churches with a jazz band and communion every Sunday. I’ve seen churches with a choir that could knock your socks off. All different, all beautiful in their own way, and all honoring God. It’s why God made us different. So we can find our own ways of honoring Him.
I was thinking about a church where they played very cutting edge Christian music to honor God. It was ear-splitting loud music and for the most part, the crowd was in their early 20’s and 30’s. In the back was an older gentleman who generally wore earplugs during the music and one day he placed a rather sizeable check in the offering plate. The pastor thanked him and asked him what prompted him to donate such a large amount. The man said, even though he knew it wasn’t his style of music, “…if it brings people to Christ, I will support any ministry trying to honor God.” What a wonderful way to look at worship!