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Blended Worship December 7, 2007

Posted by dmspagnesi in Uncategorized.
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I was reading a post on http://lifemusicministry.wordpress.com/ talking about the issue of blended worship (the usage of traditional and contemporary music within the same worship service).  As alluded to earlier, the church I grew up in offered a service of blended worship.

 On the whole, this post gave an accurate (if somewhat critical) view on the practice, citing it as an attempt to avoid conflict which may end up causing further complications such as the mixing of musical styles, confusion, and being a symptom of underlying problems.  Coming from a blended worship church, I will admit to having observed some of this from time to time.

Still, growing up with blended worship I feel has led me to be appreciate both forms particularly well.  I feel relatively at home when visiting churches that ascribe to either form of worship, and part of that is due to my familiarity with both music forms.  That being said, Jon’s post did lead me to question what a newcomer (or nonbeliever for that matter) would think entering a church that employed both an organist and a priase band.

Honestly, Jon’s final point about choosing a style and doing it well really hits the mark.  Many churches that I’ve seen attempt to compromise between tradition and change try to appease everyone and often are left appeasing none.  I question though if it’s indeed possible to incorporate both performance styles well.  Certainly, my church would be deemed mediocre on both levels.  But perhaps the polar opposite would be a concern. 

In defining leading worship music in either style “well,” the focus must remain upon the worship element above the music element.  Thus a 40 member chancel choir who is able to perform Rutter’s Magnificat flawlessly though musically impressive could be as spirtually dead as ever.  Or a praise band may perform with the flair and precision of a secular pop rock band, but again at what cost?  This is not to say that worship music should not be of high quality.  As a professional musician, high quality music has tremendous appeal to me in many venues.  In the context of worship though, it is heart that makes the difference.  As a worship leader, I’d rather conduct an old-lady’s club choir who truly worshipped with all their heart even as they warble around the notes on the page than a technically inclined but spiritually stunted choir. 

This is just a brief view into the dynamics of blended worship, and like many concepts it has pros and cons.  For a lengthier discussion and further dialog on this point, visit http://lifemusicministry.wordpress.com/ .

~Spags

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