I have been blessed to be around a number of different styles of worship expression and I am thankful for the reverence and emotion each has inspired. From the large gospel choir in a rust belt town, to a tradition hymnal service led by one very excited old man and an organ then on to the hippie folk singer with a record contract.
I have come to appreciate the uniqueness of different worships style and while I might have some personal preferences I have learned to become more concerned about the preaching. And so often when a church faces decline or even desired growth among certain groups we can look hard at the music rather than the word being proclaimed from the pulpit and our lives.
If our church is made up of people who come for the music alone, me might have a problem. Sure music can be a gateway to gospel preaching but is our presentation more important than the substance?
Kevin DeYoung tackles this issue in reaction to some denominational conversations and he asks key questions we must answer well when faced with decline or desired growth. You can see the whole list here, below are ones I wrestle with.
“Is the gospel faithfully preached?
Are the sermons manifestly rooted in a text of Scripture?
Is church discipline practiced?
Are there good relationships among the staff and other leaders?
Are the people of the church engaged in personal ministry?
Is the congregation marked by increasing prayer and evangelism?
Do the pastors believe in the complete trustworthiness of all of Scripture?
Are their lives examples of personal holiness?”
Do we answers these questions and others well? The Lord will build his church, we must be faithful to his Word and obedient to his call.