- On June 9, 2010
- 2 Comments
- Communication in Worship
I am having several discussions with a Pastor friend about the errors we make in our efforts to communicate with all generations in worship service settings. Music has been the vehicle/scapegoat for many efforts of both success and failure to “reach the younger people for Jesus” and of course, get them to come to our church. My friend and I have talked about this being a gross oversimplification of the communication gap between generations and, in my opinion, a short changing of “younger people.” It is implied that if we just sing the right songs this generation of believers and seekers will coming running as if effected by some gospel pied piper. I simply do not believe this is so. I think that our worship must communicate not just in a language younger people can understand, but that we must offer the things which these believers/seekers need to hear in their daily walk with God, or, their desire to find a reason to walk with God. This belief is confirmed as we begin to understand that many 18 to 35 year olds consider themselves to be “spiritual people” even without the church. Take for instance a recent quote from recording artist Lady Gaga in an interview with talk show host Larry King:
Gaga told King: “I struggle with my feelings about the Church in particular….in terms of religion, I’m very religious. I was raised Catholic. I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. I’m very spiritual. I pray very much. But at the same time, there is no one religion that doesn’t hate or speak against or be prejudiced against another racial group or religious group, or sexual group. For that, I think religion is also bogus. So I suppose you could say I’m a quite religious woman that is very confused about religion. And I dream and envision a future where we have a more peaceful religion or a more peaceful world, a more peaceful state of mind for the younger generation. And that’s what I dream for.” Source-Posted Tue Jun 8, 2010 8:58am PDT by Lyndsey Parker as seen on Yahoo! News.
I don’t see anywhere in there that if I just program the right music in my worship service Lady Gaga and those who think like her will coming running to my church. She does not mention the arts at all. What she is focused on is content. I am particularly taken by her statement that she is a “religious woman” whose problem is that she is “confused by religion.” I believe that her statements are not that far off from the shared feelings of many people who listen to her music and share her viewpoint. I believe reading the commentary left by readers of Parker’s blog on Gaga bear out this point of view.
So what does that mean to us as worship planners and leaders, or for our corporate worship experience in general? Are we speaking to the deeper issues that are challenging our younger attendees and addressing how God works in their struggle to understand how he is present in the world, or are we continuing to focus on the surface issues of music and video? I would like to hear from you, especially if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, about whether you believe that Gaga’s comments reflect your own or your friends opinions about religion. Because if this is who we are trying to reach and this is how they think/feel about religion, we need “something more than a song, for a song in itself is not what (God) has required.”
Of course, then we have to figure out how to speak to this generation without leaving the other generations present in corporate worship services to scramble around seeking their voice in worship. But that is a blog for another day.
Coming Soon- Worship Ink: Infinitely Wide and Inches Deep