Temporary "Contemporary" Worship
|From Midnight Oil Productions|
Recently we were speaking at a large conference on worship, and the speaker that preceded us made a statement that really caught our attention. He said the Church has spent much time, effort and energy creating “contemporary” worship services, but has missed the purpose of contemporary completely by accidentally creating new forms of “traditional” worship. He concluded with these words: “Think about it, folks. The root of contemporary is temporary.”
Those words rang in our ears. If one believes, as we do, that worship should connect with people of this time and space, both believers and unbelievers, then we have to have a “temporary” mindset. Although the presence of God in Christian worship is timeless, the methodologies we use to increase our own awareness of this presence should be ever changing. The Spirit will always be moving in our lives and in our churches, so we have to stay fluid in our methodologies. We should stay true to our core values, while changing our cultural practice. This is the true purpose of “contemporary” worship.
There is irony in much of what is currently known as “contemporary” worship. Many congregations have a vague desire to create “contemporary” worship (that is, a style of worship more contemporary than what they already do) but don’t have a clear direction about what exactly it is that they hope to accomplish. Often what transpires is a specific style of worship that is structured around the tastes of those creating it. The style then grows old with its designers. It becomes fossilized. What is still called “contemporary” is no longer contemporary at all.