One blog post I recently read certainly seemed to think so. The writer argued that churches needed more fights about worship, not less! Needless to say, I was interested to see what he meant exactly! After all, for most of us the phrase "worship wars" has very bad and painful things associated with it. We think about different generations yelling at each other, people leaving churches, or even church splits. Do we really need more worship wars? Do we really need more fights in our churches? What was this guy talking about?!
As I kept reading, I realized what the author of the blog entry meant was this: "fighting" over worship isn't bad, as long as we're fighting for each other and not with each other. What does that mean? Well, he gave a few examples. What if younger people fought for the drums to be a little softer because they noticed it was hurting the ears of elderly members? (It may interest you to know that we made just such a decision about the drums and bass for a while at Highland because one of our then-regular attenders had similar issues.) What if elderly members fought for the inclusion of contemporary songs in the church because they knew such songs ministered to younger generations? What the author was describing then was a selfless -- instead of a selfish -- worship war.
I'm still not really comfortable with re-appropriating the terms "fighting" and "worship war" like this, but I heartily agree with the author's main point. Christian love and unity mean being advocates for one another, especially in something like worship, which has the potential to be the strongest unifier or the strongest divider a church has.
Truth be told, if Highland's worship services looked exactly like I would most want to worship, things would look different. I don't mean that I feel we are doing anything unbiblical in our worship. I mean that, like you, I have certain style preferences that I choose not to pursue in order for our church family to worship together more easily. Quite frankly, planning a blended service every week is hard! There are a ton of questions about familiarity of certain songs, the content of certain songs, and especially questions of musical dynamics that I have to think through every week in order for us to have a unified time of worship moving from hymn to chorus to some of the newest praise songs seamlessly. One of the reasons I love our blended service, though, is that it gives all of us a chance to grow in Christian love, grace, and maturity by learning to worship with others.
It is such a truly worshipful experience every week to look out and see our congregation worshiping together. What a joy to watch older members of the congregation trying to learn new songs and styles -- something that is not easy to do! What a joy to watch younger members -- not all of whom grew up in church or in churches that used hymns -- trying to learn new songs and styles, too. In short, what a joy to see several generations of Christians fighting hard to learn how to love and serve one another in the act of worship so that our worship becomes not just an experience meant to satisfy the tastes of individuals, but truly an expression of our corporate oneness before the God who gave His life to make us one. What joy to serve in a church where so many are able to look beyond preferences to see our times of worship as opportunities to prove we mean what we say when we claim to be one body in God through His Spirit.
Now that is the sort of "fighting" any church would want! To come before God grumbling, divided, and self-focused makes a mockery of worship. But to come before God loving one another, serving one another, and trying to be advocates for our fellow believers -- now that's a great start to true worship!