Written by & under performance.

By Eric Nanz

For many church goers the style of music that is played in worship has a major impact on why they attend the church they do. After all, singing in corporate worship is one of the most enriching parts of going to church. It feeds the soul, teaches us theology and places us in a state of mind that allows the Holy Spirit to enter in.

What has become unfortunate though, is that in regards to style of worship a lot of churches have developed an ‘either/or’ mentality. “We play traditional style music because the theology is deeper and it’s what we’ve always done” verses the “We play contemporary style music because anything old wouldn’t be relevant and the drums, lights and fog machines attract younger members”. Or perhaps churches do offer both, but they do it in separate services, segmenting their congregations.

Both styles of worship have their value and ability to be impactful though, so it’s a shame more churches don’t try to marry the two together. The few churches I’ve visited that have “blended” the two styles (in a well thought out and quality manner of course) seemed to be blessed in very unique ways. It was evident that these churches had fostered more inter-generational relationships and that each generation had been given a healthy challenge. Younger members were learning more about deep theology and traditions of the church and senior members were embracing change and experiencing worship in vibrant new ways.

It got me thinking, I bet this is what it’s going to be like in heaven…all types of people, singing all types of music, praising the God who brought them into eternal life!  My hope and prayer is that this can happen everywhere a lot sooner than when we walk through the Pearly Gates. It also brought to mind that maybe I shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to make it happen in the churches I attend. Maybe I could start a revolution right here from my own personal music studio!

Now just for a quick laugh I’ve posted a story that I recently stumbled across online:

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The farmer said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN,’ then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”

“They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The young man said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you,

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry

Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.

Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by

To the righteous, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain

There in their heads is no shadow of sense,

Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain

Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,

Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.

Then goaded by minions of darkness and night

They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,

Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn

Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry

And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn,

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”