An Open Letter about Worship from a Baby Boomer Pastor



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another "boomer" perspective

While I haven't been a participant in the "worship wars," I have watched the music I enjoyed in my teens and twenties become mainstream in churches. I starting hearing Karen Lafferty's "Seek Ye First" and Amy Grant songs.

At the same time, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) grew to become a billion dollar segment of the global music entertainment industry, seemingly an alternative to popular secular music. As I watched the growing popularity and revenues, it was hard not to wonder whether the question asked by Larry Norman, “why should the devil have all the good music?” just translated into imitation? Apart from the lyrics, what was the difference between Petra and Foreigner? How much was entertainment, how much was worship, or was there any difference?

One memorable exception: Keith Green, at the Agape Farm in Union, Pa. for Jesus ’78 exhorting 25,000 people to kneel in the mud as an act of contrition and repentance.

When I see light shows, fog machines, and stage props in a church, I wonder, why? What is the purpose, what are the outcomes, both expected and unexpected? The best answer I’ve been able to come up with is what Jesus told us, “by their fruits you will know them.”

Mitch more than 4 years ago

Thank You

Pastor Mark, thank you for your response. I like to think about style like any preference. Can you imagine telling someone Chinese food is wrong? Well you know I like Mexican, but Chinese food is just wrong. Also I'll mention Jonathan's favorite contemporary super star, Chris Tomlin, I guess the thousand of college students that attend the Passion conferences each year missed the group text about millennials preferring traditional worship. Also, are there any traditional worship conferences where thousands of young people attend?

Jeff Harrison more than 6 years ago

Traditional Worship Conferences

Well, not thousands.. but Higher Things ( is just such a "high church" Lutheran youth Conference, as are the youth gatherings put on by the LCMS (and ELCA though contemporary worship is mixed in for the NYGs.

So, it's not really a numbers game but there are youth who would like to have traditional worship conferences that can pack for the thousands… A little bit hard when you need to have Eucharist as part of the conference, usually a staple… But still feasible.

Aaron Carlson more than 3 years ago

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