Personal Preference

As much as I enjoy attending the monthly Men for Christ meetings, Monday's threw me for a bit of a loop. The food was excellent, as always; the sermon was solid; but the music . . . well, let's just say I love hymns too much to enjoy adding drums and a driving bass line to "How Great Thou Art" or singing four or five verses of "Amazing Grace" in sixty seconds even. Call me a purist (call me a Puritan), but I just don't care for such things.

There is, of course, a problem with that mindset, a problem that has plagued churches since the dawn of the first megachurch: the consumer's approach to worship. At some point, as we watched attendance drop off and grew desperate, we decided to give people whatever they asked for instead of holding to tradition and sound practices. Church services should cater exclusively to my personal preferences, says the consumer, and if it doesn't, I'll go "church shopping" until I find one that does. Never mind that I could be leaving my community or ignoring the very real presence of the Holy Spirit at the church. Worship is about Me.

Except it isn't, is it? Worship is about an Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is about praising the One who died for me, deepening our relationship, and observing all His commands. It's also about encouraging one another, building up the family of God, supporting the united body of Christ. Not one of those things demands the church to cater to my every whim, to match all of my personal preferences. But they do require us to selflessly lay aside our wants for the needs of others, to change the forms of the message without ever compromising the integrity of the gospel.

Whether it's music or something else, let it go. Allow God to do new things, to rise above your own preferences and lead others to salvation.

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