I was going back through some thoughts that I had made some notes on over the past few years and I thought that a couple of them would make good topics for our blog. The first one goes right back to our discussion about what kind of music God likes and takes it a step further, considering what kind of music we should do as a church.
There is perhaps no issue more historically divisive in the church than the issue of music styles. It’s in no way a new issue and you would think that by now we would have figured it out, but alas we digress.
Anyway, I think that I’ve absolutely figured this one out.
In fact I’ll even go so far as to say that the Lord told me! My guidance on this issue came one day as I was wrestling with how to lead a church to resolve this issue and how to perhaps write a book that would assist the Body of Christ to resolve this issue on a much larger scale.
While praying for and searching the Bible for guidance the Holy Spirit led me to John 21:15-17. In this passage Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Peter quickly answers strongly in the affirmative to which Jesus tells Peter to “Feed his lambs”. Then Jesus asks Peter the question a second time and Peter answers even more strongly that he indeed loves the Lord and Jesus replies “Tend my sheep”. A third round takes place where Jesus once again asks Peter if he loves him and in understandable frustration Peter emphatically states his love for the Lord and Jesus replies “Feed my sheep”.
Did you catch it? I didn’t for years. Jesus instructs Peter to:
Feed my LAMBS
Tend my SHEEP
Feed my SHEEP
In the original Greek in these verses there are different words used for lambs and sheep. Jesus is not saying the same thing three times. He instructs Peter to feed both the lambs and the sheep.
I realize that the context of these verses has nothing to do with church music, but it does have to do with the mandate given to those who would care for the people of God. What is that mandate? Care for both the Lambs and the Sheep. I interpret that to mean the young or immature and the older or mature members of the flock.
So many ministries have determined that they will set their sights on a particular demographic to the exclusion stylistically of all the other demographics of people around them. They quote statistics about the age at which people get saved as the permission slip for this action and believe that they are cutting edge for their efforts. I have a question for those ministries. What are you going to do ten years from now when the lambs that you are winning today are the sheep of tomorrow and they, like all people, want to do the music that touched them when they were new in Christ? That style will now be ten years old, no longer cutting edge, and they will only have delayed this challenge by ten years. In the process they will have left behind a lot of good sheep in the pursuit of more lambs and will have forsaken what I believe to be one of the fundamental values of the scriptures.
That being the family nature of the Body of Christ with members on both ends of the age spectrum both benefiting from involvement in each other’s lives.
What do we therefore do? We feed all ages every time. Our teams of musicians work diligently to touch everybody every time. Is it hard? It’s very hard! But everything great always is! In the process, both ends of that age spectrum learn to love the other end of that spectrum and the Body of Christ grows strong.
Targeting a single demographic of people is easier. Personally, I’m done with easier. I’ve spent enough years doing easy things. How about you?