My wife and I went to Kansas City, MO this past week to tour Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We stayed with our cousins (Disheroons) Saturday night and then left around 7 a.m. Sunday morning for church. I started online classes through MBTS in the Fall of 2015. In the summer of 2015 Callie and I got married and within the first few months of our marriage I started searching for healthy churches in the Kansas City area. So I browsed the 9marks church search site and came across Liberty Baptist Church. Along with some other notable churches, I tucked my KC church list away in a file to open up when it came time to start looking for churches.
Callie and I arrived at Liberty Baptist Church ten minutes before the service started. For the first time in our marriage we never stepped into a church on our own. Usually we’d visit churches with family or friends. As I was driving into Kansas City traffic my heart started beating faster like when you are about to give a 30 minute speech in front of your 100+ classmates. I was nervous about worshipping with believers that I’ve never met. We turned onto Birmingham road and there set the 40 year old looking brick church. The church that house believers that one day we could call our church family.
I put the car into park, grabbed my Bible, gave a nervous smile to Callie and we began to walk up the hill to the church doors. We were welcomed by the assigned church greeters. I nervously looked every one of the greeters in the eye with a diagonal smirk. As we walked through the sanctuary doors I scanned the place like a CIA agent getting a feel of his surroundings. Callie and I took our seats in the soft connected chair pew, we took the first two seats near the aisle. Aisle seats are the best especially if you want to be the church pew gatekeeper. There was an older lady on our row who took the wall aisle seat. No one else bothered to fill up the other 9 or so seats between us and the older lady. When Callie went to the restroom the teaching pastor greeted all the faces that he may not have recognized row by row. He came to my row. I was frantic. Well for one there was a flowery notebook with a girly phone case sitting next to me. I didn’t want him to think they were mine. After the manly affirmative handshake we chatted before Callie came back. I was relieved of maintaining my man card duties. We talked briefly before we told him we were visiting from Arkansas and he directed us to another Arkansan, Lucas the drummer. We talked to Lucas until worship service started.
As the singing and praise part of the worship service started I began to realize I knew only half of the songs that were being sung. However I didn’t hesitate to continue singing because I didn’t have a good reason not to sing. What is a good reason not to lift up your voice belting doctrinal truths to the Lord who established them? Why would we neglect professing these truths together as a fellowship of believers? Because we aren’t familiar with the tune? Or the songs are not played on KLOVE therefore our tongues are unable to sing strange lyrics?
The worship pastor/elder introduced a new song which was about the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. Usually I would wait until he sang the first verse that way I could catch on to the tune, but I didn’t. The content of the song was greater than the tune that we feel like we need to follow in order to properly worship. God is not concerned if we cannot stay on beat or sing words out of order. I realized that God isn’t going to denounce my worship if I don’t know the song. My duty as a church member and a guest of a church, is to trust the worship pastor to have organized worship that is lyrically and compositionally acceptable for corporate Christian worship. Too often Christians find themselves in a ruckus if the lyrics on the screen or the beat of the song is strange or the song is out of date. In Gods kingdom, songs will be millions of years old, yet we will praise Him the way He desires. I am not against giving a modern tune to an ancient hymn. I am pro-modern worship as long as it considers the Word of God before all else as it is being composed.
What if your church stopped singing songs you knew? What if your worship pastor packed up and left. And the new guy who takes over starts to introduce songs that may be biblical in content, but may not have a catchy tune or familiar sound. Would you pack up and leave to scout out a church that plays all the greatest, latest, positive and encouraging songs? Or would you understand that theology compliments doxology. Our greatest need as the Jesus worshipper is to sing songs that use Gods Words to us that we revert back to Him in praise. May we never be stingy about the songs we sing to our Lord. Also my hope for you as a church member is that you and I would be patient with the worship pastor as he chooses songs that best leads us to exalt Christ and edify the worshipper. This Sunday trust that the worship pastor is seeking to honor God in the songs he chooses to lead the congregation because in this he does have your best interests in mind. When your church starts singing songs that don’t sound familiar. Take time to examine the lyrics, and be patient while you learn the songs. The Spirit doesn’t stop moving because the songs are unfamiliar or unpopular.