July 23, 2009

Quality Over Style?

My class this week has caused me to think a lot about different aspects of worship; everything from the types of digital projectors we use to the images in our slide shows to the type of music we use in worship. All of this has made me wonder if before the 31 flavors of worship, people value quality above variety.

I know we each have our opinions of the style of worship we appreciate most but I would venture to guess that we would settle for a different style if it is done well, especially if the style we prefer is not done with the highest quality. Would you rather attend a well done X style of service as opposed to your preferred Y style done mediocre at best?

More and more people are saying that 20's & 30's are starting to prefer more traditional styles of worship, while I won't necessarily disagree with that (though I am 30 and would prefer a well done contemporary service) I'm wondering if we are seeing this apparent trend because traditional style services are "easier" to do well. Please don't be offended by that statement, what I mean by this is simply that traditional style services are much more scripted with the use of liturgy, hymns, choirs, etc. Contemporary style services tend to be much looser and more dependent upon the musicians and worship leaders in order to execute well. Am I making any sense? Seriously, tell me.

I guess the point I'm wondering if I am getting to is that people tend to attend worship services that are done well, almost regardless of their style preference. While I prefer a contemporary style of worship, there is no question in my mind that I would attend a high quality traditional service with a dynamic speaker over a mediocre contemporary service with the same speaker. I think my desire for quality trumps my preference of style.

What do you think? Am I way off base?


Joe said...

I agree that I would prefer a high quality traditional service over a poor quality contemporary.

I wonder if the difference has anything to do with the amount of respect we have for each service. Traditional services tend to portray more of a weighty "holy" factor. If that makes any sense. It seems like more of a dishonor to God if something goes wrong or things don't flow smoothly.

A contemporary service is more go with the flow. Projectors fail, people forget to click slides, bands don't practice well enough, pastor shows us in ratty clothes or something. People just shrugg it off.

How many contemporary services are held when the band gets there an hour before the service and picks songs and rehearses (sometimes new songs) and then performs. How high is the quality going to be in that.

Now how many traditional services happen when the choir and organist show up an hour before and throw it together. Probably a lot less. They practice during the week and lots of times rehearse new songs for weeks before presenting them to the service.

I think sometimes when putting together contemporary services we forget about the reason we are doing it. We get caught up in the casual feel of the service and forget to fear, respect and honor God in the process.

Matt Lipan said...

Joe: thanks for sharing. i think you make an interesting point about the "amount of respect" people have for the two different types of worship services. like you mention, it seems like we set ourselves up for this kind of comparison because we think we don't have to prepare as much for a contemporary style service as we do for a traditional one. how unfortunate.