Our task as worship leaders really is simple. We plan God-focused worship in the heart language of our church. We grow them as disciples. Then we lead them on mission to learn the heart language of the target group to whom God sends us. With this understanding, our slavery to attractional thinking can be broken. No longer are we laboring under the mandate that we must get the world into our church to win them for Christ. We are free to connect Christians with God in a style that fits them best so that they can be sent on mission. If this means offering different worship services in different styles, then so be it. Meeting people where they are in their heart language to communicate the gospel is the essence of being missional. And if you are afraid of creating different churches within your church, remember that unity comes from a unifying mission, not simply sitting in the same room at the same hour once a week.
So, the deciding factors in providing multiple worship services in your church to meet multiple needs are:
- Spiritual Maturity: If your church’s members are spiritually mature enough to sacrifice their own heart languages for others, you can provide only one worship service. Aim the worship style at the majority, but include the wider spectrum of heart languages from time to time.
- Resources: If your church does not have the size or resources to offer more than one service, you can provide only one service and offer as many of your congregation’s heart languages as possible in that service. Constantly teach them to focus on God and call them to sacrifice for each other. But beware, you may discover why blended worship is sometimes referred to as “the equal opportunity offender.”
- Missional Intent: If your church has the resources, spiritual maturity and missional intent to offer worship in a variety of heart languages, then, by all means, do so. But don’t just guess at the heart languages of your congregation. Research and poll them to target their heart languages as closely as possible.
I certainly believe that most of our evangelical churches have the ability and resources to offer different services in different styles. But please remember the most important point in all of this. We must know that the goal of worship is to connect us with God so that we grow as disciples who make disciples. Worship can never be about us. If we discern our church’s heart language simply to meet our own needs and keep us happy, we will have missed God’s intent for us as his children.
No more forcing a worship culture on a congregation under the mistaken assumption that it will help win the world for Christ by getting people into church. No more arguing about which style is better. No more worship wars resulting from putting our preference on the throne. What a relief! Simply start where your people are and use their heart language to connect them with God, grow them as disciples, and send them out to join God’s mission. — Mark Powers