PoW: The Heart of Tradition (or the importance of being relevant)

The younger generations hear the word tradition and cringe; however, there is importance in tradition, in knowing and understanding where one comes from. The music and worship symbols of the church over the past 2000 years hold great importance for us even today, but many of them get left behind for the new and fresh. “ . . . blended worship can be a creative mix of old and new that vividly demonstrates how traditional Protestant worship can be adapted to its cultural setting . . .”[1] Blending styles is also nothing new. Every new genre of music has origins in something that came before, thus it is a blending of something new and old. In its attempts to be relevant the church has ditched the old almost completely for the new.

A wise pastor and worship leader will be mindful of where a church has come from and where it is going. The church will see its roots in the past, as part of the Church and help those that worship today relive the older songs and anthems in a new way. They will also bring out old symbols, which still hold meaning that has been lost and reveal the importance of them to today’s church. Post-modernity makes this a very viable and almost necessary part of our modern worship today. Seeing ancient symbols mixed with modern style and used in a modern context gives people something to grasp on to; it helps people to give their worship experience meaning. Post-moderns desire to be apart of something bigger. Therefore, by utilizing newer styles of worship with ancient meanings and symbols we blend the new and the old in a meaningful way.

In many cases these services tend toward being heavily multisensory. Dan Kimball’s church uses this style in their services; his Palate Team makes it all possible. However, when asked how to start such a service or gathering he always asks why someone wants too. If the reason is because everyone else is, then he believes it should not be done. “A primary motivation to start a new worship gathering is our desire to see emerging generations worshiping God. This should be our passion . . .”[2]

[1] Robb Redman, The Great Worship Awakening: Singing a New Song in the Postmodern Church (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002), 197.

[2] Dan Kimball, David Crowder and Sally Morgenthaler, Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations (El Cajon, CA.: Zondervan/Youth Specialties, 2004), 40.



2 thoughts on “PoW: The Heart of Tradition (or the importance of being relevant)

  1. Jeff B says:

    Amen amen amen.

    My previous worship director, Brian Moss, didn’t like the term “Blended Worship” though – it gives the impression of food thrown into a blender to make, well, a dinner smoothie. He preferred the term “Convergent Worship” – where styles and generations meet together as varied but complementary intact courses at the dinner table.

  2. Jeff B says:

    Oh man – just saw this tweet from painter Scott Erickson: “I’d rather my artwork be resonant than relevant.” That absolutely defines my artistic ethos.

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