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How does a church resolve a conflict between those who want a traditional style of music and liturgy and those who want a contemporary, modern one?

As with most conflicts in church between groups of people—as opposed to interpersonal issues involving individuals—the question of worship style is merely the surface issue. Of course, a pastor can resolve the obvious conflict by: (1) having two services, each with its distinct style of music; (2) offering a blend of songs in every service that are neither too stodgy nor too hip, creating a balance of sound recognizable by both groups; or (3) fading drums into the organ mainstream, since drums are usually the main instrument of contention.

The true issue, however, is about ministry philosophy and the purpose for a church service. It takes much longer for a pastor to resolve this conflict, but by doing so, the leader sets up an intentional future. Both groups want music they can recognize as contributing to the church's purpose. Those who see church services primarily as places of liturgical continuity and refuge for the saints prefer songs and sounds from the past; those who ...

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