When Worship Styles Clash

Pastors who attempt a broad range of musical tastes can find themselves in the cross hairs of some musical vigilante.
—Garth Bolinder

They were a thirty-something couple with a long history in the church. I knew them well—I thought. Imagine my surprise when, one morning after worship, they cornered me.

"That taped music has to go!" they snarled. "Whose idea was it, anyway?"

Before I could mumble a reply, they abruptly walked away.

I didn't get to tell them the music was my idea (whew!). After all, our organist was sick, our substitute possessed questionable ability, and besides, we had wanted soft preservice music to encourage contemplation. Why not play a gentle Windham Hilltype praise tape as people entered for worship? I thought it would set the mood for worship—background music is, after all, a way of life in our society. The actual worship service included only live music.

What's the big deal with taped music anyway?

As any pastor knows, musical style is perhaps the biggest force driving ...

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