Are you an American Idol Fan?
I told myself: “Peter, you are not gonna watch that this year.” And of course, for some reason, I got sucked in again. Last year, the worship pastor of one of my mentor pastors got into the finals (remember Chris Sligh). So, of course, I had to vote. After all, I felt like he was family. Again, this year, another one of my pastor friends’ worship leaders made it into the finals… Can you guess who? No. Not Danny Gokey. It’s Chris Allen from Arkansas.
Do you guys remember when Pastor Rick Bezet preached here? (we’ve added almost 1500 members since then; so, I don’t suppose that 90% of you would.) But, anyway, that’s one of his guys! Come ON!!!!!!!! I LOVE it when Christians get a platform into secular realms! On a similar note, I knew that Lifehouse, the Fray, and Mat Kearney were Christians, but I recently found out that the members of One Republic were Christians too! (So, now I love them even more!).
But seriously, do you want to know why Christians are suddenly having a huge impact on secular audiences? It’s because 40 years ago, churches began embracing contemporary worship on Sunday mornings. I.e., we created an incubation chamber for Christian artists. And finally, we are reaping the benefits. The same is gonna happen for Christian film-makers if churches continue integrating film more into their Sunday morning worship experiences.
I know that change comes slowly in most Christian churches. Most progressive trends in churches are written off as being “compromised” or “worldly.” In fact, every time the church has introduced a new instrument or technology into the church, there’s been a movement to squelch it under the guise of “eliminating worldliness;” but, I have a different spin on worship formats. I believe that it’s not so much the “form” of worship which glorifies God. It’s the heart of the worshipper. Just because YOU are not accustomed to worshipping to hip-hop doesn’t mean that that music style is intrinsically “pagan.”
In fact, a similar worship debate was going on during the time of Christ. Once, when a woman started this “worship-form debate” with Christ, Jesus basically responded: “A time is coming when neither of these formats will matter. Then he said the famous line: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and in truth. For they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks” Jn. 4:23-24.
So, as we all grow older, let’s keep in mind: Worship forms are always changing. Just because it’s strange to us doesn’t mean it’s not worshipful. Secondly, almost every worship form in church history has been nothing more than a “sanctified version” of a secular worship form. Even organs were considered a completely pagan instrument at one time! (Heck: Easter is the name of the pagan godess of fertility; yet, it’s become one of the largest symbols of Christ’s resurrection!!) You see: God can sanctify any instrument or holiday. So, let’s get beyond the silliness of thinking God is so petty as to prefer a “six stringed lyre” over an electric guitar. And lastly, if the church doesn’t embrace new worship forms, we’ll never reclaim the secular art scene for Christ. After every worship revival in the church, there has followed a “Christian Art Renaissance”. So, let’s keep in mind: As we embrace new forms of worship, we’re not only blessing our kids, but we’re starting new vehicles of evangelism.
So, Chris Allen: Go for it this next week on American Idol. The body of Christ is proud to have sons and daughters like you!