Contemporary = Relaxed and Casual

I have gotten to the point where I don’t believe people when they tell me that they like contemporary church services because of the more upbeat music. I am convinced that the attraction is more along the lines of the more relaxed and casual atmosphere of a contemporary service. I have seen churches that have both a “traditional” service and a “contemporary” service and you know what happens? The Pastor acts completely different in one than he does in the other. In the traditional service (meaning, the service where they sing hymns out of the hymnal and stick to the structure and wording of the liturgy), he is more reserved, more reverent in fact. In the Contemporary service, it’s like he changes personalities. Suddenly the reverence is gone, replaced by a casual sort of attitude that fits the character of the service better.

So the question is not, what kind of music or musical instruments are appropriate in worship. The question is, what should the character of worship be? I have yet to see a blended or contemporary service that was conducted with the same reverence and formality that characterizes most “traditional” services (though these can be conducted quite irreverently as well). Reverence and formality are non-negotiables in my opinion. God is not informal. His very presence demands reverence and holy fear. Do your services convey this about God?


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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2 Responses to Contemporary = Relaxed and Casual

  1. Daniel Skillman says:

    I think that you’re right on. Contemporary does seem to be about being relaxed and casual. What does this say doctrinally?
    In Christ,

  2. Cecil The Sea Sick Serpent says:

    Here is another one:

    We have a landlubber ELCA congregation that has:

    Saturday 5:30 p.m. Informal Worship
    Sunday 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship
    Sunday 10:00 a.m. Contemporary

    I am not about to find out what the Informal Worship is so you are on your own to determine what it might be.

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