Celebrate Diversity in Worship

by | Jan 31, 2000 | Woman

Because of the music ministry with which God has blessed me, I have had the privilege of worshiping in countless churches. I have praised the Lord with people of numerous races and denominations. As a result of my experiences, I have come to the conclusion that, regardless of doctrinal differences, racial preferences and varying worship styles, the body of Christ has more in common than it has differences.

Time and time again, I have seen the love of Christ as it has been demonstrated to the lost and hurting. I have seen the church in action as its members became agents of healing and wholeness.

But I have also seen the church take its eyes off those things that bring us together and begin to concentrate on the things that divide and separate us. I imagine that is how different denominations got started.

I have nothing against denominations. But I believe that many times the sign on the church door tends to keep people out rather than invite them in.

Let’s imagine that the leper who was cleansed and healed when Jesus stretched forth His hand (see Luke 5:12-13) went out and started a church after his miraculous healing. Suppose he called the church The First Church of the Stretched-Out Hand. His congregants believed that the only way a person could be healed was for Jesus to stretch out His hand toward them.

Assume that the centurion in Capernaum, whose servant Jesus healed by merely sending the word (see Luke 7:1-10), also started a church–this one called The First Church of the Sent Word. His congregants believed that the only way a person could be healed was for Jesus to send His word.

These two churches were in neighboring cities and could have enjoyed wonderful times of fellowship together. They could have celebrated the fact that there were people in both churches who had personally encountered Jesus Christ–and that because of those encounters, many others had come to a saving knowledge of Christ. But instead they chose to build up denominational walls and become divided over the issue of healing.

This imaginary scenario may be an exaggeration of the way things truly are, but the point is that the church must not allow prejudice and preference to create division. We must learn to celebrate diversity, especially in worship.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY I have learned that much of our worship experience is cultural. And I have never seen culture more clearly defined than in the church.

Take my father’s church. In this black Baptist church, the singing was loud. The preaching was loud. The hand clapping and foot stomping were loud. People said, “If it’s not loud, it’s not church.”

My father was the finest preacher and Bible teacher I have ever heard. He believed every word of the Bible and communicated each of his points with power and conviction. But often during the sermon, the congregation would begin to shout in agreement, and the organist and the drummer would echo back in a rhythmic pulse. The worship service would grow louder and louder–so loud, in fact, that I could hardly hear a word my father said.

On the other hand, I’ve been in countless conservative white churches where no one said amen, no one clapped his hands, and the organist never played anything that wasn’t written in the hymnal. Every part of the worship service was calculated, with no room for spontaneity.

Often, the sermons delivered by the white preachers in these conservative white churches were powerful and deserved plenty of amens. Still the congregation sat quietly and attentively in their pews without uttering a word.

The contrast between the two cultures is stark. But recently I have begun to see something wonderful happening as believers of different backgrounds worship together, both in church and at my concerts. Those members of the body of Christ who enjoy a free and liberated worship style are giving permission to the conservative members to enjoy themselves in the Lord. The quiet, reserved members are feeling free to respond. They clap their hands and say amen with reckless abandon.

At the same time, our quiet, reserved brothers and sisters are giving permission to the loud, liberated members of the body to sit quietly and listen. It is an awesome sight to see those who once said amen as if on cue sit in tearful reflection and ponder God’s goodness.

The key word is balance. Neither group has a monopoly on worship. There is a place for emotional display, and there is a place for the intellectual approach.

As we worship together more and more, we must begin to appreciate and even learn from what other races and cultures can bring to the worship experience. If we are serious about reconciliation, we must be willing to accept each other’s culture and worship experience as legitimate.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Do you think the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love? The truth is that God is the same throughout the entire Bible. His wrath and His love are revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. So why, then, did...

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

Your heart is the most important part of you. It’s not only a physical organ that keeps your blood pumping, but when the Bible refers to the heart, it’s talking about who you really are. Each person has an inner and an outer life. There’s the person we show to...

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

It's been a few days since the FBI raided President Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden Administration has yet to explain to the American people why they did what's never been done in American history—the government raiding the home of a former president....

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

How the Holy Spirit Can Restore Your True Sanity

Most of my life I tried to avoid one thing—being crazy or insane. When I was growing up my mother had emotional issues and saw a psychiatrist regularly. She was on medication which only seemed to make her mood swings worse. She had high highs, and low lows. When I...

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

Israel Prophecy: The Enemy is Stirring an Unimaginable Conflict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJFFqAgykmU A cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis,...

RECENT ARTICLES

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder...
Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

Kingdom Economics: Why is America Declining Spiritually So Quickly?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong July Employment Report.  Total nonfarm employment was 528K (398K previously, 250K expected).  Private nonfarm employment was 471K (404K previously, 230K expected). The headline unemployment rate dropped to...

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

Can You Discern Spiritual Wind?

The wind is a funny thing. We do not know where it comes from nor where it goes. We cannot see it, but we can see and feel its effects. Wind can be gentle and refreshing, cold or hot, strong, and dangerous, and everything in between. When the wind blows, we must...

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

Messianic Rabbi: He That Has an Eye, Let Him Hear

It is interesting that, as a Messianic rabbi the question I am asked most often by Christians is if I believe that they as Christians have to celebrate, or observe, the biblical Holy Days. They are usually asking about those days listed in Leviticus 23: Shabbat, Yom...

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

How the Holy Spirit Is Preparing America

As the crackdown against Christianity in America grows, it is a cycle believers have seen before. While no one celebrates their religious freedom coming under attack, God has used this persecution to great effect throughout history. Over the centuries, there have been...

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Dealing Effectively with the Dynamics of Change

Change can be challenging. Some people look forward to change and embrace it. Some people dread change and try to avoid it. Since change is inevitable, so here are some of the dynamics surrounding change and the specific strategies to deal with change more...

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

God’s Holy Interruption Is Coming Soon

This past weekend I preached at The Roads Church, a charismatic congregation located in the tiny town of Norris City, Illinois. Located amid cornfields, the population is only 1,325, but almost that many people visit the church on weekends. They come from all over...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]