Why Worship Wars (Part 3)

Posted on August 23, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters


Thanks for hanging in there with me as we talk about worship.

If we are really honest with each other, our “preferences” are what we tend to make our “convictions” when it comes to what we believe is ACCEPTABLE worship for us and to God.

I have a dear friend in ministry who is ultra-conservative. He has had no tolerance for contemporary music in his church. The music was very conservative in his church, with a big choir and orchestra. They used tympani (drums) but not a drum set. Did I say it was VERY conservative?

One summer at America’s Keswick, we were having the teens lead worship ONE night. It was contemporary, and there were guitars and drums. Knowing his convictions, I called him to see if we should not do this during his week.

He thanked me for calling him and said he wanted us to still do the teen night. He then told me that his grandson was a worship leader for a very large teen event down south. His grandson had invited his grandparents to attend the evening session.

When they entered the large center for worship, the room was PACKED with teens. His grandson walked out on the stage to begin the worship, and he was in ratty jeans and was barefoot. This rattled Grandfather to the point that he was ready to get up and walk out. His wife touched his arm and told him to sit down and be quiet, listen and watch.

As the worship began, the music was loud. It was energetic. But my dear Pastor friend said that he was caught up in watching 2000 teens worship and praising the Lord in a way the deeply touched his heart. He shared with me that while it was not his PREFERENCE, he was so moved by the heart of worship in that arena.

I am a hymn lover. I always will be. But I also know that we need to reach the next generation and learn to accept and encourage them as they worship with their music.

This summer, we attended our daughter’s church, and our Florida kids and grands were visiting with us. The worship was contemporary, but it was powerful. There was a moment when I could not sing – not because I didn’t like the music or didn’t know the words – but the moment you stand there worshipping surrounded by your kids and grandchildren worshipping and praising the Lord. Jan and I were both moved to tears, and it was hard to sing.

So here are some things for you to ponder:

  1. Worship should always be about glorifying God. My style is not the only way to worship God. I am reading through Psalms again, and I keep reading things like: “Shout loudly; clap your hands; beat the tambourine; make a joyful noise.” But in all those verses, it says “to the Lord.” Somehow I don’t think some of the saints would enjoy worshiping the way King David and the children of Israel did.
  2. The lyrics need to be biblical and glorify God. Yes, some worship songs clearly have bad lyrics. But honestly, some of us grew up singing choruses that in their day were considered radical and didn’t necessarily have biblical content.

    Some of today’s contemporary artists are writing lyrics that are spot on biblically, and the lyrics are touching God’s heart.


  1. When we gather for corporate worship, it should be just that. It shouldn’t be the worship team worshipping and the rest of the congregation standing around as spectators. Yes, there are moments when the praise team can sing alone. But if we call it worshiping together, let’s choose singable and familiar songs to encourage participation. Too many worship leaders choose so many new songs in one service.


Guess there will be Part 4. I’d love to hear from you.

Living in light of the gospel,

Bill Welte, President/CEO
America’s Keswick


Written by Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 40+ years and has four married kids and 12 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

Think About This: “God wills to be displayed and known and loved and cherished and worshiped.” – John Piper

The Daily Bible Reading: Reflection | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another     -1 John 3:11

Want to get away & have dedicated time to read & learn God’s Word?

Consider a retreat at America’s Keswick retreat center.


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