Last night I went to a sewing group meeting (a member is married to a local pastor so we meet in the church basement, hence the drums in the background - and mainstream churches are wondering why they are losing congregations).
I had to click away quickly, otherwise I might be tempted to post a comment, not a good idea on a blog that is chit-chatty and would not welcome any serious thought on the subject of church attendance.
But it bothered me for quite a while. Several things bothered me. It always seems to be people who no longer attend church who feel free to utter such criticisms. Do they not realise that they are actually out of touch with what is going on inside of Christian churches?
The next thing that bothered me was the assumption that people are leaving mainstream churches and switching to smaller congregations because of the music? I know this is simply not true. Most people switch congregations because they meet someone in the new congregation and are invited to attend. Face-to-face contact is the most effective way of evangelizing.
But what this woman doesn't know, and what most people don't know, is that the migration out of mainstream denominations coincides exactly with the type of music she thought was drawing them in. It was when the Catholic Church changed from the Latin Mass to the vernacular, when rich organ music and choirs gave way to guitars, drums, and tambourines, that the numbers began to drop. But it wasn't the music that caused the migration.
So why did people begin to leave? It is the infiltration of modern culture into the Christian churches and the churches' failure to preach the Gospel that works together to cause defection. When Christians begin to behave like the role models on television and the screen (bed-hopping, drug-taking, indulging oneself with materialism) and the Church does not speak of the true reason for being on this earth, then the congregation drifts away. Precisely because what is being preached no longer is relevant to their lives. They are not being challenged by the Christian life, instead they are being told that everything is okay, God loves them all regardless of their lifestyle, I'm okay, you're okay crap rather than Jesus came as our Saviour - which means we might actually need one.
It is not a change in music or a modernisation of worship that will draw people into a church; it is hearing the Gospel preached unadulterated that will bring them in, because they have a thirst inside that needs to be met with real living waters.
If modern church music is used along with good preaching, the effect may indeed be very positive. But if music alone and trendy worship is all that a church offers, you might as well go to a bar and have a beer along with your preferred music.