There has been much talk in Adventism recently about unity. There have been hints that “worldly” worship music and “unbiblical worship styles” have been infiltrating our historic worship services. Should our local worship service be the same as the worship service down the street, across the country, and across the globe?
Worship leaders are charged with telling God's story in a local context. Our context is a local body of believers which may or may not include people groups vastly different from ourselves. I serve in a multi-ethnic local church context within a diverse denomination. According to a Pew Research study, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination was ranked as the most diverse religious group in the United States.1 The Florida Hospital Church (FHC) congregation is an excellent representation of our denomination in this regard as there are a host of different people groups represented every week.
Wife - Friends - Partners - Music - Ministry
My wife and I recently went to supper with some of our friends who are partners in music ministry and who are Black (from the islands). Part of our conversation steered to music in the church; they expressed thanks that we continually tried to reach out to different ethnic groups through variations in musical style while trying to be faithful to that genre and to the gospel. I learned some fascinating things about Black culture from our friends, including that those from the Caribbean Islands may have a very different perspective than those from the African-American South regarding culture and worship. These friends didn't feel a strong inclination to regularly attend an all-Black church, although they weren't opposed to visiting. Their philosophy was much more cosmopolitan regarding having different people groups worship together. We also acknowledged the importance of cultural heritage and a safe place to discuss community issues. I was reminded of how ignorant I often...
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