Recently had a conversation that might be interesting to you. We have used mainstream music for pre and post service for years. One of our church leaders recently expressed some concern as to why we would do that. This particular series was on "How to Be Rich." So, we had songs like Gwen Stefani "Rich Girl," Weezer "Beverly Hills," Jessie J "Price Tag" and played a live instrumental version of Dave Matthews "Too Much" as an opener.
Here's how the conversation went (condensed):
"How do we choose the background music played before and between services? My concern is that playing secular music detracts from a worshipful spirit. I have no problem with the beat, tempo, etc. I am concerned about some of the lyrics...."
Here is my response:
"Thanks for asking. We have been doing this for a few years now where we play mainstream music that pertains to the particular series. SInce this was a series on "How to Be Rich" it was easy to find a ton of music that speaks to the value culture gives to prosperity/wealth. Given the content of the service it is meant to contrast what we hear every day in media and be a cultural connect for the newcomer/unchurched person as they hear something they would easily recognize in our context. It's also somewhat fun and tongue in cheek. This is also the intention of the instrumental pieces we have been playing the last couple of weeks. Something recognizable pertaining to the topic of the series for an unchurched person.
It is a tactic I could easily argue either side of. Not sure how much it
hurts or hinders us. But hopefully it is a point of cultural connect as well
as something to help people begin to process what scripture has to say about a subject that is close and relavant to all of us every day of the week.
If anyone did have any question marks, any ambiguity would be more than cleared up upon experiencing the entire service.
We never evaluate one element of a service on it's own, outside of the
context of the entire experience. Pastors would never get to tell a joke! :)"
There was quite a bit more to it. But it was a legitimate point of conversation. One valuable outcome of these kinds of questions is it forces you to articulate your point of view. Another is not to assume everyone understands the reasons behind everything you do. Sometimes what we believe is obvious is missed by the folks in the chairs. It's good to revisit and reevalate. With healthy evaluation comes healthy growth.