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September 22, 2009


Brett Banks

Hey Troy, I'm sure a few of our church folks out there are somewhat dismayed by the use of a "secular" song in our church. But it would seem to me that any song written by a Christian artist or a non christian artist can be used for the work of God in our lives. When the words of any music move our hearts closer to the Father....that is the whole purpose of anytype of music in the church setting. Its unfortunate that people get "hung up" on issues like this. Keep doing what your doing! It's about being relevent in today's world. If our church is really for the "unchurched or those far from God", we reach them by any means that we have. Keep your head up!!


Just a thought: what if a non-believer (not Christian) used a worship song or hymn at some event. Would that make the song no longer a worship song? Or would that make the non-believer a believer? Things that make you go, "Hmmmmmmmm."


Saw your post on Facebook and the link to the blog. I know all leaders get their share of criticism. I always ask myself if there is any truth to any of it...usually there is some...not always a lot, but some. I didn't have a problem with the song as I saw it as an intro to the series. I assume that was the purpose? One thing that concerned me was the reaction that I saw at one or two services. I saw some folks standing and cheering, but it didn't feel to me that they were cheering God or even the gifts that He has given our worship team. It just seemed "out of place." It seemed like they were applauding man. I think that is where we need to be aware of the audience and their reaction and help point them to the best place for them to place their adoration...at the feet of Jesus. Last thought...Romans 12 and Ephesians 4 have a lot to say about our role in keeping unity within the body. If we know something is apt to stir up controversy as you indicated "these things often do," then we need to make sure it is totally of God's clear direction and not for any other purpose. If not, I tend to think we should avoid controversy within the body. If it is God's clear direction to do something controversial then we should plow ahead and trust Him to help us deal with the outcome.

Brett Banks

Interesting comments regarding the "reaction" to the music. Music always "moves" us in someway. It does not have to be a negative impact if people stood and cheered the music...the music was simply enjoyable and fun! Church should be fun!!! 15 minutes later those same people may have had their hands lifted up in a sacrifice of praise!! Music bypasses the head and moves the heart and soul...that's why it solicits such emotion and reaction in us. As Christians we must be careful not to become too critical lest we become detrimental to the work of God in the lives of people on a journey to find and know God. The church for centuries has struggled with this issue of music in the chuch. Too often, our worries or arguments are based on our own prefrences and music backgrounds. Some of the traditional and revered hymns of the church were tunes and songs that were sung in taverns, and then a Christian music writer took the music and put Christian lyrics to it....Christians today would never "question" the sanctity of the hymns...yet in the time of history they were written....they were controversial....Christians said it was like bringing the devils music in the sanctuary of God. Now in retrospect we see how the argument and thinking of Christins years ago was narrow and wrong. The fact seems to be..God can use any tune...any style of music....any theme in a song to touch and change lives. When the "church" worries so much about this....we're just losing sight of the big picture. People will always critisize, but the message still goes on!! Keep it up Troy...the church is the hope of the world...but we must be relevent for them to even give us their ear!! Bring it on!!

J. O.

Is having fun sinful? When King David rocked the crowd with his Dance Groove for God, did he get a clear leading from the Holy Spirit? Did Jesus, say God created the sabbath for people, not people for the sabbath? Jesus made the Bible easy to understand...Love God & Love people...Anything about that song or service violate those commands? I don't see it. It's easy...far to easy to be like a pharisee. 1 Corinthians 9:22. What if it said,'To the fun-loving I became fun-loving, to win the fun-loving?'I don't know, but the very next line in scripture states that Paul was willing to go as far as he had to go to save some (short of sinning). I'm sorry, but I think God is looking for lost people and He'll use rock'in secular songs or whatever means He has to show them that His love and grace and mercy and truth are real and available to all! Go God!!

Troy Kennedy

Awesome feedback Larry. I really appreciate your thinking here. I think there are two thoughts I want to respond to.

Regarding the applause and the element. I think it's important not to evaluate a service element purely on it's own. It is designed to be part of something bigger that is being communicated. 3 1/2 minutes out of a 60 minute service needs to be thought of in the context of the whole. What was the net take away for people? If a pastor tell a a joke or a story, a video clip and people laugh we think nothing of it. If people applaud simply because they like a song, regardless of it's spiritual content, I don't have a problem with that. The important thing is what they walked away with at the end of the day and was the entire service effective.

This is what Dan Southerland said about the use of elements like this:
"The goal is not "to impress them with our coolness." The goal is to present the message in a relevant manner. The point of the teaching yesterday was that Jesus wants to connect with us through prayer. For thirty minutes of teaching, I talked about that truth. Introducing that teaching with the idea that we need to be "living on a prayer" was perfectly aligned with the passage that we taught. That is why we used it.

Paul quoted the pagan philosophers of his day when presenting Christ to seekers in Corinth. The pagan philosophers of today are musicians. Using one of their tunes to make a connection to the people we are trying to reach is well within Biblical standards in my estimation."

I also believe we need to maintain unity within the body. But, more importantly we need to be careful of what unites us. It is easy to unite people. You tell them what they want to hear. Church is no different. I think when Paul was talking about unity in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4 it was clear what they were to be united under. When Jesus calls for the unity of believers in John 17 it is very clear what they are to be united by. We are to be united by Jesus and Jesus alone. To share His heart and passion for the world. His brokenness for the outsider.

It would be easy to unite religious people by never asking them to sacrifice. Never asking them to make room for the outsider. Churches have been doing that for millennia. But to be united by the heart of Jesus means being broken for the outsider, the one sheep, one coin, one lost son. To make sure in all of our good intentions we don't lose our passion for a dying and broken world. And a willingness to do whatever it takes to introduce them to the only one in the universe who can save them.

"What" we are united by is so much more important than being "united."

Thanks for your thoughts Larry. I appreciate you challenging my thinking in this.


So then my question would be just that. Are we united in the pursuit to make sure all things are pointing the lost to Jesus, and only Jesus? I don't know that the controversy I'm hearing or seeing has much at all to do with "to or not to do Bon Jovi". While I am not naive enough to believe that people aren't going to get hung up on the use of secular songs...I'm very aware that there is some division concerning this issue in churches all over and probably always will be. WFC, does a great job trying to stay current and relevant. Again...not the issue for me. My hope is that when a lost person walks out of our church (and every church) that they wouldn't so much remember people or performances but that they would just walk out of there knowing they met their savior and they will never be the same again. As long as everything points to Christ I'm not concerned if it's secular or not. We can become the focus when singing a song that was written with the intention of worshiping the Lord. It's us. Are we invisible enough that people (the lost in particular) can see Jesus? I think it's a question that we all need to ask ourselves...and a question that should drive every ministry of the church.

Troy Kennedy

Excellent response Tina. I agree 100%. And any element of the service must be evaluated in the framework of the entire experience. What is the net takeaway for the attender? I pray that it is clear we are about our Savior above all things.


Agreed....let's be about the business of the Savior. Praying for you, your team, and those of us that are in 'the audience'...may we be unified as we pursue the lost and introduce them to Jesus through worship or anything else. (and most importantly that Christ be glorified) Thanks for opening up the lines of communication, Troy.


Wow...a reference to a Pharisee and an insenuation that people that question a particular method may not have a heart for outsiders! Which, by the way, is one of the reasons I left my previous church to come to Westside.

Troy..In the interest of promoting the very unity I spoke of in my original post I think I'll chat with you offline. Based on some of the responses to my comment, I don't think what I was trying to say came across the way it was intended. If I keep posting, I may need a HUGE shovel to get out of the hole! :) I do want to get some insight from you on this subject as I am trying to give some good advice to some families struggling with these types of issues. I want to be as supportive as you as our Worship Pastor as I possibly can be! We are all on the same team! Maybe we can connect in the office tomorrow or early next week.

Troy Kennedy

Sorry Larry, Not my intention at all. Just trying to explain the reasoning and passion behind the methods. I'd love to chat offline about this.


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