The church that I pastor has seen steady, sustained growth for the past nine years. There were 32 my first Sunday in the fall of 2004. We now average near 140. We have grown at an average rate of about 10% per year. Oh, and we use only a piano and organ as instruments while singing hymns out of a hymnbook.
I know there is a lot more to our church, and to every church, than the music. However, I dare say that most of the people who have visited our church from another area church have come because of the music.
We have specific reasons that we use the traditional music that we use. We think it provides the right foundation for the rest of the service. However – no one – and I mean no one that has ever come to our church because of the music has told me how much they appreciate our ‘stand’ or how much they admire our ‘standards’ on the music issue. Without fail they tell me that the music in their old church was just “too loud”. That’s right: TOO LOUD!
What? Is it true that the music issue to most people is not an issue of right or wrong worship styles? Is it true that while the more contemporary churches are spending a lot of money on enhanced sound systems and semi-professional bands and while traditional churches such as ourselves are preaching the importance of the ‘old fashioned way’ – that in reality most people are affected by the decibel level? The answer is a resounding – YES!
According to my personal physician, the number one reason that people are now coming into his office is migraines. We are told that the Autism birthrate in the United States right now is 1 in 88 (per the Center for Disease Control). That is ten times higher than it was a decade ago.
If our congregations are dealing with migraines and other head ache issues and if our children are dealing with the sensory issues of Autism – than why in the world are we playing our music so loud that it is negatively affecting people.
Just a thought to ALL churches, traditional or contemporary: The music is TOO LOUD! Turn it down! Technology is great – but it is hurting your congregations’ heads and ears.
Sometimes it is not a spiritual issue. It is a common sense issue.
Pastor Wes Gunther – Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Dillsburg PA
3) I must feed the Spirit. When we feed the flesh we will think and respond in the flesh. When we feed the Spirit we will respond spiritually. I feed the Spirit by reading the Word of God, by studying the Word of God, by listening to teaching and preaching on the Word of God, etc. The Bible is our spiritual food.
4) I turn to the Spirit first in time of trouble. When I am faced with a crisis how do I respond? Where do I turn for help? When I am walking in the Spirit, I rely on the Spirit when troubles mount. I pray first. Instead of throwing up my hands in despair I rely on my faith and God’s promises.
5) I am offended by worldliness. When I am walking in the Spirit, I am offended by sin. I find that I am increasingly in contrast to culture. Light and Darkness have nothing in common, therefore I should be offended by culturally acceptable positions that are opposed the Scripture.
6) I am sensitive to my sin and desire to make quick confession. When I am walking in the Spirit I am quick to make confession to my sin. I will immediately understand that my relationship with my Savior is not what it should be because of the sin in my life. I will immediately repent and confess my sin as sin unto God.
7) I am growing and not complacent. When I am walking in the Spirit I will be growing in my relationship and knowledge of Christ. When I have no desire to grow or learn I should quickly reevaluate whether or not I am walking in the Spirit.
We often teach and preach about the importance of ‘Walking in the Spirit’ but what exactly does that look like? Specifically, what should change in my life if I am walking in the Spirit? How do I do it and how do I know if I am walking in the Spirit?
1) To walk in the Spirit, we must first be aware of God’s Spirit and we must be aware that His Spirit resides in the life of the believer. That may seem elementary to some, but it is vitally important. I have known several people who felt ill but refused to go to the doctor because they did not want to know if they were sick or not. Some later found out that they had cancer. Once they were aware that they had cancer, it changed everything. They began to deal with the cancer. They began to live life with a different outlook. They began to be aware of their health, their diet, their time, etc. Now, I know cancer is a bad thing, but once a person is aware of the disease, it changes them. We have the Holy Spirit of God living within us. Unlike cancer, the Holy Spirit is a very positive thing in our life yet we often ignore the fact. We don’t act like we have God’s Spirit within us. We must spend time studying Who the Holy Spirit is, How He works in us, and How we are to respond to that. We must be aware of Him.
2) If I am walking in the Spirit I will look at things spiritually. I will take a spiritual application on a subject. My first response in any situation should be with God in mind. Problems that come my way, people that I meet, conversations that I have, blessings that I receive; all of these should be opportunities for me to grow in my relationship with my Savior.
To be continued…