Please Stop with the Worship Revolutions!



In the rush to do something new and fresh or in an attempt to imitate another congregation, worship planners and leaders sometimes radically change the worship practices of their church. With total disregard for the foundations that framed their existing practices they arbitrarily blow up their worship without considering where the pieces might land.

Worship change by revolution always causes unnecessary pain and relational conflict. So maybe if adjustments are indeed necessary, what most of those congregations actually need is not a revolution but instead a reevaluation.

Revolution is the forcible overthrow or renunciation of an existing system or structure in order to substitute another. It is the repudiation and thorough replacement of what presently exists without considering what still holds value. This radical and pervasive change most often occurs suddenly without giving consideration to the potential fall-out. And in a revolution…one side always loses.

Reevaluation is the contemplation or examination of something again in order to make adjustments or form new opinions about it. It offers a congregation an opportunity to consider how they can prayerfully add to rather than randomly take away. Reevaluation gives them time to change or get better at what they are presently doing through a unified process of rethinking, revisiting and reinvestigating. And in a reevaluation…all sides are considered.


2 Responses to “Please Stop with the Worship Revolutions!”

  • David Manner Says:

    Great commentary as always, Phil. I think the key as you mentioned is to consider your present and surrounding culture before making a change. And that could help determine how or if it is necessary.

  • Phil Smart Says:

    I visit a different church around the country almost every other week. My experience is that most larger churches in the cities have generally changed to a more progressive Worship style through either revolution or reevaluation – but in spite of how they got there, are doing OK and their churches seem to be prospering or stable.

    Smaller churches and rural churches are a different story. Almost all I’ve encountered have tried to change – usually through revolution when asked. The result; the “old-timers” aren’t happy of course because of the changes but surprisingly, the younger group (if there is any) usually aren’t happy either because it’s many times done so poorly and with limited talent (IE – organ playing choruses, singers that can’t sing in syncopation etc.).

    But this past month I visited a rural church of about 120. They had “reevaluated” their worship and decided that since they were in a rural area with a primarily older congregation and realized that in spite of whatever was done, they probably wouldn’t attract a large group of younger people, decided to stick with hymns and old choruses, with simple accompaniment and a choir. This church is very healthy, even growing (with older people) and relatively happy with their worship and it appeared very joyous!

Leave a Reply