You Say You Want A Revolution: Blowing Up Worship




“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know, we all want to change the world
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out.”
                                     Revolution, Lennon-McCartney


Change is often necessary as a congregation considers meaningful worship in response to shifts in cultures and contexts. In the rush to do something fresh, leaders often plunge into the stream of radical worship change without reflecting on the past and present circumstances that framed existing structures and practices. And since most guys like to blow stuff up, the initial reaction when things don’t seem to be working is to completely destroy those existing practices for the prospect of future aspirations.

A 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 that it still holds value for some. 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.

In an effort to initiate worship change, well-intentioned leaders often push to do something…anything different than what they perceive as not working now. This absence of wisdom and leadership acumen often causes unnecessary transitional pain and relational conflict. The automatic assumption is that worship change always requires incorporating something new. But maybe the adjustment most congregations actually need is not a revolution but instead a reevaluation of present structures and practices and the realization that the only new necessary is to do what they are already doing…better.

A reevaluation is the consideration or examination of something again in order to make adjustments or form new opinions about it. It is to determine and assess significance, worth, and value with renewed resolve and vision. This reexamination allows a congregation to consider change through a unified process of rethinking, revisiting, and reinvestigating. And in reevaluation…all sides are considered.

Reevaluation may also help a congregation realize that the only new really essential to worship health may reside in the revitalization of the attitude and resolve of the leader…which wouldn’t require blowing up the existing structure or practices of the congregation. Assisting a congregation through worship transition with minimal pain is accomplished by continuing to accent what a congregation does best and by reclaiming lost worship focus with a deeper congregational involvement.

Reevaluating worship offers a congregation the opportunity to consider again how they can add to rather than take away from where they have been, ultimately impacting what they hope to be.


4 Responses to “You Say You Want A Revolution: Blowing Up Worship”

  • Dennis Allen Says:

    Once again, David, your post is on target. Revolution usually implies war…thus, the worship wars we have experienced. Reevaluation would seem to imply cooperation, a willingness to take a hard look with the goal of improvement. If we had chosen this path, perhaps less blood would have been shed, and more victories for the Kingdom could had been won. Rather than drawing a line in the sand, we should reach across the line to hold hands.

  • Bill Cleveland Says:

    Bill/Paula Cleveland • We have experienced consistent growth for 20 years in our fellowship with a blend of contemporary and traditional music, worship through tithes and offerings and expository preaching and teaching of the Word of God and people, young and old, are continuing to respond to the gospel message. God’s Word is as relevant today as it was on the day it was inspired and it is a living Word. Christocentric worship based on biblical truth and dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit will always be effective. We often are far too concerned about format while ignoring scriptural content.

  • Denah Moon Says:

    You are so correct about reevaluation instead of revolution! I was raised old-school pentecostal, yet over the years, I was exposed to many different denominations and many different styles of worship because of my travels as an evangelist. When God called me into worship leading, I had the traditional background to pull from as well as the newer and varied styles of worship to guide me. There is no reason to throw out the old for the new. There is a way to integrate different styles into the worship set that will appeal to all age groups. I call that a “multi-cultural” worship style. It requires the worship leader to spend time listening to a lot of music and allowing the Spirit to guide him/her to the songs that will best fit the congregation they are leading. I have planted 5 churches with this method and it has worked well to draw a mixed congregation. When I say mixed, I mean not only race, but age as well.

    The day of throwing a worship set together just because the music sounds good is over. Worship pastors and worship leaders that want to be effective must learn to tune into the Spirit and what He wants to do.

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