Recently, an article was written by Thomas Rainer here regarding a worship style that is attractive to Millennials. Just to be clear on the name “Millennials,” it is a generational term ascribed to a particular group of people born during a certain time period. Here is a list of the six living generations today:
“The Greatest Generation” – born between 1901-1924
“The Silent Generation” – born between 1925-1945
“Baby-Boomers” – born between 1946-1964
“Generation X” (or “Baby Busters”) – born between 1965-1980
“Millennials” (or “Generation Y”) – born between 1981-2000
“Generation Z” – born between 2001 and the present
In this article, Rainer describes an occasion in which he and his son were asked what kind of worship style the Millennial generation prefers. Their answer was that the style of worship was not what mattered most to Millennials, but that they were attracted to churches which exhibited three elements: 1) music that has rich content, 2) authenticity in a worship service, and 3) a quality worship service. Now admittedly, those three elements are somewhat generic, and Rainer goes on to give further explanation of what each point means.
In the course of the article, Rainer points out that Millennials “will walk away from congregations that are still fighting about style of music, hymnals or screen projections, or choirs or praise teams. Those are not essential issues to Millennials, and they don’t desire to waste their time hearing Christians fight about such matters.”
I would like to offer some points to consider in response to this article.
Again, let me reiterate the point that I also desire theologically rich hymn texts coupled with authentic and genuine worship. However, I do not desire these things in an attempt to attract Millennials, I desire those things because those sentiments are pleasing to God. God wants me to sing theological truth in praise to Him; God desires my heart to worship Him sincerely.
Let us all understand, though, that when it comes to the worship of God, what matters is not what any one particular person or generation desires. Worship has nothing to do with pleasing those who are worshipping; worship is all about pleasing God. Therefore, as Hebrews 12:28-29 teaches us, we must worship the right God (the God as described in the Bible) with a right heart (sincerely and wholeheartedly) and in a right way (indicating that there is an unacceptable way). We are created to worship God. Therefore we must be diligent to discern and practice proper worship and teach our children and every age group what proper worship is, because our God is a consuming fire, and worthy of all the praise, glory, and worship His creation properly ascribes to Him.
This essay first appeared here and is republished by permission.