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Worship WARS: The Problems and How to Fix Them

2. You define ‘contemporary’ relative to how you used to worship.

Let me name the elephant in the room. Most of what passes for ‘contemporary’ worship isn’t that contemporary at all.

Sure, the church has changed. And there may have been some battles over the change.

But walk into many self-described ‘contemporary’ churches and it feels like 2004, or 1994, or even 1984. The church isn’t actually ‘contemporary’ (contemporary means ‘occurring in the present’).

Tony Morgan makes a great point in The New Traditional Church

: If most churches truly wanted to be contemporary, Sunday would have a lot more hip-hop and R&B (have you listened to the Top 40 lately?). But most church leaders don’t like that style of music or are afraid their church wouldn’t.

How do you address this? 

Be honest. Don’t call yourself contemporary if you’re some paler version of it.

Self-deception runs rampant in leadership. Be truthful about what you’re doing. If you are, it might just drive enough discontent to make you change again.

In the meantime, realize that despite all the change, you might still be miles away from being relevant to the people living around you.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.