Worship WARS: The Problems and How to Fix Them

3. You’ve become stuck in “No Man’s Land.”

I learned about No Man’s Land in churches from James Emery White. It’s a term that describes churches that are too contemporary to please the traditionalists and too traditional to reach people who connect with a contemporary approach.

I have no desire to ignite a furious debate about ‘blended worship’ (a combination of traditional and contemporary styles). Can it work? I’m sure it can, done right.

But you don’t have to get too far into conversation with most church leaders who are in a blended format to realize that it’s not an overriding passion to reach outsiders that’s fueling the change, it’s fear that if they go too much further there will be an apocalypse.

In my view, the last 10 percent of change is the hardest. When we transitioned from traditional to blended to full-out ‘contemporary’ music a decade ago, the last 10 percent of the change was harder than the the first 90 percent. I think that’s how leaders get stuck.

Again, I’m not saying blended services are a bad thing (we’ve chosen to not embrace that strategy at Connexus for very specific reasons). I’m just saying if you end up there, make sure that’s where you want to be because you believe it’s the most effective way to accomplish your mission.

How do you address this? 

Don’t get stuck somewhere you’re not called to be.

Finish the change or make sure where you’re at is honestly the very best way to fulfill your mission.

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Carey Nieuwhof
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.