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Should a Small Church Embrace a Diverse Style?

Should a Small Church Embrace a Diverse Style?

QUESTION: Diversity in Musical Style?

“Do you think it’s wise in a “small” church to have such a diversity in musical style like you do at Saddleback, or should the worship teams try to be aligned and consistent in the same style?”


You have a great question. Thank you! I think that it is wise to use music strategically to serve the purposes of the church; to use a style or styles of music that serve your particular church well.

To use an analogy from cooking: How much salt does your food need? The answer to that question has a lot to do with your personal tastes. Music is very personal. Everyone has a preference and has an idea of what “good” music sounds like.

Just because someone likes a certain style of music does not mean we should include it in the service. New music can be very helpful to a worship service in that we can use it to say the same thing in a different way that can bring added understanding to biblical truth. Notice that good speakers often use different stories, jokes and illustrations when they speak. The same is true for us as musicians. On the other hand, using too many songs can also hinder congregational singing as people are learning and not singing…not connecting with God.

One reason I wrote the Worship Answer Book is because most church’s struggle in some area of understanding worship. It is not essential that the church is cool or current musically (not to mention how very hard that would be to define). What is essential is that the church is doing what God has called it to do; Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry, Missions and Worship!

When I lead worship I always keep these things in mind:

  1. The pastor’s philosophy of ministry. How can I complement it?
  2. What songs will the congregation as a whole connect to God with?
  3. I must sincerely worship not just PRODUCE.
  4. I don’t pick songs just because I like them. I choose them because they contribute to the overall service.

At Saddleback, we have tremendous diversity, and that fits because of all the reasons above combined with our size and our church culture. In summary, I think every church should have its own style of music. Your church should be kind of a melting pot of sounds that reflect your own church’s culture. I hope these words will be helpful.

This article originally appeared here.