I read this article about a ‘Hip-Hop’ church in Moreno Valley, California. At first I thought: “There is no way that this can be ‘real’ worship. After all, how can the Spirit show up and minister in the midst of that kind of noise.” Then I was quickly reminded of a time in 1970 when I was a youth minister and the Pastor let our high school youth group do the Sunday morning service.
Folk music was popular at the time so we slightly changed the words of one Dillon song and two of Simon and Garfunkel’s and had the congregation sing with our guitars instead of the regular hymns. This was way radical at the time, there was no such thing as ‘contemporary’ worship music.
The Jesus people, Calvary Chapel, and Chuck Smith were just getting started 20 miles down the freeway. It was a great experience for the kids. However, the Pastor received all sorts of complaints from some of the elders in the congregation. Many of the comments seem rather funny now.
I read the scripture and preached out of one of the new versions of the Bible (don’t remember which). There were more than a few comments about that choice. Then the guitars were referenced as “tools of the devil”. The Pastor never did tell me what they really said about the music, but it wasn’t good. LOL.
This was a church that sang 3 or 4 good ol’ hymns all written in the good ol’ days of 1700-1900, and accompanied by God’s own instrument, the organ. I was also the regular church organist at the time, but that day I was guilty of leading the congregation with a guitar.
But you know what, the Holy Spirit did show up and some people also told the Pastor that they were blessed. We ended up doing several more services that year and it really did bless the kids that were involved and made them feel like they were really part of the church.
Now back to ‘Hip-Hop’. I can’t imagine how that kind of music can be redeemed. Only God can redeem something like that noise along with all the severe words that seem to attend it. Now I am one of those old fogeys who can’t conceive that anyone could be blessed listening to that kind of ‘worship music’, and the Holy Spirit just reminded me of the time when things were a whole lot different.
If people come to Jesus and can worship with that noise, then may God richly bless them. What do you think? I am especially interested in hearing from some of you younger folk out there, and from some who worship in ethnic or black churches.