Tchividjian has written a very compelling article about how he arrived at this view that having a church split into "contemporary" and "traditional" services goes against the unifying nature of the gospel. He even says ""[Contemporary and traditional service splits] may be good business but it's bad worship; it's bad church."
What do you think? Is Tchividjian right? Is it "bad church" to have both contemporary and traditional services in a church?
Just a word of personal testimony from a lay person (me) at a church that transitioned into a split worship model last year: as a family with three teenagers (14, 17 and 19), this put a tremendous strain on our family worship. Our teenagers understandably were very drawn to the contemporary service, where as we the parents not so much. The segregation Tchividjian speaks of ends up just not being between ages, but between families as they determine which service they will attend! This was a very difficult time in our family's worship experience as we were at times separated during the worship hour. Our church has since gone BACK to the blended style. I know that our pastor's motives were good and he was trying to reach more young people with the gospel in the contemporary service and I had no problem with that - but now looking back I can see he was also very wise to end the "age segregated" worship on Sunday mornings and return to a blended style.
Whether you agree with Tchividjian or not, I do recommend reading his August 27, 2010 article "This is the Way It Ought to Be" article giving a very compelling reason for going back to a "blended" style of worship. He talks about how unsegregated little children are in their school, and how sad it is that society teaches them by the time they reach high school to separate into cliques and groups.
My take on it is this: Tchividjian has not discovered anything that so many other pastors have known for years!! Look at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville - under Rodney Brooks the church did move to a more "blended" style of worship with a wider variety of music styles, and Jim Whitmire has continued this. Whitmire combines the older hymns with more modern tunes and even modern day hymns - and the church has never been "age segregated" when it comes to worship. To the credit of both Jerry Vines and Mac Brunson, they have taught this to their congregations, to be tolerant of a particular song that might not suit their fancy, and to be joyful and wait for the next one that does! They have resisted the trend to segregate by age and worship style preference on Sunday morning.
As Tchividjian says in his August 27th blog post:
"The gospel of Jesus Christ invites us to look across the aisle and say, "Though this song or style may not appeal to me, I see that God is using it to move you. I love you in Christ and I'm glad you're here."
Amen. I'm glad that Tchividjian has figured this out and made a change at his church. And welcome to the club Tchividjian; many of us Southern Baptists have known for years what you are just figuring out!