One of the tensions faced by young and older members in the same worship service together is that of the introduction of new songs. Young people are quick with picking up new tunes. They are passionate with singing songs that resonate with their heart. They keep tabs with the latest in Hillsong and Bethel worship. The worship team knows this and gives to them what they want. So they introduce new songs after new songs. A few may get sung again and again, and become part of the church’s repertoire and worship memory. Many fall by the wayside and are forgotten.
To resolve the tension, we need to take heed to wise heads like C.S. Lewis. He mentioned that like dancing, worship works best when you do not have to think about it.
“As long as you notice and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing, but only learning to dance.”(C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm)
Thus the more familiar you are with a worship song or hymn the more likely you will be able to focus on God’s presence, instead of trying so hard to follow the tune, and catch up with the lyrics. Thus in worship, familiarity enhances, enriches, empowers the God encounter.
Does it mean then that we do not learn new songs? New songs are important as they express our adoration and need in ways that the children of each generation can relate to and identify with as their voice. This is a powerful way by which God’s presence nourish young people’s minds and moves upon their hearts.
The best way then is for us to introduce new songs intentionally and systematically. This means order and discipline is needed. Sing it over several Sundays till familiarity breeds worship, not contempt. Worship then becomes “like dancing”.