encouraging a unified worship experience

Politics and Worship

AP/Eric Schultz

AP Photo/Eric Schultz

As we are just a few days removed from a vital election, the commentary both verbal and print, has been interesting. These posts range from anger to elation and all points in between. Interestingly, all of the commentaries I am referring to come from professing Christians! Now, I am not going to get into the debate of whether Jesus would be a Republican or a Democrat, nor am I going to challenge the sincerity of someones Christianity because they did not vote for my particular candidate. What I will discuss is the change that America is undergoing and how we as the church should react to this change.

Each week in America, local assemblies meet for worship. In these assemblies there are people from varied political backgrounds. Even in evangelical churches (which I am a part of), we are seeing much political diversity. In decades past, the typical evangelical was a "right wing voting, gun toting, red blooded American." Today that is not necessarily the case. While 57% of protestant pastors said they would support Romney, the weekly attendance shows, even politically, we have blended congregations in our worship services.

How does this blend affect how we "do" church in America? How should the church respond in light of the recent election? First we must not give up our values in light of the recent change in our country's politics. We have biblical mandates (not political) to help the poor, to evangelize the lost, to support the unborn, to worship together, to pray for our leaders and to uphold biblical moral standards. Do these mandates typically align with a particular political party? Yes. Does that mean everyone from that party champions these mandates? No. Does that mean that all people from other political affiliations are against these mandates? No. Regardless of political affiliation, should we as Christians uphold these mandates? Emphatically YES!

Second, we must realize that we may have lost the culture war, whether temporarily or permanently. In the past we have carried our message through political means. We have fought this war with headstrong personalities and political fervor. It is even more obvious now that our culture rejects this type of rhetoric. In order to continue being effective, we must begin carrying our message through love and sincerity (which we should have been doing all along). Yelling, screaming and name calling do not bring people into the Kingdom, it exiles them. We have the best message ever, with or without political backing! We also must be careful whom we let speak for us. The culture tends to be cynical towards the church and anything said publicly (whether a true representation or not) will be throughly scrutinized. Ed Stetzer wrote a great post-election article in which he states, "While this certainly does not mean we should stop legal or political efforts completely, it does mean that we should begin thinking about what it looks like to be the church in a "post-culture war" era. We need to be prepared to defend the protection of religious liberty as we move into the future" (click here to read complete article). Ed is 100% correct in his assessment. We are moving towards (and may already be in) a "post-culture war" era. What does the church look like in a "post-culture war"era? What methods will have to change for us to get our message across? These are questions that we as the church (especially the evangelical church) must answer going forward.

Third, we must love and be willing to worship with those who do not subscribe to our political beliefs. As I wrote earlier, each week we have all political affiliations in our churches who profess the name of Christ. God has placed us together to change the world for His sake. We must come together as His people and proclaim boldly the Gospel. If you profess Christ as savior, we stand together regardless of our politics. Again, this does not mean we compromise on biblical theology, but in today's culture we certainly cannot allow politics to separate the church.

As we gather to worship this Sunday, let us remember that ConvergingWorship is not just about musical styles. ConvergingWorship is multiple generations, musical styles, ethnic backgrounds, and even political affiliations coming together under the banner of Christ to fulfill His mission.

These are my thoughts, what are yours?