Current issues facing the church:
• Contemporary vs. traditional music
• Segregating services by age
• Emerging Church
I think the issue of contemporary vs. traditional music must be one of the most divisive issues in the church. There is a desire for unity but there is also a sincere dislike for the music embraced by the 'other' generation. Can the older generation accept contemporary Christian music without fear of a secular cultural invasion. I like what Ron Hunter said in his article regarding our trend toward legalism, "The assumption was natural that one who was stricter than the founding fathers could not be less religious." Certain of the old ways we must not abandon but there is no virtue in hanging onto an old tradition that is non-essential to the doctrinal integrity of the church. Most churches go the 'blended' route but there must be a tolerance for 'other' music. We must not allow ourselves to be alienated or divided by non-essentials. The question must be: Can God be glorified by the music we play? Can people be blessed by the words we sing?
The music issue tends to segregate us by age. Generally, a church that is large enough to have two morning services observes their older people attending the early service and the younger people attending the later service or the reverse. Is it not practical to believe that the older people need to draw on the energy of youth and do the youth not need to draw on the wisdom of the elders? In an attempt to satisfy all age groups we separate them, thus, depriving each group of many benefits the other can offer.
At the front of the charge to adapt to our culture is the Emerging Church. Traditional Nazarenes are wary of Emergent types because they perceive them as corrupting the doctrine and traditional beliefs of the church. Brian McClaren has pretty much shredded the scriptural and traditional dogmas of the Nazarene Manual. The Emergent movement may be a serious threat to the orthodoxy of the church but the question they are asking seems to be the right question: How do we reach the 20 to 30 year old age group?