Tullian Tchividjian, Senior Pastor of well-known Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, gave reasoning on his blog behind the bold move toward unifying the worship at their church. Coral Ridge will not be having services of different styles of music/liturgy/worship. They will all be the same. I applaud this effort wholeheartedly. I think his reasons are sound and Gospel-driven. They are a challenge to churches like mine that continue with services characterized by two different worship styles. I can’t imagine that the worship of eternity will be marked by services of different styles…that’s unrealized eschatology.
Unified worship is a step toward Gospel-centered maturity, and perhaps Coral Ridge is ready and ripe for this. I, for one, know that at the point when my church added a “contemporary” service (relatively late in the early 2000s), the thought of uniform, unified, “blended” worship would have driven a knife into the heart of our community. The only way to move forward without totally killing the church was to do what we did. The question still remains: Should we have done it?
Here’s a case of a stark difference between doing what is ideal (which Tullian argued well for) and doing what is wise. Perhaps, for Coral Ridge, the former and the latter had arrived at a point of convergence. For Cherry Creek in Denver, choosing the ideal would have been very unwise, as it would have been our demise.
I know that Coral Ridge went through a lot of wrestling to come to this conclusion. However, as persuasively as Tullian argues, I still think there’s room for differing approaches. One can be Gospel-centered and Gospel-driven with the split-service approach. Perhaps, though, the stakes are higher, and a church needs to work a bit more intentionally to remain unified. I attempt to argue along these lines in my essay, “Two Services: Why?”
If I’m honest, though, our split-service model is a burr under my saddle that has never quite stopped itching. Bravo, Coral Ridge. May God grant you success in your new step of faith.