Cross Cultural Worship

By EXW Staff
June 24, 2024

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Back to the basics by J.P. Marr

Have you ever asked yourself the question, "What does worship sound like
in other parts of the world?" We often tend to think that all worship
sounds relatively the same. In the English speaking world it generally
does: however, worship has a different sound in places where the
American culture has not penetrated or where people have just recently
heard the gospel. They have never heard of hymns, and praise songs are
just as strange and unfamiliar. You won't hear discussions that favor
contemporary or conservative music styles. Instead there is a raw focus
on the Creator God, the One who has redeemed them. There are many
interruptions and distractions from babies crying to animals that run
around, but there still remains one focus: the true and living God.

Reflecting on this has brought me to this conclusion. It is not about
how good the worship teams sounds, or even how well the organist has
played the offertory, although they have their place. What really
matters is this: what do we focus on as we worship? I have asked myself
these questions lately, as a worship leader have I allowed things to get
in the way of true adoration of God? As a worshiper does it have to be
designed just right for me to "feel" like worshiping? Am I influenced
by how others worship around me?

As Matt Redman the song writer so aptly penned

When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come, Longing
just to bring something that's of worth, that will bless your heart

I'll bring You more than a song, For a song in itself, Is not what you
have required, You search much deeper within, Through the way things
appear, You're looking into my heart

C 1997 Kingsway's Thank you Music (Admin by Integrity Music, Inc.)

I have learned many things just from the cross cultural model that I
have seen. It has led me to wonder if God would be just as pleased with
pure and simple. May we certainly consider what it is that God desires
in our worship as we seek to honor Him.

J.P. and his wife Sue along with their children are in full time
ministry with New Tribes Mission. J.P. is the Director of Worship &
Church Relations for New Tribes Bible Institute. N.T.B.I is a ministry
of New Tribes Mission, a foreign mission agency that is a leader in
tribal church planting among indigenous people groups around the world.

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