Skinny Jeans or Gray Hair

Disclaimer: I have a pair of designer jeans that were given to me. My wife tells me they look good on me. Personally, they’re not that comfortable. I also have gray hair.

Youth vs. Age. Wisdom vs. Beauty. Hmmm…

For a while, it seemed to us old guys as if churches only wanted beautiful, young worship leader who could strum a guitar and had a nice voice. But today, I think that’s an over simplification.

Just as there is a stereotype for young worship leaders, there is also one for the mature worship leader. The old guys are thought to not like or want the newer music. Unfortunately, there’s probably a basis for both stereotypes. I know there sometimes is for us old guys.

Honestly, I love hymns, I love the piano. And, I love the organ. Right now my business is based around the desire to encourage hymnody and support piano worship.

But, I also love many of the new songs as well. In addition to the piano, I play keyboards, synthesizers, guitars (acoustic and electric), and bass guitar. I even have a cajon and castanets. Before I left my last full-time church, I was not only leading the music for the traditional worship service, but also playing the keyboard for the contemporary  worship service. And, I enjoyed both!

My thoughts:

Younger church musicians should know about ministry – what it means to be a pastor to your musicians and the people of your congregation. They should know church history, especially the history of church music. They should understand the differences and the values of hymns and modern worship songs in the life of God’s people. They should understand the scriptural basis of worship – true worship – and it’s “more than a song.” (Yes, I’ve heard of Matt Redman.)

Older church musicians would do well to become familiar with the newer styles and flavors of church music. No, not all of it’s great, but have you looked through some old hymnals lately – not all is great in there either. Let me repeat a sentence: we should understand the differences and the values of hymns and modern worship songs in the life of God’s people. We need to recognize that music has always been shaped by the culture. Even in seminary back in the 70’s and 80’s, Dr. T.W. Hunt talked about the cultural influence of music in missionary work. In some ways, we are doing missionary work today in our local church worship.

It’s not about having the latest greatest, and it’s not about upholding the grand tradition. As I see it, there are two things that we should concern ourselves with:

Worship God and minister to people!

If we get that right, it shouldn’t matter whether we wear skinny jeans or have gray hair – or both.


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