Music Style, Money, and Senior Citizens

Photo: Matthijs Rouw

I had an interesting conversation last week with someone in the community who suggested that our church should change music styles so that more older people would start attending. According to him, “people” in the community had shared that our music style and volume discourages older people from attending. His reasoning was based on the fact that we need older people because they give more money. In other words, change our style and cater to those who have money.

It’s an interesting argument, and one that I have heard before. But his reasoning was faulty. Yes, we do want to be a church that encompasses and welcomes all ages groups. ¬†But money is not the reason to be a multi-generational church. We need all age groups so that we can learn and grow from each other. Titus 2:1-8 is a good example of how old and young can learn from each other. But his reasoning was also faulty because it simply isn’t true.

Our church is an amazing group of people of all ages. We have young families and senior citizens and everything in between. Sometimes the perception is that if you have a contemporary style, then older people won’t like it. We have found the opposite. People who have grown up in church love the passion and energy of a new style, and they love seeing the younger generation hungry for God. Does it mean they have to put aside some of their personal preferences? Absolutely, but we do everything we can to make sure everyone feels welcome. They may prefer another style of music, but when they experience God moving and working, they can put their musical preference aside. The simple fact is that our church is growing and full of life, and our musical style does play a part in that.

We try to incorporate older hymns done in a new style, and we make sure to keep our volume to a reasonable level¬†, but we know that everyone won’t like the style we choose. There are many churches that offer a traditional style of music and there is plenty of room in God’s Kingdom for all of us. It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people, and I am not bothered if some people don’t like the way we do things. Because I know that as long as we continue to listen and follow God that our church will be blessed. It’s His opinion that really matters.


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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5 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    Good post, Mike. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Galen says:

    Sadly enough this gentleman seems to resemble the majority of our cultures view of "church". The secular media as well as "religious" television promotes the "show me the money" mentality of "christianity". Above all we are to be as faithful with little as we are much. Thanks to all of those who sacrifice and work diligently and faithfully to make Cornerstone what it is!

  3. Mark says:

    I visited a new church this weekend (was out of town visiting family) and they had a very unique approach to worship. I still don't know whether I liked it or not but it was obvious that the church was growing and that other churches had taken notice (my brother in law mentioned that many churches visit to model after them). This church had 4 services running at the same time. The 'LIVE' service that had contemporary current worship, the 'VIDEO CAFE' service that had more of an acoustic worship, the 'TRADITIONS' service that had traditional worship (hymns) and then the 'EDGE' service that was extremely loud and appealed to a younger crowd. The sermon was given in the LIVE service and videocast to the other services on the campus.

    The campus had a buzz to it as a lot was going on and it seemed as though there were many opportunities to find the style of worship that you liked and connect with those that also liked that style of worship. I liked that the message was the same and all 4 services received the same bulletin and that the church heavily promoted their growth groups and even had that weeks study in the bulletin. Just hard to tell from one visit if this type of split worship creates division in the church or helps make it easier for more people to come to church. I want to be careful how that comes across, because I think a lot of churches water down the Gospel to make it appealing to more people which I believe ultimately does not lead people to a true understanding of the Gospel. The message was biblically sound. Anyway the experience caused me to do a lot of thinking about the way we do church and so far I am not sure where I stand on it. On one hand it is great that this church makes worship comfortable for all, and as long as they don't try to make the message comfortable for all then maybe this is an OK way to do church. But then on the other hand these separate services definitely created a feeling of 4 different church bodies on one campus which seems to be an odd thing. Any thoughts anyone else has on this would be appreciated.

  4. Carole says:

    Yes, Mike it is an interesting argument. Your article was very timely, as I attend a church full of younger people and families, with just a tiny sprinkling of older people. I lam one of the 'older' people, who loves the wonderful mix of contemporary style of worship with the older hymns. I must confess I did drag my heels a little, especially at the noise level, but as I saw and experienced the move of God in whatever style was introduced, I just gave God the glory and flowed with it, and my worship took off into another glorious level. I am now trying to find innovative ways to invite my 'older' friends, praying that they will stay, beyond the first song!

  1. April 26, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Morris. Mike Morris said: New blog post: Music Style, Money, and Senior Citizens […]

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