Intergenerational Worship Challenges Cultural Gap; Back to Heart of Worship

A non-denominational Christian music institute aims to bring people back to the heart of worship through the experience of intergenerational worship.
( [email protected] ) Mar 22, 2006 07:16 PM EST

A non-denominational Christian music institute aims to bring people back to the heart of worship through the experience of intergenerational worship.

The non-denominational Chinese Christian Church Music Institute for Worship (CCCMIW) is going to hold its third INTERGenerational Worship for 2006 at the Lakeside Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, on April 1. There are altogether four services, each held on the first Saturday of the month, starting from February.

Primarily hosted for Chinese Christians from churches across the denominational line, with the theme "Together We Worship," it will be a gathering of the whole congregation, whole family, with all generations to become one in worship and fellowship, regardless of the differences in language and culture.

CCCMIW has realized the challenge faced by many Chinese churches in North America in the ways they worship due to the differences between the English and Chinese speaking congregations. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the English-speaking younger generation has been rising up together with the older Chinese immigrants’ generation who may feel more comfortable to worship in their native tongue. This phenomenon has divided the congregation into different groups for worship services according to generation and age. They believe it is important to offer as many different styles and options of music as possible.

INTERGenerational Worship, on the other hand, reminds Christians that the center of worship is God, according to administrative director of CCCMIW Peggy Lam. The existing cultural gap between generations in Chinese churches can be easily overcome when Christians of different ages realize this and unite before God to worship Him.

"Despite the different worship styles that different generations may prefer to use, the act of worship is not to please man, but to please God. Therefore, it is not about what kind of songs to sing that can unite us before Him," said Lam.

Acknowledged the style of music may help people devote themselves in worship, Lam emphasized that the worship leader plays a more important role of intercession to guide people to God.

"A worship leader must clearly understand his role as a priest who brings people to God. The center of worship is God. We must be careful that sometimes as we enjoy personal affection and pleasure in the music, we may have replaced God as the center of worship," Lam stated.

INTERGenerational Worship is bilingual and the music is carefully selected. It will show to Christians a model that all members of the family can worship together if they try to arrange and design the worship in a proper way, according to Lam.

Lam shared that many of the participants of INTERGenerational Worship in the past have gained new vision and tried to hold similar worship services in their own churches.

Approaching the Easter, the focus of INTERGenerational Worship this time will be the suffering of Christ Jesus. The CCCMIW Choir will devote the hymn "Messiah Part II" in Mandarin with Rev. Richard Lin, founder and president of CCCMIW, senior professor in Church Music at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as the conductor.

Dr. Max Lyall, minister of music at Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland and professor of Church Music at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS) and Dr. Craig Singleton, minister of music at the Tiburon Baptist church are invited as main speakers. Cantonese translation will be available for the Chinese-speaking congregation.