5 Poor Arguments for a Traditional-style Church Service

David V. Kimball
3 min readMay 25, 2015

Today I’m taking a stance on an issue with which I don’t usually identify.

I actually LOVE traditional-style church and worship services. They tend to be my favorite kind due to their solidly Christ-centered nature. But when defending it, I’ve heard people say some pretty pathetic things that don’t encourage positive, critical discussion but focus on irrelevant or unimportant points.

For the sake of clarity, I’m going to quote myself from two posts ago (wow, this guy’s quoting himself? What an egocentric person).

What is the primary concern of a congregation meeting together? To worship God together through expression and understanding.

If you are unfamiliar with the difference between “traditional” and “contemporary” services and worship, I recommend you look at these Wikipedia articles on Liturgy and Contemporary worship.

So traditional and modern services can both accomplish this goal. That’s true off-the-bat. With that in mind, let’s look at a few of these poor arguments.

1. “It’s always how we’ve done it.”

Just because you’ve always done something a particular way doesn’t prove its innate goodness. That rule only applies to God, and we’re humans. What humans achieve should always be carefully looked at for correction and improvement.

2. “Everyone is used to it this way.”

That might not be true. “Everyone” if they’re older are going to not be around for much longer, and a new generation of people might know a different way. Plus this idea serves only as a convenience, not really important enough to consider this argument.

3. “We’re supposed to be in the world, not of it.”

Just because it’s not traditional doesn’t necessarily mean a service is worldly. It is possible to have a service that is a departure from how “traditional” services are structured and have it be a good thing.

4̶.̶ ̶“̶H̶y̶m̶n̶s̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶g̶e̶n̶e̶r̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶b̶e̶t̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶n̶ ̶p̶r̶a̶i̶s̶e̶ ̶c̶h̶o̶r̶u̶s̶e̶s̶.̶”̶

Wait, scratch that. That’s actually a fantastic argument. ☺

4. “You don’t have to modernize the gospel.”

True, and any kind of service, modern or traditional, shouldn’t be seeking to “modernize” the gospel at all. Modern services should be teaching the same, unchanging gospel, but they might go about it a different way. So this argument is based upon false assumptions about modern-style services.

5. “Jesus would have done it this way.”

How the crap do you even know that? You can only make conjectures and guesses about how Jesus would have ran a church in 2015, you can’t know for a fact. Don’t be so proud as to assume that because you’re a traditional-style church that you’re running your church exactly how Jesus would have.

Don’t get me wrong: Traditional services with liturgy rock

Like I said earlier, in fact I generally prefer this style to contemporary/modern service styles. But just because you prefer something (like traditional church services) doesn’t mean you have to agree with the rationale behind every person’s shared preference. In other words, I would give 5 different arguments for a traditional-style church service that would aim to convince others it’s worthwhile to consider the validity of such a style. Those arguments would deal heavily in promoting the primary purpose of the church (which is back at the top of this post), not focus on frivolous benefits like “it’s how we’ve always done it.”

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David V. Kimball

I love all things digital. Topics: marketing, faith, communication, tech, and gaming.