Since we’ve been in Texas, we’ve been doing what new-to-town, church-going people do: visiting a lot of different churches. We each have a list in our heads and hearts of things in a church that are important to us, and we’ve narrowed it down to a couple that have warranted return visits.

One of these has a “contemporary” service (praise band and contemporary songs) at 9:15 and a “traditional” service (full orchestra, 100+ person choir and hymns) at 11:30. Because we’ve been members of non-denominational, contemporary churches for our entire married lives, we have been attending the first service. However, when one of Hubs’ employees from Florida was here visiting, and asked to go to church with us, we chose to take him to the second service, thinking it would be most comfortable for him with his traditional Lutheran background.

Since I love all kinds of music, and was raised on hymns and a pipe organ, I was engaged in the worship; however, Hubs was not. Then, one of the associate pastors delivered the message and, truly, it was among the driest I’d ever heard. Bor. Ing.

When the service was over, apologies were on my lips as I turned to our guest. I just hated that he had to visit on this yawn of a Sunday. But, my eyes were met with a face full of excitement.

“That was one of the best services I’ve ever attended! The music was fabulous, the orchestra sent chills up my spine and that speaker! He had me completely engaged the entire time, both motivating and challenging me! I can’t wait to take some of these ideas back home to our church!”

Hubs and I stood there with our mouths agape.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the last couple of weeks. I’ve thought about how many complaints are uttered within our church walls – “our music needs to be more hip”…”we need to stick to the basics”…”we’re too far ‘out there'”…”we want more hymns”…and on and on. People convinced to their core that there is only one right way to do church. The truth of the matter is that the church is made of many individuals, with as many individual tastes and preferences. As long as it remains true to scripture, there are a LOT of different ways to do church. Different approaches to worship and teaching reach different people. What one person finds dull as dry toast, the other feasts on as if it was manna from heaven.

Christ knew there were “different strokes for different folks.” He ministered to each person He encountered in a way that would best speak to them. Should we or our churches be any different? Our differences, when we’re all connected to the same Vine, go a long way to nourishing and feeding a larger number…and producing a huge crop of good fruit.

And a lot of tasty food for thought.