Life + Culture

Multicultural Worship Music (Part 1): #AllPeoplePractices

The All People Band with
UM Church for All People

The following is part of an ongoing series looking at the #AllPeoplePractices that build the inclusive Body of Christ. This series is in partnership with the United Methodist Church for All People and the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR).

A multicultural worship setting can be a challenging one for many reasons, not the least of which being differences in worship music styles. The music we use to connect with God is deeply personal. Each of us is uniquely tuned to God’s frequency though our own songs and styles of worship. This intimacy is beautiful and holy, but it can also cause unnecessary division in our churches if we isolate ourselves based on musical preference. Engaging in multicultural worship (ie. including many genres, styles, and languages in our musical encounters with God) enriches our relationship with God, with fellow believers, and with the world.


Our ‘Heart Music’
We each have our musical preferences—songs with which we enjoy worshiping the most. It’s often (but not always) the music we listened to between the ages 18 and 25, and it’s often what we turn to in our moments of most intimate worship with God.

Heart made of treble and bass clefsThis music can be termed our ‘heart music’—those songs or styles that quickly and deeply connect us with God. It could be upbeat or meditative, emotional or reverent. You may dance, clap, shout, meditate, or chant. You may repeat phrases over and over to help marinate your soul in their meaning, or you may weave many words into your songs to describe the intricacies of your theology. Your music may emphasize the rhythms, the melodies, the harmonies, or the text. No matter what approach you enjoy the most, it is probably central to how you experience God through worship.

Drawing Nearer to Each Other
We each have our own unique heart music, but so do each of the people around us. Because we all prefer different worship styles, music can become a barrier to unity within the body of Christ. But music can also be a tool for uniting Christians across cultures and backgrounds.

Psalm 67 proclaims “may the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity, and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.” Could the scripture really mean that we meant to do this in isolation from one another?

Incorporating many styles of worship music helps us connect with each other through our respective heart music.

When we take the time to learn someone’s music, we express our love for them in a profoundly meaningful way. By worshiping in many styles, we demonstrate our willingness to set aside our own desires for the sake of ushering someone else into the presence of God. We make what scripture calls “a sacrifice of praise” to the Lord (Hebrews 13:15), and it can be a powerful tool in uniting diverse communities of worship.

Dancing at Coffee House
When a church worships in many styles it sets itself apart as a truly welcoming house of God. Preemptively incorporating the music of the broader community opens the doors to visitors, and offers a welcoming environment once they arrive. It says to newcomers “we hoped you might come, and we’re that glad you’re here.”

Singing in many styles and languages affirms of the multifaceted body of Christ, assisting us in repenting of our divides and ethnocentrisms. It helps us be mindful of friends we may not meet until we are singing together in heaven, and prepares our hearts for that day when “all the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord” (Psalm 86:9).

Multicultural worship music helps us draw nearer to each other. Continue on for some first steps and resources...

...Read More.

Our Mission at a Glance

To bridge the cultural gap within

Christian Music

by uniting listeners all over the world to join in the diverse listening experience we provide.
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