A while back, I was pointed at a band by the name of Grave Robber. (If you like metal/punk, they have a serious Misfits sound, check out their Myspace, if you don't, that's ok, just keep reading) The band took the idea of dying to the world and being reborn in Christ and put it to a zombie allegory. They utilize a shock rock show, with masks and lots of theatrical props. Now, would I invite Grave Robber to perform at my church? No. Not because I have anything against the band or their setup, but because that form of evangelism/expression of faith wouldn't be particularly effective with the congregation. Would I invite them to play a show here in town? Yes. Why? Because there are enough goth/emo/mallcore folks running around who would come and listen and be open to the Message in the music. Folks who aren't likely to walk into a church on Sunday morning, and if they do, will (in many congregations) be looked at funny for their Hot Topic clothes and funny colored hair.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he said this.
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some and this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. (1 Cor. 9:20-23, KJV)
To the Jews, he became a Jew, to the them without the law (everybody else from a Jewish point of view), he became one of them. To the punk, the Church is called to become a punk. To the raver, the Church is called to be a raver. While some of us like to focus this on subcultures, we also see it in other cultures around the world. Services in Kenya are completely different than ones in Japan. The hidden "illegal" churches on North Korea worship in a vastly different way than the metalheads attending the Cornerstone festival. Are any of them wrong? No. (not in principle, at least) In the same way the hymn singer is just as right as the contemporary worship music singer is.
It kind of annoys me to see churches with signs out front that say "Traditional Worship Service 8:00, Contemporary Service 10:00". The idea come off as an unnecessary division. Hopefully these churches have events and services where everyone comes together, otherwise what is the purpose of being one church, why not break into two separate ones? Augustine said "In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things love" (and in a random side note, the article that came up when I googled the phrase to make sure I remembered it right goes into how the statement is wrong and has created issues for the church, bookmarking it for later perusal and likely writing about) The essentials are doctrine, belief in the God revealed in the Bible, Jesus as our necessary redeemer, that God has a purpose for all of us, and wants us saved to share eternal life in heaven with Him. Non-essentials are variables, the things we do in life and worship that aren't named specifically in that doctrine. I guarantee you that none of our church services match the ones the Apostles held as the Church grew in Acts, or in the first several centuries afterward. Does that mean we are doing it wrong? No. It means we are utilizing that liberty that God has granted us.
Personally, I hear a lot of great things in those old hymns, and a lot of great things in the new worship songs. Of course, I hear great things in the Christian black metal, hardcore, and industrial music I find, too. The last couple of churches I've attended have always happily mixed hymns and contemporary music. Hopefully we can come to a time when we can all listen with open hearts, and take that open heart into other parts of our worship and daily lives. Then we might see fewer divided services and more united forces. Just a thought, we all know the power of music don't we?