The Truth About Preference

In our me-centric world personal preference has become king and queen, dominating nearly every facet of life.

Bread at a Bakery

Wegman’s grocery stores, a favorite of mine when I lived in Rochester, NY, lists almost 500 responses on their website to a search for actual bread products.  Choose between Giant Bread, Garlic Tuscany, Orange Cranberry, and hundreds of other shapes and flavors.

Music Genres List has catalogued over 230 different styles of music.  Dubstep, Opera, and Dirty South are just a few possibilities.  AMC’s Filmsite list displays hundreds of possible movie genres, sub-genres, and hybrids.

With this level of preference in culture, we should not be surprised to find that preference is a major player in church selection and even church leadership.

Humans are preferential.  Choice and free will are actually a gift from God.  We, on the other hand, often go to the extreme of declaring our preference the only correct preference.  I used to believe in a world where someone could make choices outside of preference, that there are black and white answers to everything.

I could not have been more wrong.

My executive pastor recently reminded me that one of the most important parts to discussing worship and music is admitting that your own preferences are always influencing your decisions.

  • When I choose music for a service, in addition to praying, considering Scripture references, and incorporating themes, I will undoubtedly base my decisions on preference.
  • When I look for a recording to guide my band, my preferences will guide me.
  • When someone asks me to listen to a piece of music, I will listen as objectively as I can, but my preferences will be present.
  • When I am hired, my employer in part hires my unique preferences.
  • When I get defensive in a worship or music discussion, I can usually look back and see me on a soapbox touting my preferences.

Over time I am becoming, with God’s help, more aware of my preferences and less judgmental of the preferences of others.

How do your preferences influence your leadership?

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One thought on “The Truth About Preference

  1. Thanks for the reminder. I’m learning to remind myself that every conclusion is valid based on the premise (or in this context, the preference). It helps me understand where I need to focus my understanding – where does the other person start from? what are their preferences?

    Another part of this is understanding that sometimes our defensiveness, frustration or other such responses come from unmet expectations. I’ve found that I as reverse engineer to the point of understanding the underlying expectation, I can learn whether or not it was legitimate or not.

    Again, all in the name of better understanding those we hope to spend eternity with 🙂

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