EXPERIENCE GOD IN WORSHIP
by Nine authors (c) 2000 Group Pub. pp.191 price 38.95
Worship goes back to the days of the Tabernacle. This book is about worship at the beginning of the new millennium. Each author gives his/her view on the topic.
Ch.1 Worship in the Third Millennium. George Barna
Being at a worship service doesn’t mean that people worship. For most, worship needs to be pleasant, pleasing, and comfortable. "America has a problem in the area of worship." p.16. Worship is impacted by lifestyle trends and culturally influenced expectations. Worship has changed due to styles of music, construct of the service, preaching style, participation, etc. A philosophy of worship needs to be developed by those who are leading worship. Worship needs to be taught. There is room for diversity in worship (style). Corporate worship will not happen without personal worship. There needs to be a will to worship.
Ch. 2 Convergence Worship. A Blending of Traditions. Robert Webber.
Convergence has to do with blending contemporary and traditional. Some keys in making this work are, high energy in the music, a positive experience in worship,adding a celebratory focus, and the use of symbolism. Webber approaches Convergence Worship in three parts. Part 1- The Theology of Worship. Te Deum is a good definition of worship. Worship is prayer. In heaven it is happening continually. Worship is"a rehearsal of our relationship with God." p.37. Part 2 Our Changing World. Since WWII we have been in a post-Christian era. Since 1990 we have seen many changes. We now live in a world of mystery and complexness. We are into community. There has been a revolution in communication. The culture of the late busters and millennials is open to convergence worship. Part 3. Sample Churches With Convergence Worship. Liturgical/Convergence church. Church of the Resurrection in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. (Anglican). Traditional/Convergence church. Christ Community, Olathe, Kansas. (Nazarene). Contemporary/Convergence church. Valley Cathedral, Pheonix. (Independent). The worship in each church is described. Convergence is much more than the mixture of hymns and choruses.
Ch.3. Liturgical Worshi[p. Using Ritual to Inspire True Worship. Gary M. Burge- prof. Wheaton.
Liturgy may not be acceptable to today’s youth but mysticism is. There is a search for "an en- vironment that communicates God’s holiness to my senses and to my spirit."p.56. This suggests a blend of charismatic renewal with tradition and dignity. Worship needs to be a divine encounter. Too often our worship experiences leave us focused on what we should do rather than on the mystery of God and who He is. Worship as a part of everyday living has been reduced to ethical behavior. Worship needs to be multisensory, not a magic act but something that comes out of a relationship with God. The leader (pastor) of worship has a significant part in making worship meaningful. His is the position of priest, mediator. "True worship must facilitate a divine encounter." p.66. Ritual and recitation can be helpful. Worship must be God-centred.
Ch. 4 Contemporary Worship. What Does Worship From The Heart Look Like? Kim Hill with Lisa Harper. K.H. recording artist, worship leader.
Athletic events evoke emotions that are a type of worship in as much as they involve all our attention and affection. Kim relates her own story. She talks about ‘nighttime solo dancing’ as an act of worship. Her model is David. She is into demonstative worship, however worship "has everything to do with hearts that are renewed by the Holy Spirit". p.85. New worship is participatory. Styles will change.
Ch. 5 Evangelical Worship. A Biblical Model for the Twenty-First Century. Bruce H. Leafblad. prof. of Church Music and Worship. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
The author describes an evangelical church. "They’re free to devise their own standard orders of worship." p.94. The New Testament contains principiles of worship but not orders of worship. Isaiah 6:1-11 is presented as a model for worship. Such worship involves dialogue with God, a divine revelation, a response to God. A model for evangelical churches is presented involving "Acts of God and Acts of People." p.113.
Ch. 6. African-American Worship. Creating a New Worship for the Twenty-First Century. Richard Allen Farmer, a compelling preacher, pianist and vocalist from Dallas, Texas.
The author’s childhood experiences in Sunday services were very positive. In African culture, "an event begins when folks get there and it ends when they are finished doing what they came to do". Some of this concept has carried over into African-American worship. There is a special attitude towards the pastor, (preacher). Music is prominent. A comparison is made between African and Anglo church music. In Black worship the musician is next to the preacher in importance. Multiracial churches are not easy to establish. The challenge is to take the best of each.
Ch.7. Charismatic Worship. Embracing a Worship Reformation. Jack W. Hayford. senior pastor of the Church on the Way., Van Guys, California.
"Valued traditions must be.. refilled with meaning relevant to Christians today." p. 134. A worshipful relationship with God comes at a price, Worship tradition must never be held above the truth of God’s Word. What is needed is obedient worship, "Worship is a human opportunity to invite God’s power and presence to move among those gathered to worship Him." p.137. David modeled worship. His wife criticized and paid the price. Worship involves expressiveness out of a right heart.
Ch. 8. Gen X Worship. A Model for a New Generation. John S. Miller, worship pastor at the Next Level Church (Gen X) The core spiritual values of N.L.C. are community, teaching, worship, and ministry.. We have been created to worship. Our whole life needs to be an act of worship. A worship service at N.L.C. is desribed. Change is not a threat to Gen Xer’s. Matters of concern are "authenticity, experience, mystery, relationship, honesty, and truth.". p166. Worship needs to be holistic. We need more resources for personal worship.
Ch. 9 A New Reformation. Re- Creating Worship for a Postmodern World. -Leonard Sweet
Mainline churches are declining because of their modern (not postmodern) mindset. "In postmodern culture, the experience is the message."p.177. Worship for the postmodern needs to be interactive and participatory. Even tradition needs to be interactive. Postmodern spirituality is created by metaphor. "Metaphors create realities."p.181. Worship is about spirit. Worship must have a communal focus. There are three forces that are impacting how postmodern worship is evolving, "postmodern hermeneutics, the hard sciences, and cognition research." p.185. These are discussed briefly. Postmodern worship is EPIC -"Experiential, Participatative, Image-based, and Communal."p.189.
This is a very interesting book about different worship models from successful churches. The information presented will certainly be helpful to churches to make their worship a joyful celebration all year round. This could be a textbook for a course which gives an overview of worship models.