Comtenporvant and the New Worship Service


As a church consultant, I have resisted the trend to define and template what some call a contemporary worship experience. I’ve had pastors ask me what to sing, what to say and even what to wear–often that turns out to be what NOT to wear.  However, North Point Church did a great job in deconstructing the modern American worship service in this fun and somewhat scary parody.

“For some years it has been apparent that the rage for novelties in singing, especially in our Sunday Schools, has been driving out of use the old, precious, standard hymns. They are not memorized as of old. They are scarcely sung at all. They are not even contained in the non-denominational songbooks which in many churches have usurped the place of our hymn books.

We cannot afford to lose these old hymns. They are full of the Gospel; they breathe the deepest emotions of pious hearts in the noblest strains of poetry; they have been tested and approved by successive generations of those that loved the Lord; they are the surviving fittest ones from thousands of inferior productions; they are hallowed by abundant usefulness and tenderest memories. But the young people of today are unfamiliar with them, if the present tendency goes unchecked.” -Basil Manly, Jr., 1892 (thanks to Dennis Arriaga for this quote)

Are we facing a “worship crisis” as a friend of mine says, or are we finding new worship expressions for new generations? Does it really matter? 510

  • Jonathan Lewis

    hahahaha! Great video. I think different people worship different way and new generations need to find their own way to encounter God.

  • Michael Hyatt

    This just proves that even non-liturgical churches are VERY liturgical. 😉

  • MaurilioAmorim

    We should call it the Contempturgical !

  • Lawrence W. Wilson

    Maurilio, if the critique of traditional worship is that it can lacks connection to life, the critique of contemporary worship could be that it often lacks connection to God. In either case, the fault is not in the form. I would say the "worship crisis" your friend mentions is an indicator of an identity crisis within the church.

    Sorry to get all theological on you. The video was relevumorous.

  • Kevin

    The video was spot on. God help us and forgive us.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    Great insight, Lawrence.

  • Bret Pemelton

    I'm sure Hymns were thought to be pretty radical in thier day. But they are just songs and lyrics written by people who loved God just like us. They may quote scripture, but that doesn't make them more worshipfull.

    To be honest, I grew up in the church (first Episcopal then later Baptist), and I never experienced a sense of worship for myself singing hymns. I believe we are still in the early stages of modern worship and it will grow and mature. I bet there were a ton of hymns that have been forgotten and the best survived over time. same with todays worship. Insisting on only singing hymns is like insisting that Broadway only perform Shakespeare.

  • Merely Meredith

    Maurilio, thanks a MILLION for posting this vimeo…I posted the same vid to my blog the other day! It's great to be able to recognize (in a very humorous and clever way) that we've been "doing" church and not "being" the church!

    I look forward to reading more and learning a lot from your blog!


  • MaurilioAmorim

    I was looking through an old hymnal the other day and I was reminded of how bad some of those hymns were.

  • cs mills

    I feel like I have been there and done that with these modern songs written by people with a modern education and a limited vocabulary. It was a nice change for a while, but I am hankering for some depth.

    Sometimes I look around church to see how many people join me in not singing. It's a lot. I'm just not into singing the same vapid repeating-phrase-so-we-can-get-the-juices-going songs. This past Sunday, I noticed how loud the singing got when we sang "A Mighty Fortress" because all of us non-singers joined in.

    I wish the leaders would notice this and sing songs that the congregation wants instead of the songs that THEY want. We're lucky if at Cristmas time they will squeeze in a Christmas carol. And, I wish they would leave the words and music alone and quit trying to make them "cool".

    The hymns of the Church communicate a depth of theology that sermons can't touch. Not to mention the lesson in language you won't find in school today. I wish our church would venture beyound the shallow waters more often and try to reach those of us who have heard it all before, not with a great Sunday morning production but with depth of content.

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