Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Reasons Contemporary Worship IS Declining, and What We Can Do to Help the Church Move On

  • Meg Bucher Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
10 Reasons Contemporary Worship IS Declining, and What We Can Do to Help the Church Move On

Experiencing God through worship has presentationally changed over time, but elementally remained the same. To understand where contemporary worship is going, it’s helpful to understand what it is and when it began. The charismatic movement birthed this style of worship known for a more casual setting. Leaders take the stage and utilize technology to connect more relevantly.

This shift in Christianity has been influenced by the importance of spiritual gifts … charismata. “These are supernatural graces which individual Christians need to fulfill the mission of the Church” (Wikipedia). God is the same today as He has been for all other generations before us. Though we evolve and change, He does not. Contemporary Worship is evolving into the next generation, and with that comes change.

Photo credit: ©©Thinkstock/golubovy

  • 1. Generational Shift

    1. Generational Shift

    Slide 1 of 10

    Romans 12:2 tells us not to “conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformed, “Here a process, not a single event” (NIV Study Bible Notes). 

    God may not change, but the world is changing, and He’s not surprised. He’s prepared us for the time we live in, and it makes sense that the style in which we worship will evolve along the way. As people change, the relevant way in which the church reaches them will have to follow suit. No two generations are alike. Your grandparents, for instance, had a church experience that was quite different presentationally than what we are experiencing today. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    2. New Leadership

    Slide 2 of 10

    With every new generation comes a new batch of worship leaders. This position has become very popular in modern churches. Each new leader has inspired ideas about the direction and way in which they will lead. 

    They are influenced by where they came from and what’s going on in their circle right now. The ideas that will flow most naturally will be what they are connected to in the here and now. Each new bunch of leaders will add something new to the current worship style, changing it slowly over time. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    3. Gone Retro

    Slide 3 of 10

    Everything comes back around. Generation after generation bears witness to some shred of their past coming back in style. This can be said for many different aspects of our culture, such as older fashion trends. Who thought the eighties would ever return? 

    The same can be said for worship trends. With a new spin, old hymns come back around. Combined with what’s going on in the now, a look back to where we came from is always healthy. It gives us a sense of our past. For those who left strict denominations, singing old hymns in a newer environment can induce a nostalgic peace. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    4. Faster

    Slide 4 of 10

    The fast pace to which our society runs makes us crave change at a rapid rate. Songs that were once new and exciting now blend in with all of the others that followed suit. The next new sound stands out because it sounds different. 

    As humans, we are constantly craving change. Whether this may be or a positive or negative thing, it applies to many areas of our life. While the word of God has remained the same since the beginning, we tend to want to change up an aspect of our worship routine. The goal of church shouldn't be to be entertained, but to relevantly reach each person attending where they are. 

    Introducing new worship events (Bible studies, prayer groups, retreats, etc.) will introduce a more contemporary feel to the church environment, while possibly inciting new members to attend and hear God’s Word. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    5. Resurgence of Focus

    Slide 5 of 10

    There comes a time in every trend when we have to stand back and make sure that the truth is still speaking the loudest—God’s truth, above the noise of popularity and ticket sales. Modern worship has trended towards a concert experience, with worship bands hitting the road in between Sunday service. 

    Is the Word the center? Is God receiving all of the glory? These are important questions, and crowds are watching closely to make sure they are focusing their worship on God—not the band. 

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/golubovy

  • 1. Generational Shift

    6. Techy

    Slide 6 of 10

    Technology has given reach to God’s Word in our modern world. He’s not surprised by the way we’ve advanced, and will use every ounce we offer up in His name for good. It’s hard not to get caught up in the visual artistry and thumping sound; beats that move us off of our seats and lights that remind us of how blinding His love is for us. As tech evolves, so will the way we worship. Every once in a while, every artist tones it down to an acoustic session. While both high and low energy worship styles are great, it's important to keep a healthy balance. 

     

    Photo credit: Unsplash 

  • 1. Generational Shift

    7. Growth

    Slide 7 of 10

    Those who have left a traditional faith background in search of a more accepting and casual way to worship God have come together from all different directions. As the next generation comes up, will they look around and look back simultaneously for where to go next? Catholic and Protestant hymns sung side by side? As we search to understand different faith backgrounds, we will understand each other better. Realizing that we all worship the one true God, our worship will continue to evolve and reflect the multiplicity of it’s congregation. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    8. Fear

    Slide 8 of 10

    Mass shootings have stolen our comfort in numbers. Even if we pursue the life we always have, sitting in the pocket of a crowd of people is now accompanied by a nagging fear, not just of “what if”, but of “when will it happen where I stand?” There is a bonding together than no one can deny, and something powerful happens when we come together in worship, even without the show of technology and thumping beats. We are traveling through an unprecedented time … together. Worship will seek to address the comfort and assurance that we seek. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    9. Traditions

    Slide 9 of 10

    Silent Night is sung in many churches at Christmastime, no matter what religious affiliation we grew up around or currently claim. As the world opens up in communication, more traditions join together. New members will continue to populate new churches, bringing old traditions to new congregations. 

     

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  • 1. Generational Shift

    10. Originality

    Slide 10 of 10

    Worship teams are going out on tour with their own original music. That has inspired a wave of musicians to let their own grace-placed message out into the microphone during Sunday service. There is something especially magical about a church singing a song their own worship team wrote. God tells us how important it is to be a part of the local church, and how important our spiritual gifts are. He has brought each together for a reason and a purpose, and humans have always connected to a message greatly through song. 

     

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    Meg encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emotimoms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Goldendoodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.