Broadly speaking, the contemporary renewal of worship in the Western world can be classified as follows: (1) liturgical; (2) traditional Protestant; (3) creative; (4) charismatic; (5) praise-and-worship tradition; (6) convergence; (7) the seekers’ service/believers’ worship pattern.
This model of worship is found among the oldest churches—Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran. A strong emphasis is placed on the Eucharist.
Traditional Protestant Worship.
This model of worship is found among groups of Christians that are able to trace their historic roots either to the Reformation era or to reforming movements among Protestant Christians prior to 1950. This includes mainline denominations, evangelical denominations, holiness denominations, Anabaptist denominations, and independent churches. A strong emphasis is placed on the Word. However, most of these groups are being affected by the liturgical renewal and are returning to a model of worship shaped by the early church and modern concerns. This model, often called the ecumenical model, is characterized by a fourfold shape—Acts of Entrance, Service of the Word, Service of the Table, Acts of Dismissal.
The creative model of worship is perhaps better considered a modification of any of the other models than an independent model. Creativity has always had a part in shaping any given worship experience, but its current manifestation is more far-reaching than ever before and can be found among both small and large churches, mostly of independent origins. These churches seek to contextualize worship to the masses, draw heavily on the arts, and have strong appeal to the post-Enlightenment generation, especially the baby boomers. More traditional churches exercise creativity within the bounds defined by the tradition, but that often leaves much room for creative expression. Creative worship also often involves a church rooted in one model borrowing elements from another model. The extreme of this kind of blending merges into the convergence model.
The charismatic tradition of worship, which has emerged since the middle of the 1960s, is a phenomena that attempts to recapture the worship of the New Testament church, particularly that of the Corinthian church 1 Corinthians1 Corinthians, ESV 1:1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” . It emphasizes the Spirit and the role of the gifts in worship. While there are particular charismatic groups, the movement itself has affected the worship of nearly every denomination.
The Praise-and-Worship Tradition.
The praise-and-worship tradition of worship is a phenomenon influenced by the charismatic movement of the sixties. It places a strong emphasis on music, involvement of the whole person, and healing. It enjoys a strong following among post-Enlightenment-oriented people, especially those who desire a free-form participation in worship.
The Convergence Model of Worship.
The convergence model of worship is an approach to worship that draws on all the traditions. It seeks to achieve a balance of Word and Table, draws on liturgical resources, and incorporates the arts and music from the praise-and-worship tradition. It is an emerging worship found in nearly every denomination.
Seekers’ Service/Believers’ Worship.
In this style of worship a distinction is made between a service of outreach (evangelism) and the worship of the community of faith. The seekers’ service replaces the typical Sunday morning worship, whereas the believers’ worship is conducted during the week.