Models Of Renewing Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

This section presents models of renewing worship from the major traditions of the Christian church. These models are intended to be studied and used, adapted and implemented. A congregation may follow these examples and make changes appropriate to its own worship. The introduction to each of the worship models provides the reader with a brief understanding of the setting from which the worship derives; the main text invites the reader and student to study the flow of worship in the tradition...

Adventist Worship

Seventh-day Adventist worship follows in the tradition of free church worship, featuring much hymn singing, expository sermons, and informal atmosphere. Some churches use the Common Lectionary, and the Communion Service is becoming more prominent. A representative order of worship is organized around four areas: God's presence, God's gifts, God's Word, and God's grace. In outline, a renewed pattern of Adventist worship is as follows:

African-american Worship

African-American worship has been a renewal movement from the beginning, when African-American slaves gathered to affirm God and in turn were affirmed, renewed, and transformed by the presence and power of God. The African-American tradition in worship encourages free and creative response to all that happens in worship, from gestures to song to the spoken and preached Word. Music is fundamentally communal and varies widely, particularly in instrumentation.

Anabaptist Worship

Churches in the Anabaptist traditions are characterized by great variety in worship. Some have adopted habits from mainstream Protestant churches, while others have maintained a long-held communal ethos and some distinctive worship practices. Among the challenges to the churches that are eager to find life in the Anabaptist tradition are these questions: Does public worship shape the character of individuals and the community by Jesus' way-by the marks of mercy, love, humility, and peace?

Baptist Worship

Baptists do not "own" a liturgy; rather, they share broadly with other denominations. The order of worship in most Baptist churches normally will not differ significantly from free church congregations. Those Baptists following a more formal order often borrow from Episcopal or Lutheran resources-or from the recently published resources developed by the United Methodists and Presbyterians PC (USA).

Charismatic Worship Model

All the trappings of historic and well-ordered worship do nothing for the worshiper who is not consumed with the desire to enter into the presence of the Lord "in Spirit and in truth. " A people who have seen a vision of the glory of the living Lord, whose lives have been touched by his covenant love and faithfulness, and whose spirits have been caught up in a heartfelt response to the movement of his Spirit-such a people will worship with a worship at once individual and corporate, timeless and contemporary, ordered and free.

Christian Church (disciples Of Christ) Worship

The service of worship in the Christian Church follows the ecumenical consensus of the fourfold order. However, it breaks the Service of the Word into two parts, having one section for the proclamation of the Word and another for the response to the Word.

Eastern Orthodox Worship Part I

The rule of prayer is the rule of faith. We pray what we believe and we believe what we pray. Christ handed down to his apostles not only the rule of faith (the doctrine of the apostles) but also the rule of prayer (the worship of the apostles).

Episcopal Worship

The eucharistic liturgy, refined by twenty centuries of usage, has two distinct parts which form a unity. The first consists of gathering, listening, and responding to God's written Word. The second is making Eucharist or thanksgiving. This involves receiving bread and wine, praying over these gifts, thanking the Father for the work of Jesus, and receiving back the consecrated elements of bread and wine.

Evangelical Worship

Evangelical churches may be defined as those that have stressed historically the authority of Scripture, personal commitment to serve Jesus Christ, and an evangelistic outreach to their community and world. Models of worship renewal in evangelical churches may be as numerous as the number of churches involved in such renewal.

Holiness Worship

The Holiness movement is Wesleyan in origin. It emphasizes the sanctification of life and conduct. Sanctification is normally seen as a second work of grace subsequent to personal regeneration. Holiness churches also believe in divine healing, a rite some congregations are beginning to recover.

Lutheran Worship

Imagine a welcoming narthex that opens onto the room of assembly where there is a great baptismal pool, full of clear and flowing water and situated just at the place where the narthex opens onto a nave. The assembly room itself is furnished with a central reading desk, a gracious and significant table, visible chairs for a few leaders, and worthy chairs for all the people who gather.

Methodist Worship

The Methodist movement, led by John and Charles Wesley, began in the Church of England in the eighteenth century and spread beyond England and the Church of England into America. Born in the revival fires of Wesley, Methodist worship remained respectful of its Anglican roots and expressed the warmth of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which infused its worship with enthusiasm and joy.

Pentecostal Worship

The structure of Pentecostal worship has been and generally continues to be comprised of three basic units:



Invitation/Altar Service

Within this tripartite structure, spontaneity and informality are the key operatives that flesh out the basic form.

Presbyterian Worship Pc (usa)

In the Presbyterian Church (USA), formal congregational worship is planned and conducted by the pastor and others. The order of service involves the congregation in praying and singing; listening and speaking; receiving and giving; and using the Bible, hymnals, and service books, all of which are guided by a directory for worship. The influential model for such directories has been A Directory for the Public Worship of God (1644), first published in England by the Westminster Assembly of Divines.

Reformed Worship

Rooted in Calvinism and in a strong confessionalism, Reformed churches are being shaped significantly by liturgical and charismatic trends. Although these influences are creating tension and upheaval, the RCA is attempting to deal constructively with change.

Roman Catholic Worship

The Roman Catholic Sunday liturgy, the Mass, or more properly, the Eucharist, is composed of two primary parts: the Liturgy of the Word, which is concerned primarily with the reading of Scripture, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which is centered on the prayer of thanksgiving and Communion. In addition to these two primary parts, there are several introductory rites, a dismissal rite, and transitional rites between the two primary sections.

United Church Of Christ Worship

Worship life in the United Church of Christ (UCC) exhibits both continuity and variety. A journey on any given Sunday to congregations across the country would reveal substantial similarities. The Sunday service is fundamentally a preaching service; only the Lord's Supper and baptism are celebrated as sacraments; the Lord's Supper is celebrated occasionally, at high points of the church year or, in some congregations, monthly.

Creative Worship: Taizé

Taiz is a small village in eastern France where young adults from all over the world have gathered together since the early 1950s. They come to pray, to worship, and to seek the meaning of life in communion with Christ and sisters and brothers of many races and cultures. The founder and mentor of this ecumenical community is Brother Roger, a "bearer of trust, reconciliation, and peace. " Today there are almost one hundred brothers in the Taiz community from over twenty different countries.

Convergence Worship Model

The convergence model, which draws from a variety of traditions, exists in nearly every denomination. Liturgical churches that incorporate praise music can be regarded as convergence models. So too can praise-and-worship churches that incorporate liturgical resources. All traditions contribute in some way to convergence worship. Liturgical resources, as well as traditional Protestant resources, provide order and depth; creative resources heighten communication; the praise-and-worship resources, especially the music and the rites of healing, create a sense of the immediacy of the Spirit. This growing tradition has made a break with the cerebral, didactic style that has characterized worship since the Enlightenment. Instead, convergence strives to engage the whole person in worship: mind, body, and senses.

Praise And Worship Model

Below is a praise service celebrated by the Zion Christian Reformed Church of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, in a worship conference dealing with the liturgical year from Advent through Pentecost. This particular service celebrated the theme of Epiphany. Since it is a creative form of worship, the praise-and-worship style will vary from community to community.

Seekers’ Service Model

The seeker services, on Saturday evenings at 5 and 7 and on Sunday mornings at 9 and 11:15, are meant to provide a safe place for unchurched visitors to hear the gospel in ways relevant to their lives. This is not primarily a worship service for Christians. A free-will offering, directed to members and believers, is taken at some point in the service, usually before the message.

The program for a weekend service is more detailed than that for "New Community" because seekers and visitors are more interested in seeing the order unfold. The following is an example of a service that took place at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois.

Believers’ Worship Model

Midweek services, called New Community, meet on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30. These gatherings are meant for believers, who may or may not be members of Willow Creek Church. The primary purpose of each service is to teach them deeper truths and lessons from the Bible and to worship God through various hymns and choruses. The model for a midweek service is very simple and yet highly effective. The example below is from Willow Creek Church.