Worship Styles

Worship Styles

The following table compares the various styles of worship, as seen by one who has never been to a true contemporary worship service (so my details are all second hand), who has been to thousands of traditional services, and maybe a couple hundred or so blended services.  Your definitions and experiences will definitely be different.

Contemporary Blended Traditional
Opening Informal Greeting, Announcements, Testimonials Pastoral Greeting, Scripture-based Call to Worship Formal Invocation; Routine
Confession/Absolution May or may not be used; might be included as a song Spoken; might vary week-to-week Spoken; routine, per the Hymnal
Liturgy Non-liturgical, no weekly routine, might contain drama, skits, art, dance, etc. Some routine, Musical – Praise Band Accompaniment, Creeds Formal, Routine, Creeds, Musical – Organ Accompaniment, per the Hymnal
Scripture Readings Based on the day’s theme; often uses Lay readers OT, Psalm, NT; might include Lay readers, Lectionary driven OT, Psalm, NT; Pastor only, Lectionary driven
Music All contemporary, Praise Sets; praise band ensemble Some hymns, some contemporary songs, hymns to new arrangements, organ & praise band, MIDI Hymns; organ, Chanted Psalm of the Day, the music serves the Word, Preludes & Postludes – usually classical pieces, SATB Choirs, hand bell choirs
Sermon Topical & Relevant; uses videos and graphic imagery Expository; might include PowerPoint charts Expository Preaching
Prayers Prayers by and for the people, Timely and Relevant Lord’s Prayer, Timely and Applicable Prayers written by the Pastor Formal, prewritten prayers per the Hymnal, Lord’s Prayer, Pastoral Prayers, Responsive Prayers
Closing Time for greeting each other Benediction, Sending Song, Announcements Benediction, Closing Hymn,Ushered Out
Atmosphere Lively, Informal, Participatory, Expressive, Emotional, Coffee & Couches, Seeker Sensitive, Trendy, Minimal Ceremony, Mega-Churches Respectful, Upbeat, Modern, Relevant, Visitor Friendly Routine, Orderly, Orthodox, Respectful, Liturgical, Reverent,Dignified, Cerebral, Safe, Structured
Key Passages (Physically Expressive Psalm Passages): 95:6-7, 149:3, 47:1, 63:4, 149:3, 134:2, 22:23, 16:9  also Ex 12:27, Job 1:20,  Ex 34:8, Php 2:10, 1 Cor 6:20, Eph 5:19, Rev 15:2, Neh 8:6, Rev 5:11-14, 1 Tim 2:8 Col 3:16, “Psalm 90’s”, OT Instrumental Worship: Nehemiah, Chronicles, etc. 1 Cor 14:40, Heb 12:28, Heb 13:7

Personally,  I do favor blended worship (actually leaning more towards traditional than contemporary).   It just seems to me that going overboard in either extreme direction can be troublesome.   That’s just a personal opinion that works for me and for my worship but yours may vary because our gracious God has lovingly made us all different.    I do pray that worship can be offered in spirit and truth across the board, across languages, across cultures, across lands, across time, using differing forms of technology and wherever two or more are gathered in His name.   May God be glorified in all styles and may His kingdom grow regardless of style.   What’s important to me is that biblical truths are adhered to, prayers are offered, Sacraments are faithfully administered, offerings are gathered, sins are being confessed, praise is being offered, God is given all the glory and His inerrant word is heard.   I do pray for those worshipping on the far right; faithfully watching doctrine and singing hymns; it just seems to me that we are struggling a bit.   Perhaps the tides will turn some time soon.   What once was old, often times becomes new again.


2 thoughts on “Worship Styles”

    1. Andra,

      Sorry, we don’t use much skits or drama in our church so I have no recommendations for you but if I see or hear of anything I will send it your way. God’s blessings on your ministry.



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