Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: My colleague Aaron Earls, while analyzing Hartford Seminary’s American Congregations 2015 study, points out that innovation in worship is declining today. Earls sums up how this impacts churches by stating, “While it may signal less conflict over worship changes, less innovation does make churches less likely to grow or be healthy, according to the American Congregations report.” Relevant and engaging worship is critical for the sake of church mission and so she needs to launch into innovative worship again. While writing the book “Inside the Organic Church: Learning from 12 Emerging Congregations” one major takeaway was that innovative worship kept younger churches not only growing, but their worship more joyful too. Read Earl’s article for good insights based on Hartford Seminary’s report.
Fewer Churches Changing Worship Style
by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, 3/31/16.
Most churches appear to have settled on their preferred worship style, according to the American Congregations 2015 study, as the growth of contemporary music in worship has “largely plateaued” and churches’ willingness to change worship has declined over the last five years…
These three points demonstrate the static nature of worship in American churches.
1. Most see their church worship as similar to five years ago. When asked to describe their services as joyful, reverent, or thought provoking, there were only slight variations in the last five years.
Those describing their worship as very joyful grew less than 1 percent, while those calling their worship reverent decreased by slightly more than 2 percent. The percentage saying it was thought provoking remained the same.
2. Contemporary worship has plateaued. To avoid a vague definition of contemporary worship, researchers began asking churches if they used electric guitars. After a relatively large jump in usage toward the beginning of the century, growth has stalled.
Churches using electric guitars climbed almost 10 percent from 2000 to 2005, but since then growth has been under 2 percent in the last 10 years.
3. Fewer churches describe their worship as innovative. Churches where worship is described as “quite or very innovative” declined from 38 percent to 32 percent.
While it may signal less conflict over worship changes, less innovation does make churches less likely to grow or be healthy, according to the American Congregations report…