Worship in 1997 was experiencing the beginning phases of the contemporary worship movement. People were singing “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” by Petra and Songs from the Loft by Amy Grant. The movement was taking shape but still undefined.
Regardless of the form of contemporary worship, everything was moving to be more experiential. Gone were the days of observational, sit-back and watch worship, a new more active, highly participative generation was seeking to think, feel, and do worship together.
Video was being introduced. Projection screens were being put in. Choirs were being replaced by small praise teams and electronic Roland drums sets were being bought. A shift was taking place in 1997.
Twelve years later, corporate worship shifts are still in rapid progress. From multivenue sites to podcasting, the use of technology has made worship and preaching more accessible to the masses. Many forms of artistic expression are finding their ways back into the church, and not just puppets and creative movement as in 1997. Painting, sculpture, graphic design, stage craft, theatrical elements of drama, dance, and lighting. While the experience is important to the worshipper so is beautiful and creativity.
Preaching has also experienced a huge shift in 12 years. Revivalistic preaching (i.e., taking one verse and then bringing the hellfire) is not longer acceptable in most churches. Expository preaching is now en vogue. Taking a text and explaining the author’s meaning with added illustration and application is the style people want. They want to learn what the Bible says and means, not just how to get saved.
In 2009, preaching is making another shift with the advances of technology. Pastors have the ability to preach all week with twitter, facebook, blogs, podcasts, and streaming video. Technology has enable biblical communication to flourish, which may mean the Sunday morning sermon is no longer be the primary venue of pastoral teaching.
Worship is different in 2009. But worship is NOT the purpose of the church that has changed the most in 12 years. That is still to come.
PDC Revisited: Discipleship is next.