Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

“Vital Contextual Worship”: Ditch “contemporary” vs. “traditional” terms!

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communion cross pictureI often hear ministerial staff fuss at their church members for not accepting other worship styles. I’ve probably been guilty of fussing like that myself. (Unfortunately, this often occurs when the staff wants to force their favorite style on the congregation and the members are not open to that change.)

Can Christians ever grow up spiritually to the point where they will be able to connect with God in a different heart language? In other words, can spiritual maturity override cultural context? The truth is that we will always connect to God best in our own heart language. It’s how God wired us. Yet as we are transformed in Christ to think more sacrificially, we should become more open to other cultures and their unique styles. Across two or three generations, cultural openness that grows from spiritual maturity will allow similar cultures to become unified as one.

Vital Contextual Worship is a term I use to avoid using the stylistic signifiers such as “contemporary” or “traditional” as our target. Vital Contextual Worship aims at worship that transcends style:

  1. Vital: alive, dynamic, and flowing with energy.
  2. Contextual: accurately reflects the cultural context of your community of believers to powerfully connect them with God and ignite them to discipleship and mission.
  3. Worship: focused primarily on God’s “worth-ship” by glorifying him and calling us to live as his children 24/7.

Vital Contextual Worship gives me a term that encompasses the concepts discussed throughout this book. I hope you will find the term useful as a goal in your worship ministry.

IT’S FEEDBACK TIME! Do you have a good word or phrase to describe what our worship should be other than “contemporary” or “traditional”? Post it in the comments section so we can all see it.  Thanks!  — Mark Powers



Author: Mark Powers

Worship Pastor, Riverland Hills Baptist Church, Columbia SC - April 1, 2018 to present Former Director, Worship and Music, South Carolina Baptist Convention, Columbia SC: 2008 - 2018 Author - "GOING FULL CIRCLE: Worship that Moves Us to Discipleship and Missions" - www.GoingFullCircle.org (Resource Publications, Wipf & Stock, Eugene OR, 2013) President, www.WorshipWise.com - Empowering YOU for Powerful Worship Leading! Presenter/Speaker on the MusicArts Mission Movement (M3). To contact MP about presenting or speaking for your conference or training event, e-mail mark@riverlandhills.org or call 803-640-9037. I would love to come and share how your worship ministries can join God on mission in your community!

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