Google Stats Point to the Sunset of Contemporary Worship? by Pr. Rossow

We can only hope so! We have argued long and hard here on BJS that Contemporary Worship is an aberrant expression of the highly Romantic and anti-establishment character of the 60’s/70’s generation. Even the church growthers have acknowledged that a more reverent and spiritual worship form is needed with their creation of emergent worship (darkness, candles, chants, etc.) but thankfully that is passing too since it missed the true spirituality of the means of grace and was just another narcissistic substitute for ancient and historic liturgy.

Over on another post Rev. James Schulz posted the following interesting factoid from Google:

I’m hopeful that church growth worship forms and mentality will fade away as the boomer generation rides off into the retirement sunset. If Google is any indicator, perhaps interest in a return to ancient liturgical worship forms is on the rise. Yesterday AFP-Relax News reported that in the seven days prior to February 27, the word “lent” was the search term with the most significant growth for Google users:

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Google Stats Point to the Sunset of Contemporary Worship? by Pr. Rossow — 12 Comments

  1. One can only pray & hope. Per Pastor/President Harrison, WELS is still the caboose.
    Catch up is not a game anyone should endevor to play w/this!!

  2. A temporary upward trend in the search for “lent” is bound to appear every year around the beginning of this season. Naturally there is more interest relative to the weeks before. For the same week reported in the article, the fourth most-significant search term showing growth in interest was “nascar”. A more compelling case for a trend would be to compare this year with last year, and the year before that ….

  3. What is happening is not a loss of interest in contemporary worship, but a rediscovery of the Liturgical calendar amongst American Evangelicals. A.E.’s are learning that there is more to the year than blah, blah, blah, CHRISTMAS, Blah, blah, blah, EASTER, etc. And so, are naturally curious about the various seasons. What they are not necessarily is interested in is giving up their worship service.

    So don’t get your hopes up.

    But also, to be fair there are some who are looking to leave behind the trappings of C.W, but they are few in number.

  4. @revaggie #5
    In the October 6, 1997 edition of Christianity Today, Gary Burge – a former Lutheran and (current?) professor of New Testament at the interdenominational Wheaton College in Illinois – has this to say about the movement as it applies to worship:

    In reading my semester exams, I discovered that one particularly insightful student, Amy, wrote about worship: “I think that much of modern society has lost a sense of divine, holy space. This becomes obvious to me in our church architecture. The splendor and holiness of cathedrals which created the ultimate feeling of divine space has been replaced by gymnasiums and impermanent buildings…. Plastic cups and folding chairs aren’t enough.”

    What is going on? What deficit, what paucity of experience in their world is not being met? What drives this irony, this rejection of “liturgy” and this embrace of things that undergird every liturgy?

    In our zeal to be practical and relevant, perhaps we have missed something….somewhere the mystery of God has been lost….many worshipers come looking for more than fellowship, exposition, and exhortation. They seek an experience of “the holy.” They come looking for awe and reverence, mystery and transcendence.

    My students and colleagues are looking for worship that weds dignity and spontaneity, worship that is theologically informed and liturgically intentional. My students and friends are migrating to new spiritual homes. They are looking for…worship services that do not push them into the world merely to be better Christians, but services that become a divine refuge – a divine encounter that lifts their lives and souls to an entirely new plateau.

    That was in 1997. Did the movement stall?

  5. I direct music at an extremely culturally diverse LCMS congregation with a strong evangelical slant. I very often feel the pressure to conform to CCM trends. Personally, I’m not a nazi about all of it, but I do have a certain allergic reaction to much of it. As soon as something becomes a part of a trend, I experience an overwhelming compulsion to go the opposite direction. I guess I’m a terminal aesthetic contrarian, but I do have principles. I’m hoping that the cultural shift will make it more acceptable for me to use liturgical forms even if we’re not using the organ. Contemporary songs and instrumentation do NOT demand charismatic worship.

    I just feel like certain younger generations have been inculturated with the idea that if they worship forms don’t meet their fancy, they’re obligated to go somewhere else. Liturgical worship may be making a comeback, but I fear the LCMS youth will be the last ones to recognize it. Perhaps the best place to begin with building a bridge is to bring people to understand that worship isn’t a genre of music. If they can see the entire Divine Service as worship, they might be more inclined to yearn for substance over style. Here’s hoping!

  6. In regard to your title, we can pray, but almost everything is against its demise, including 10 Concordias, from all I have been able to ascertain. (Certainly the nearest one is antagonistic to historic Lutheran worship!)

  7. John Standley, #8 YES, YES, YES!! My favorite book. “With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven….” Yes!

  8. I work at/attend a church with contemporary worship. I googled Lent at least a dozen times in the week prior to Ash Wednesday. None of it was in an attempt to change the way we do worship, nor did I learn anything while googling that would change my mind about contemporary worship or the way we celebrate the Lenten season in our church. Just looking for creative elements, stories to share and historical insight.

  9. @Miguel #7

    I am so glad you have entered our fold. Please keep up the good fight. I will pray for your efforts to teach and encourage liturgical worship.

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