What is Emerging Worship?
Emerging worship is not focused on human perceptions, needs, feelings, and desires, however they do not deny the importance of them. Emerging worship focuses on engaging the worshiper primarily with who Christ is and his continuing works. (Exploring the Worship Spectrum, pg. 223)
Emerging worship is not as focused on creating the perfect atmosphere for an emotional reaction to worship. They are focused on who God is and connecting the worshiper to that rather than them seeking what they need. These types of worship services can combine traditional, blended and contemporary styles to create one worship service.
HISTORY OF EMERGING WORSHIP
Emerging worship has been changing the worship scene as early as the 1970s. It begins coming around during the Jesus movement.
However, the current form we see most often today has been around for only about 10 years. Gaining most of the attention starting in the 1990s.
Emerging worship style started as a spiritual protest, people looking for a solution the church in a crisis. People were searching for a change of worship, connection, and substance in their worship experiences.
CURRENT USES OF EMERGING WORSHIP
"The core of the emerging church “sensibility,” we might say, is a deep affirmation of the Incarnation and a desire to translate that into our understanding of the church’s ministry, worship, and discipleship." -The Emerging Church: A Guide for the Perplexed, Jamie Smith
Emerging worship is focused trying to get back to what we think worship used to be. In this article by Jamie Smith, they also point out that churches who are using Emerging worship styles are more focused on "significant recovery of more Eucharistic worship, a renewed appreciation of the liturgical arts, and intentional focus on worship practices that form us as disciples of Christ."
PROS AND CONS OF EMERGING WORSHIP
Emerging worship has grown from a disillusionment of the traditional worship setting. At its heart, it is reactionary. This does not mean that it is inherently wrong, but, like any system, it comes with a list of positive and negatives.
- The desire of Emerging worship is to reach a group of people that the traditional church has historically failed to reach.
- The Emerging movement is, in part, a reaction to the “mega-church” movement. Therefore, Emerging worship stresses the importance of relationships and individuality
- Emerging worship seeks to realign the heart of the worshiper to God
- It seeks to recapture the creativity of Christianity
- It pushes past the formality of traditionalism and emphasizes authenticity
- Emerging worship can be faddish.
- Emerging worship can deemphasize structure and theological standards. If fact, several leaders of the “Emergent” Church movement has denied historical theological beliefs, i.e. Rob Bell
- Biblically, worship is not primarily about the individual, especially concerning his or her likes and dislikes
- The emphasis on creating a worship style that is pleasing to those outside the church can be dangerous and generally unhelpful for those inside the church
- By making worship so specific, one creates a homogenized church that can only be effective to a select group of people
Although, Emerging worship brings some much-needed critiques against traditional worship, it also brings with it several of its own problems. Those who choose emerging worship as their preferred form of worship must ask themselves if the benefits are worth the negatives.