Current Issues in Worship – WRSP 540

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A study of the current trends and issues related to contemporary worship. Consideration is given to various worship models, worship evangelism, cross-cultural issues, and church worship in transition.




Worship is at the heart of everything Christians are and do. Obedience to Christ as a believer is in direct proportion to one’s concept of God and theology of worship. Ministry endeavors are either vain or done with halfhearted intent without genuine worship, preaching without worship, music without worship, education without worship, evangelism without worship, and missions without worship. Over the years dynamic influences on culture and ecclesiastical organizations have shaped the worship practices in the Evangelical Community. Obviously some influences are positive and some cause reason for concern. The worship leader needs to thoroughly understand the strengths and weaknesses of these influences as compared to a Biblical Worship Model that includes: Functional Worship, Transformational Worship, Relational Worship, Missional Worship, and Reproducible Worship.

Additionally, evangelical congregations often experience conflict related to their worship that may be traced to issues surrounding leadership deficiencies, lifestyle or cultural norms, misunderstanding or abuse of worship theology, a lack of people skills, or misinformation related to any number of dynamic influences on worship. By presenting the Biblical Worship Model as the standard for evaluating influences on worship, this course becomes both preventive as well as prescriptive. This course offers practical application for dealing with transitions in worship, broadening one’s understanding of various worship styles, and the integration of old and new worship into the mission of the local church.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate and construct a Biblical Worship Model that includes Formational Worship, Transformational Worship, Relational Worship, Missional Worship, and Reproducible Worship.
  2. Identify the historical and contemporary models of worship and their contribution to the 21st century evangelical movement.
  3. Identify the major influences on worship in the 21st century evangelical movement.
  4. Compare various organizational paradigms for worship ministry and their application to the evangelical community.
  5. Articulate the contribution of the Christian Music Publishing industry on worship ministry in the 21st century.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will then complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (8)

The student will participate in 8 Discussion Board forums. Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will post a thread of 350 words in 3 paragraphs. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 100 words in 1 paragraph.

Opinion Journal (8)

The student will reflect on assigned readings from the books by Kimball and McNeal. Reflections will be written in the form of journal entries and submitted to the instructor via the Journal tool in the course. Each reading reflection will be composed of 3 sections containing about 100 words each: 1) a summary of the content, 2) the student’s reaction to the reading and analysis of it, and 3) content application toward the student’s local ministry.

Pinson Book Critique

A book critique is a summary/evaluation of the book involved. The Pinson Book Critique must be 5–7 pages, double-spaced. This is a formal paper and must follow current Turabian guidelines. The Pinson Book Critique must include a biographical entry, author information, content summary, and an evaluation.

Research Paper

This 12–15-page research paper, in current Turabian style, provides opportunity for the student to clearly articulate ways the issues discussed in this course can be turned into ministry opportunities. It involves reviewing an assigned ministry website and answering provided questions about it. Paper must include at least 20 scholarly sources.

Capstone Project

This capstone project will serve as the final exam for the course. The student must complete a 2-part project.

Part One: Discovery and Evaluation

This is a 10–12-page evaluation of the seven influences discussed over the duration of this course. Based on the materials and information gathered from the Reading & Study material and personal research, the student will provide evidence of the strengths and weaknesses of each influence on evangelical worship as they relate to: 1) changes in culture, 2) music, 3) technology and media, 4) worship presentation, and 5) approach to preaching. The student must thoroughly document (footnotes and bibliography) his or her observations following the guidelines of current Turabian writing style as required by the Seminary. At least 20 references in current Turabian format must be included.

Part Two

Using the materials and observations from Part One of this project, the student will prepare a 15-minute, 12–15-slide PowerPoint presentation explaining how the seven areas of influence studied during this course relate to the Biblical Worship Model: Formational Worship, Transformational Worship, Relational Worship, Missional Worship, and Reproducible Worship. The student will provide a written narrative or script for use with a public demonstration of the PowerPoint presentation. A PowerPoint template to be used with the project is provided in the course.