Historical Developments of Christian Worship – WRSP 801

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

A study of the historical and cultural influences on Christian Worship from Old and New Testament practice, and a survey of the development of Christian worship from the Patristic era through modern worship practice. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of worship order (i.e. liturgy) and corporate worship practices.


For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Over the centuries, various biblical, local church, and cultural shifts have influenced worship in the evangelical community. As worship leaders examine their own calling and purposes in teaching and leading worship, it becomes increasingly important that they demonstrate an understanding of the biblical origins and history of Judeo-Christian worship. Those who plan and lead worship for today’s congregations must take great care to ensure their presentations are theologically sound and honor Christ. This course is designed to enhance and encourage the student’s knowledge of the dynamic theological, historical, and cultural influences on the paradigms of twenty-first-century corporate worship.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Examine the ancient practices, OT and NT function, and early church influences on worship.
  2. Synthesize the historical influences of the Reformation on various worship liturgies within the evangelical tradition.
  3. Evaluate the contextual realities of the Great Awakenings to twenty-first-century worship.
  4. Analyze the historical trends in worship theology, philosophy, and methodology.
  5. Construct a curriculum based on pedagogical norms for teaching corporate worship.
  6. Investigate the influence of pragmatic ideologies on twenty-first-century evangelical worship.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

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

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 600 words, reference at least 1 Reading & Study video presentation, and include at least 2 citations. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 300 words and include at least 1 citation. Each thread and reply must also contain at least 1 biblical reference and follow current Turabian format.

4-MAT Book Review

The student will write a 1,300–1,800-word review of the assigned textbook in current Turabian format. In addition to the textbook, the review must contain at least 1 other scholarly reference and 1 biblical reference.

Book Reviews (3)

For each Book Review, the student will write a 5–7-page review of the assigned textbook in current Turabian format. In addition to the textbook, each review must contain at least 1 other scholarly reference and 1 biblical reference.

Pedagogy Project

The student will develop an 8-week residential course (8 modules) that is designed to be taught in a college setting. The topics of the course will be “Developing a Theology of Worship,” “Historical Developments of Worship,” and “Worship in the Early Church.” Only 1 of the 3 topics is to be selected. For this project, the student will develop the syllabus, module overviews and outcomes, lectures, and a PowerPoint presentation to accompany each lecture.


In preparation for the final submission of the Pedagogy Project, the student will provide a bibliography with at least 15 scholarly sources. The bibliography must include a brief description of at least 50 words for each resource and follow current Turabian format.


The student will submit the materials for his or her 8-week course. The syllabus must include a basic course description, 4–7 course objectives, bibliographic information for 6–8 relevant textbooks, and general assignment instructions. Each module must include an overview of at least 50 words, at least 2 outcomes, a lecture, and a PowerPoint presentation supporting the lecture. Each lecture must be 3–5 pages, reference at least 3 scholarly sources, and follow current Turabian format. Each PowerPoint presentation must contain at least 5 slides.

Research Project

The student will write a 12–15-page research paper about significant preacher-music leader teams throughout the history of revivalism in the United States. The paper must follow current Turabian format and cite at least 12 scholarly sources. The page count does not include the title page, table of contents, bibliography, or appendices.