How Contemporary Worship Music Is Shaping Us—for Better or Worse

Feb 11, 2019 by

by Matt Merker, The Gospel Coalition:

It was roughly 50 years ago that young people started bringing their guitars to church. Converts from the hippie culture, known as Jesus People, strummed a chord that would echo around the world. Modern worship was born.

In the ensuing decades, the phenomenon known as “praise and worship music” or “contemporary worship music” has seen its share of developments. By no means a monolithic movement, it has nevertheless coalesced into a highly recognizable sound and ethos, as demonstrated by the numerous parodies that poke fun at its most predictable features. The dust has settled after the so-called “worship wars” of the 1980s and 90s, and it appears that contemporary worship has emerged victorious in many spheres of evangelical life.

Now that contemporary worship music has become not only a major feature of evangelical identity in North America but also a multimillion-dollar industry, it’s worth asking an often neglected question: How does contemporary worship music shape us?

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Read also: Can Hymns Be Saved from Extinction?


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