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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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‘A New Liturgy’

This column lifts up trends in worship beyond regular “Lutheran” circles

There is a fascinating trend in evangelical circles — a rediscovery of liturgy. It began with efforts to bring interactivity and multisensory into worship that had become largely passive and performance oriented. A rediscovery of liturgy has led evangelical worship leaders to explore the deep traditions of worship beyond North American contemporary expressions.

A leader in this is Aaron Niequist, a worship leader at Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, Ill., one of the best-known evangelical megachurches. While serving as worship pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., he became restless and bored with the typical four rock songs and a sermon pattern that had come to dominate evangelical/contemporary worship.

Niequist began to explore adding other elements to worship: multiple Scripture readings; reworkings of classic hymns; call and response songs. He said they were making it up as they went but soon discovered that Christians have been doing these “new” things in worship for centuries. So he began a journey to understand and present liturgy for 21st century worshipers.


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