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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Worship more diverse

It's not exactly "the more things change, the more they stay the same," but a study does indicate increased diversity in worship styles and that traditional elements remain constant.

Facts & Trends magazine reports a significant increase in contemporary worship in Protestant churches in the past five years. Ellison Research, asked by the Southern Baptist Convention magazine to do the study, interviewed 659 pastors, including Lutherans.

Fifteen percent said worship had become much more contemporary, and 36 percent said it had become a little more contemporary. Five percent said their worship had become more traditional.

Among worship elements, the greatest increase was in using electronic tools such as PowerPoint (from 5 percent to 36 percent) or video clips (from 4 percent to 29 percent).

Still, the most popular, best-known elements remain: communion, traditional hymns, taking an offering, using hymnals and printed bulletins — all of which have increased.

One thing hasn't changed: sermon length — anywhere from eight minutes to two hours, with an average of 31 minutes. Pentecostal pastors average 40 minutes. Lutherans were shortest with a 20-minute average.


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