Blended Worship Is Often Mixed-Up

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blenderBLENDTo combine or associate so that the separate constituents or line of demarcation cannot be recognized; to mix so that the parts are indistinguishable from one another.

Some churches decide to embrace blended worship in an attempt to engage multi-generations or minimize the exodus of younger church members to congregations with more lively music. The end result is often a watered down musical expression reminiscent of the ‘80’s pop style of Air Supply. An attempt to accommodate everyone tends to soften the edges of all genres resulting in a generic worship offering that rarely engages anyone.

If your desire for worship relevance has created worship that is a bland mixture of elements no longer resembling what they started out as…Just stop it! If, however, you plan and lead worship that respects history and tradition while considering worship styles formed by present and future cultures, then you are leading what Robert Webber called Convergence Worship.

Convergence begins with a willingness to reopen all discussions related to worship. Multiple worship genres, styles, historical perspectives, traditions and liturgies are all considered as a part of the conversation. Webber explained it this way, “Convergence worship is an alternative worship that is concerned for order and freedom, the historical and the contemporary, the verbal and the symbolic.[1]

He outlined the following characteristics of Convergence Worship:

  • Worship is constantly in the process of reform.
  • The entire worshiping community has much to teach us.
  • The past has much to contribute to the present.
  • Convergence is committed to a broad range of musical content and styles.
  • It is committed to a recovery of the arts in worship.
  • It affirms the verbal and symbolic Word.
  • Convergence is comfortable with both rational and mystical worship.
  • It is personal and corporate. God meets the church but he also meets me.
  • It is both giving and receiving.
  • Convergence worship is also both comforting and disturbing.
  • It discourages passive and encourages participative worship.[2]

Instead of believing true worship began and will end with my generation we must be reminded that worship is portrayed in the scripture as being cumulative. We seem to have forgotten that “earlier centuries of Christians faced equally shocking and shaking developments. We forget the innovative and sometimes heroic ways they adapted and often flourished.”[3] Ultimately, considering worship convergence helps us understand worship is not created, but instead discovered and recreated.[4]

Worship renewal that converges rather than blends relies on the biblical, theological and historical content of worship rather than its style and service mechanics alone. It moves from a simple formula of genericizing musical genres to unifying them while keeping the purity of their original intent. And it deliberately and methodically intersects worship of the past with worship of the present, leading us to worship together in the future.


[1] Robert E. Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship Vol. 3, “The Renewal of Sunday Worship”  (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993), 122.

[2] Ibid., 124.

[3] Timothy L. Carson, Transforming Worship (St. Louis: Chalice, 2003), 1.

[4] Brad Berglund, Reinventing Sunday:  Breakthrough Ideas for Transforming Worship (Valley Forge: Judson, 2001), xvii.

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3 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Blended Worship Vs Congervence Worship | Worship Links on 13.01.14 at 11:13 am

    [...] post from David Manner about the differences between blended worship and convergence worship. The biggest differences ultimately filter down from our initial motivations and thoughts about [...]

  2. Posted by Wednesday Link List | Thinking Out Loud on 13.01.14 at 11:13 am

    [...] I’ve always thought I was a fan of blended worship, but in fact, the thing I prefer is more rightly called Convergence Worship. [...]

  3. Posted by Blended Worship Is Often Mixed-Up | Apples 'n stuff on 13.01.14 at 11:13 am

    [...] Blended Worship Is Often Mixed-Up. [...]

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