Church Music Worship Styles

With billions of Christians across the world and hundreds of denominations there is certain to be variations in church worship styles. In this guide we shall look at some of the most common church worship styles.

Traditional Church Worship Style

Traditional church worship style speaks for itself – it is largely based on traditional methods of worship using classical hymns and choruses with no affiliation with contemporary Christian music.

Many people prefer the traditional church worship style, particularly Christians of the various Restorationism denominations such as the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

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Traditional church worship styles are based on traditions and beliefs that stretch back to the beginnings of Christianity which can make it seem more authentic to some. Traditional hymns can often have profound and meaningful histories that many Christians feel a greater connection to than much contemporary Christian worship styles.

Music played at traditional church services are typically based around classical hymns by composers such as Handel, Mozart and Bach. There is often an organ, choir and a piano to provide the music accompaniment.

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Contemporary Church Worship Style

In recent years contemporary church worship style has taken over from traditional styles as churches begin to realize the need to appeal more to a modern generation.

During contemporary church worship the songs sung may be in a contemporary Christian music style such as rock, pop, rap or country. Often they will have a Christian band using modern instruments such as drum kits and electric guitars.

The Christian message is not lost in the contemporary style however, it is just expressed in a more modern and aesthetically appealing way to some. Contemporary church worship services can be great fun and many are very lively and exciting with great music and a fun-loving atmosphere amongst the congregation.

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Contemporary Christian worship style also generally offers church members more leniency in service times and they are often at times much more convenient than traditional church services that are often very early in the morning.

While traditional church worship styles are very scripted and ritualistic, contemporary Christian worship styles are much more laid back and there is much more freedom for expression during the services.

Contemporary Christian worship services often have current popular songs as part of their hymn singing – particularly those that are currently in the Christian Billboards charts. This has helped keep the church alive among the younger generation.

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Liturgical Church Worship Style

The Liturgical Movement refers to a worship style that is unique among other Christian denominations. It is a style of worship that is built on the worship rite of the historic Christian liturgy.

A typical liturgical church service will include two parts: the Ordinary and the Proper.

The Ordinary refers to parts that stay the same every week during the service whereas the Proper are parts that change every Sunday following a theme. In essence, the Liturgical Church worship style emphasizes the Christian church year and its regular celebration of Holy Communion.

The Christian church year calendar sets the theme for each Sunday services Proper. Between late November and early December the calendar annually repeats the cycle of Jesus’ ministry and mission, the build up of him coming during Advent, his birth at Christmas and so on.

Essentially the Liturgical Movement strives to have their worship style reformed to how it was at the beginning of Christianity. They aim to reverse the changes and divisions that have occurred during the various reformations of the church.

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Blended Church Worship Style

Many churches these days are offering either a blended combination of worship styles in the one service or separate styles of service to suit their varied congregation.

An increasing number of churches are offering a range of church worship styles – usually traditional and contemporary styles so that their congregation can choose which style they would prefer rather than fully converting to one style and pushing members away.

Blended church worship styles try and make a balanced mix between contemporary and traditional by incorporating elements of both into the service. This is often a good way to bring members of all generations together in one congregation rather than separating the old and the young between contemporary and traditional worship style services.


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