WHERE CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP BEGAN

This week I am going to interview Pastor Jack Hayford in his home on the topic of worship. He has such a revelation of the subject. He was in those early conferences and meetings were we spoke of a better way of leading worship that resulted in what is called today contemporary worship.

It is hard for some leaders to understand how I and my colleagues could be pioneers of contemporary worship. I can see the wheels turning in their minds. "You weren't on a major label! Your name isn't a household name. You are not a prominent songwriter. Where do you fit in the who's who of worship?" Pioneers don't get much credit. Pioneers don't get much credit.

They are the unseen and uncelebrated trail blazers who forge out of forest and rock a trail that others can easily travel. Those that can't figure the connection have a skewed perspective of what worship is.

It's Not The Music

Despite all the teaching that worship is not about music, most worship ministries and church leaders still believe it is. That is why they filter "contemporary worship" through a music paradigm. Because to them contemporary worship is a style of music. However contemporary worship is the way we worship today which is more Biblical and more expressive.

The worship reformation that began in the late 70's through the 80's was not a musical reformation it was a theological reformation. The concept of praise and worship was reformed into a more Biblical model. The Biblical concepts of...

  1. Singing praise (tehillah) is the entrance into the royal courts of God. (Ps 100:4)

  2. God's people come into His presence with singing (Ps 100:2)

  3. God reveals Himself and takes up residence in the praises (tehillah) of His people (Ps 22:3)

Worship Reformation

It is always the Biblical truths that bring a reformation not new sounds and styles in music. New songs and sounds are a result of a revelation or visitation of the Holy Spirit, however the initial impartation and revelation is a theological one.

In the 70's we were called song leaders because we led songs in praise to God. Singing of praise songs was believed to be the precursor to the preaching of God's Word. Praise and worship was not the main event. We learned in those days that inviting God's presence into our midst was the whole purpose of the Christian gathering. The presence of God among His people during worship brought a greater impartation of the Word of God.

We discovered, through starting, hosting and attending the first worship events in Church history, that singing was not only to be done in proclamations of praise (horizontal) but from the heart to God (vertical). As a result of the Biblical revelation to make melody in your heart TO God we wrote and sang songs TO God for the first time. Until then most of the songs were horizontal.

By no means do I credit myself as a prominent pioneer of the worship reformation. However, I was part of the theological reformation that brought about the change, and as the first full-time itinerant worship ministry heralded that change which resulted in what is known today as contemporary worship. We created the first worship seminars and worship conferences that helped bring the message of a better way to worship to mainstream Chrisitanity.

I salute and honor all the pioneers that forged the way for today's worship leaders, artists and churches. Do you know some of those in the 70's that preached, taught and modeled worship? I'd like to honor and acknowledge them as well. Write me LaMar@LaMarBoschman.com

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