Modern worship is ten years old. Well, unofficially so. Depends on how you look at it. After all, worship labels like Integrity, Maranatha, and Vineyard have been crafting music for the church for much longer. And by the early '90s, churches had generally embraced contemporary standards like Rick Founds' "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High," Graham Kendrick's "Shine Jesus Shine," and Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord."
Things changed dramatically beginning in 1998, however—call it the start of a modern worship renaissance. First there was the introduction of Delirious to the United States through their Cutting Edge collection. Then a fledgling college ministry called Passion released its first album in response to their first successful worship conference. Not long after that, Michael W. Smith coordinated a hit multi-artist worship project called Exodus, followed by the debut of an unknown band called Sonicflood made its debut. All the while, Hillsong Australia continued to set the pace with their recordings, and … well, you can read our sidebar list of the ten most influential worship albums of the last decade for the rest of the story.
Now that ten years have quickly passed, where does modern worship stand today? Many traditionalists believed modern worship was merely a fad that would quickly fade away. But many others—particularly teens and young adults at the time—embraced the music as a true application of Psalm 96:1: "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth."
Regardless of where you stand on the subject, my response is the same: Modern worship is going nowhere. And that answer can be interpreted two different ways, relating to its longevity and creativity.
Here to Stay
By now ...1