Three distinct paradigms have been evident for Sunday morning services in the past 30 years. These designs are not about style of music or teaching. I am not referring to whether the hour is traditional or contemporary, boomer or postmodern, free flowing or liturgical. These paradigms pertain to how integrated the arts portion of the service is with the teaching or sermon portion. To understand the differences, consider Sunday morning a meal we prepare and serve to the congregation, longing for God's Spirit to use it to transform human lives.
An a la carte meal
The church of my youth was an a la carte experience. If the sermon can be described as the main course, whatever preceded it was a random selection of menu items. The congregation sampled one distinct taste after another, without any intentional connection between them. I doubt whether the worship leaders who prepared songs, solos, segues, and readings had even communicated with one another. Rather, individual cooks each whipped up ...1