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Discovering and Escaping Liturgy

Worship trends among the young are more complicated than you realize.

For years I served on the staff of a megachurch with a very contemporary style of worship. We had a state-of-the-art sound system, large video projection screens, pop-rock music, and a sophisticated lighting system. The worship services were programmed to the minute: predetermined transitions, upbeat intro songs, announcements backed with PowerPoint slides, sermons crafted with felt-need application points, and abundant video clips.

The church was growing as several thousand people connected with the presentations each week. But at the same time the church was thriving with one generation, I began to notice that younger adults were not engaging as well as their parents. So I began listening to these young people to discover why they were not resonating with this way of doing church.

I repeatedly heard that they were longing for something less "programmed." At the same time, I began hearing questions about "liturgy," a word I'd never heard before. I was not raised in the church, and my only ...

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