Beyond the Worship Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship

by Thomas G. Long. The Alban Institute, 2001.

While vital worship must remain true to authentic Christian witness, it must also respond creatively to the changing culture of the 21st century. Worship happens when people awaken to the presence of God; it is about awe and adoration, not strategy. 'Beyond the Worship Wars' therefore urges congregations not to depend upon market research to determine worship content and style. The book explores characteristics that author Thomas Long finds essential to vital worship, and covers such topics as mystery, hospitality, drama, music, worship space, mission, order of service, and festival experience. He emphasizes the critical roles of the pastor and lay leaders in developing vital worship. Long stresses that, even when the staff and congregation have “done everything right,” some conflict will be inevitable; it would be naive not to be prepared for it. Congregations will find this book helpful in creating a vision of vital worship and in avoiding pitfalls that can cause trouble during the change process.