Blended Worship Guidelines

Proclaiming the Gospel Message
through a contemporary style of music


“Blended Worship that works” by Prof. James Tiefel 


What is Blended Worship?


A mission statement for Blended Worship
using contemporary music


Guidelines from Christian Worship Supplement
Hymn Sampler CD

from “Christian Worship Supplement Hymn Sampler CD”
I see the writing of hymn texts as only another form — rhyming, rhythmic, more compact — of the proclamation of the Gospel. Hymns are the church’s sung testimony to God’s mighty acts of grace and judgment toward us and our world, attested in Scripture and attaining their fullest expression in Jesus Christ.
Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr., “The Word Goes Forth” p. 4-5; GIA 1993

God is praised when the gospel is rightly proclaimed; and, conversely, the proclamation of the gospel is the way that God is rightly praised. There is no artificial division between songs that “proclaim” and others that “praise”: unless “praise songs” proclaim the good news of the gospel, they are not, in any Christian sense, praise songs at all.
Carl Schalk “Hymnody and the Proclamation of the Gospel,” in Not Unto Us: A Celebration of the Ministry of Kurt J. Eggert, p. 138. NPH 2001

…All the Church’s great composers have understood the proclamatory nature of their art, that through it the eternal sound of God’s grace focused in Jesus Christ is made known and shared with his redeemed people.
Robin Leaver “The Theological Character of Music in Worship” p. 11. CPH 1989


Guidelines from “It’s About Substance”
by Pastor Johnold Strey

When it comes to the music and song texts of worship, discussions often veer away from the main point we should consider. Repetition of texts may or may not be an issue. Musical style may or may not be an issue. But substance should always be the issue. We have one hour each week to nurture the faith of the majority of our members. We don’t have time for ambiguity. Let’s use that hour wisely and give our people the gospel richly — in Scripture, sermons, sacraments, and even in song!
from “It’s About Substance” by Johnold Strey

Guidelines from “A Simplified Guide to Worshiping as Lutherans” by Pastor James Waddell

Regarding worship, what matters most according to the Lutheran point of view are the Gospel preached in its truth and purity and the sacraments given according to Scripture. (page 22)

What is the purity of the Gospel? The Gospel is this and only this, that our merciful God gave his Son to be born as a human being, to be crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. The Gospel is that Jesus suffered, shed his blood for us, and died on the cross, to redeem us lost and condemned creatures, and that in the flesh he rose alive from the grave on the third day to give us the promise and hope of the resurrection to eternal life. … The Gospel is this and only this, that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them,” period. (2 Corinthians 5:19)     (pages 24-25)

This is the essence of Lutheran worship —
Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins.      (page 93)

other Gospel Bible passages:

“Worship Songs Evaluation Form” by Pastor James Waddell





Starting a Blended Worship Service

by John Kehl


1. Determine WHY we want a Blended Worship service.
What are our goals and what are our reasons for wanting Blended Worship?
see “Why Blended Worship?”

2. Pray for wisdom and the Lord’s guidance. Study articles and books about Lutheran worship and WELS blended worship. Talk to other WELS churches that have blended worship for their help and ideas.
see “Blended Worship articles”
see “What is Blended Worship?”
a mission statement for blended worship with CW hymns and liturgy
a mission statement for blended worship with contemporary songs

3. You will need a worship leader who is passionate about sharing God’s Word and the Gospel through good contemporary Christian music in a blended worship service. This person will become the driving force behind your blended service initiatives and will need to work closely with the Pastor. This person needs to be solid in their faith, have a heart for God and leadership qualities.
see “Pastor – meet the Worship Leader”

4. You will need a piano/keyboard and singers that are miked to lead the congregation. (you can also add acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums, flute)
see “Thinking about joining a contemporary praise band?”

5. You will need a good sound technician to make sure the gain and the mix is good and the volume is loud enough to lead, but not too loud. Have a soundcheck before each service. (It might be good to designate 1 or 2 musical people in the congregation to give feedback weekly on the mix and volume.)
see “Sound mix survey”

6. It is good to get a good sound system for the church that the singers’ mikes, piano/keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, and electronic drums can plug into AND someone who can adjust the soundboard gain, mix and volume properly.
(monitors for the singers and the instruments (guitars) are also very helpful)
see “Sound Check instructions”
see “Church sound system information”

7. It is good to practice once a week, especially for the instrumentalists.
Try to have the music to the instrumentalists a week before the service in order to give them enough time to practice.

8a. Get a good repertoire of good, solid Contemporary Lutheran Worship songs.
see CCM Songlists.

8b. Work with the pastor to find good songs that proclaim the law/gospel and fit the theme of the church service.
see “Worship Songs evaluation form” by Pastor James Waddell
see CCM songs criteria

8c. For modern language for the parts of the liturgy,
see Blended Worship liturgy

8d. For alternate liturgy responses, see CW 262-278 or CW Supplement or download CCM liturgy responses from “MY SHARED FILES” widget on the right side of this website.

9. Try a sample service. Keep it simple at first. Do a traditional service with all of the usual worship elements, including church organ. The only difference is the substitution of 1 or 2 good contemporary songs in place of some of the hymns (using the church band: miked singers, keyboard, guitar).

10. Decide whether you want the blended worship service once a month or twice a month or once a week.
Decide whether you want the blended worship service as part of the regular service (once a month) or instead of the late service (every week) or at a different time or a different day than the regular services.

11. You can introduce new songs to the congregation by playing them during the preservice and the offering in the 2-4 weeks before using them in the church service. We used to use “next month’s” new songs as pre-service for “this month’s” blended service. The first time that you use the song in church, you could have the church band sing the first verse alone or have the church band sing the verses and the congregation sing the refrain.

12. You will need to print the words of the songs in the bulletin
or project them on the screen.
see for copyright permission on many CCM songs;
see for other publishers

13. Consider a $5000 Kawai CP137 concert digital piano
with over 900 sounds and 160 registrations
or consider a $5600 Yamaha Clavinova CVP-405 digital piano
with alternate choices of $7500 CVP-407 or $4500 CVP-403

(a) inexpensive (b) takes up little space (c) easy to move / portable
(e) always in tune, not need continual piano tuning (it makes it very difficult for guitars when the piano is out of tune)
(f) can plug into sound system directly instead of miking an upright/grand piano
(g) same touch as an upright/grand piano with Kawai AWA PRO keyboard action with long wooden keys like the Kawai grand piano
(h) same sound as piano but with many variations (and the piano’s tone can be adjusted on soundboard or edited on keyboard)
(i) Kawai has and can combine piano, pipe organ (30+kinds), harpsichord, guitar, flute, strings, brass, and all the sounds of the orchestra (900 sounds)
(combine up to 3 sounds at once L,R1,R2= 900x900x900=over 700 million possibilities and save your favorite registrations)
(j) Kawai has top note solo feature; octave higher feature; transposing; solo,R1,R2,L feature and many other features,
can actually have 1 person play the bottom half with one sound and someone on top half with a different sound
can actually have the top half above middle “C” be like the “Great” and below middle “C” like the “Swell” on a pipe organ
(k) can record and edit songs and play them for preservice (or home practice) and save them on a CD or USB flashcard
(l) can use piano sound for CCM songs and organ sound for hymns

14.  Digital piano/keyboard recommendations

15. Powerpoint pictures 

16. Music Videos / mini Movies

17. Children’s Sermons

18. Starting a Blended Worship Service by Pastor Rob Raasch





Some Benefits of Blended Worship

1. It can get more musicians involved in the service and praising God with their God-given talents.

2. Some CCM songs have good words and refrains that can stick in a person’s mind through the day and week. Some CCM songs use simple language that makes it easier to comprehend some profound truth. Some CCM songs can say a truth in a fresh, insightful way.

3. Sing a new song to the Lord. Same message in a different style. Eph 5:19,20; Col 3:16, Ps 150, Ps 144:9, Isaiah 38:20

4. Some people may enjoy this style of music over the traditional style — variety, a change of pace.

5. Some of this CCM music is easy to listen to at home on CD or iTunes for more encouragement and edification throughout the day or night.

see The case for Blended Worship by Steve Brown
see traditional and contemporary worship music: strengths and weaknesses
see difficult hymns

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19,20)

Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Psalm 33:1-3 (NIV)

I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, (Psalm 144:9)

The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD. (Isaiah 38:20)



Extra work involved with Blended Worship:

1. need to get the right sound amps or sound system and cords and instruments and mikes to lead the congregation.

2. need to find a repertoire of good Contemporary Lutheran Worship songs (CCM songs that reflect Lutheran doctrine and Gospel proclamation).

3. need to select good CCM songs to fit each church service and church service theme.

4. need to print the song lyrics in the bulletin or on the powerpoint screen.

5. need to get songs to the musicians at least 1 week in advance so that they can practice them.

6. need to practice with the singers and church band each week, to get the songs down well.

7. need to get to church early to get the mikes and instruments plugged into the sound system properly and do a soundcheck to see if the volume and mix sounds good for the congregation.

8. need to get a good sound man to operate the soundboard and make sure the volume and mix is good.




Some cautions/dangers in some CCM songs:

1. CCM can become entertainment, instead of ministry and edification, worship and gospel proclamation.

2. Sometimes CCM songs are picked because of how catchy or upbeat or popular a song is, instead of being picked by its content.

3. Sometimes songs with catchy tunes but shallow content are picked over CCM songs with good solid words and message.

4. Some CCM songs are shallow. Most CCM songs are “praise” songs.

5. Some CCM songs reflect a Charismatic theology that emphasizes emotional experience, subjective feelings, and a desire to get an emotional high to get into the “presence of God”.

6. Some CCM songs reflect a Reformed theology that confuses and commingles Law and Gospel, justification and sanctification or whose main focus is sanctification and commitment.

7. Many CCM songs are the products of the Charismatic movement and are an integral part of that movement. They express charismatic theology and teaching and promote charismatic experiences.
see Dangers in some CCM songs

8. Examples of Pentecostal teaching in some CCM songs:
a. All praise and no content in order to reach an emotional high to “get closer to God” and “into His presence”.
b. Salvation based on a feeling, being filled with the Holy Ghost, instead of being based on Christ’s death on the cross.
c. Code words: Jesus in my heart, “In love” with God,
d. Focus on me and my feelings and what I do, instead of focus on God and what He did for me (divine service).
e. CCM has become a business, many of the CCM companies are now owned by secular companies whose main goal may be to make money. Many of the CCM rock stars main goal may be to make the next hit, to make it in the top 40 hits, so the emphasis might be to have a general message and appeal to all denominations and beliefs.
see Pastor Klemet Preus articles on contemporary/blended worship

9. Examples of Reformed teaching in some CCM songs:
a. Songs emphasize sanctification and omit the gospel.
b. Commingle justification and sanctification, law and gospel.
c. Code words: irresistible grace, TULIP, my decision for Christ, Jesus in my heart
d. Lordship Salvation: “Jesus as my sovereign Lord and Master seems to trump Jesus as my Redeemer and Savior from sin, death, and hell.”
see “Some Differences between Lutheran and Reformed (1)”
see “Some Differences between Lutheran and Reformed (2)”

10. Examples of Catholic teaching in some CCM songs:
a. Focus on the virgin Mary and the saints.
b. Good works needed for salvation.
c. Code words: mass,

11. Examples of Pietism teaching in some CCM songs:
a. Pietists sang about feelings. Rationalists sang about morality.
b. Hymns about how we love Jesus, instead of how much Jesus loves us and the proclamation of the gospel and what Christ has done for us and the objective truths of God’s Word.
see “The Formation and Function of WELS hymnals” by Jon Zabell
see “Pietism: Past and Present” by John Brenner
see Pastor Klemet Preus articles on contemporary/blended worship







WELS Blended Worship vs Contemporary Worship chart

“Biblical Content in Worship” by Grace Hennig

Starting a Blended Worship Service by Pastor Rob Raasch

Starting a Blended Worship Service by Steve Brown

Lutheran theology of worship and music

Thinking about joining a contemporary praise band?

Some differences between Lutheran and Reformed (1)

Some differences between Lutheran and Reformed (2)

The Reformed interpretation of Scripture

The Case for Blended Worship

Blended Worship Liturgy

Each song must be individually evaluated

“Worship Service” or “Divine Service?”

A modern day hymn

The Five Components of a good Blended Worship song

A liturgy based on five solas

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society


One response to “Blended Worship Guidelines

  1. This is a real helpful list of resources John, thanks for gathering it all in one place. You have saved a lot of work for many of us.

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