a mission statement for blended worship using contemporary music

Lutheran theology of worship and music:

 

THE PRIMARY DOCTRINE:
The primary doctrine is JUSTIFICATION by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, on account of CHRIST’S atoning death on the cross for our sin.

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

LUTHERAN WORSHIP:
Lutherans historically have referred to public worship as Gottesdienst, divine service, with the emphasis on God serving his people. Klemet Preus offers this expanded definition.

Most people, when they think of the word worship, think of something that we do. By this way of thinking, we are active in giving God our honor and praise and God is passive in receiving our worship. Actually, the primary direction of the communication in worship is the other way. In true Christian worship we are passive and God is active. We are receiving and God is giving. We are learning and God is teaching. We are getting and God is giving.
(page 14)

Consider what the Apology says. “The service and worship of the Gospel is to receive good things from God… The highest worship in the Gospel is the desire to receive the forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness.”
(page 10)
from “The Augustana and Lutheran Worship” by Pastor Joel Otto

The essence of Lutheran worship is the Gospel, justification by grace alone through faith alone through Christ crucified for our sins.
a. All that is done in worship is done so that the Gospel is proclaimed and God’s people are given the forgiveness of sins.
b. Lutheran worship is first and foremost about God’s actions for us. Christians gather together to receive the blessings God gives in Gospel and God’s Word. Lutheran worship is the proclamation of the Gospel.
c. God’s people are edified by the message of the Gospel and God’s Word.
excerpts from “A Simplified Guide to Worshiping as Lutherans” by Pastor James Waddell

The Divine Service is the Sunday dinner which God serves us as He feeds our souls with the Gospel and God’s Word. (“Feed my Sheep.” John 21:17)

LUTHERAN LITURGY:
The primary function of the liturgy is the delivery of the Gospel. The structure of the liturgy consists of specific components for the delivery of God’s Gospel-gifts.
from “A Simplified Guide to Worshiping as Lutherans” by Pastor James Waddell

It wasn’t just for political purposes that the confessors retained the historic liturgy. What makes the historic Lutheran liturgy what it is? Scripture-based, gospel-centered canticles; music that carries and solidifies the Word of God without obscuring it; sacramentally-focused confession and absolution; well-worded prayers and responses; theological hymns; Christ-centered Church Year; and meaningful art and symbolic action. Lutheran worship as carried out in the historic liturgy revolves around justification by faith because it is focused on the words of Jesus and centered in the means of grace.
from “The Augustana and Lutheran Worship” by Pastor Joel Otto

LUTHERAN THEOLOGY OF MUSIC:
In Lutheran theology, God’s Spirit works through the Gospel and God’s Word. Music is a vehicle to deliver the Gospel and God’s Word.
Today, for many American Evangelicals, music is a “means of grace” to reach an emotional high and bring people “into the presence of God.”
——————-
We will also want to recognize that it is God’s Word and God’s Word alone that builds and strengthens faith. It is not the musical style of a song or its accompaniment, but the Word-based content that edifies worshipers. Without God’s Word, no musical style is beneficial to the faith; with God’s Word a variety of musical styles can benefit faith.

from “Should rock music be used in church?”
WELS Q&A: The Church and Its Ministry – Music/Worship (01)
——————-
The hymns must proclaim Christ and His benefits, in a word, the Gospel.
(page 4)
The theological function of music is to proclaim the word of God to the people.
(page 18)
from “Lutheran Hymnody: Orthodoxy in Song” by Pastor Chad Bird
—————–

Praise Songs:
What Warren fails to understand is that when we sing about God, we’re singing to God. And to sing to God, or to praise God, is to repeat what he has done for us. Klemet Preus comments, “The greatest way to praise God is to tell everyone what he has done. The praise of God is neither in the use of verbs to describe me nor is it in the use of adjectives to describe Him. Praise of God is using verbs to tell what He did for us in Christ.” Just read the psalms. When the encouragement to praise God is given, it is usually followed by a proclamation of what God has done to make him worthy of praise. Following this scriptural example means that what is sung in worship should primarily proclaim who the true God is and what he has done to save, not my love for Jesus or how I should respond. There is a place for such expressions of the believers’ response to God’s gift of eternal life, but always in the context of the proclamation of the gospel. Many great Lutheran and Christian hymns follow the example of the psalms and express the believer’s reaction to the gospel, while also stating why the believer is reacting. In other words, these hymns proclaim the gospel. The same cannot be said for a majority of praise songs which express the believer’s reaction without stating the basis for this reaction.
from “The Augustana and Lutheran Worship” by Pastor Joel Otto (pages 10-11)

May we never lose sight of the connection our Lutheran theology has with our Lutheran worship. Law and gospel. Justification by faith. Word and sacraments. God serving his people through the proclamation of the gospel. His people serving God and each other by proclaiming what he has done and using his gifts of music, language and the arts to do this.
from “The Augustana and Lutheran Worship” by Pastor Joel Otto (page 22)

What better way to respond to the blessings of Christ than to sing about his blessings! What better way to thank God for the gospel of his forgiving grace than to sing about his forgiving grace! What better way to praise Christ than to proclaim what Christ has done for us!
from “It’s about substance” by Pastor Johnold Strey

Lutheran theology of worship and music

What is Blended Worship?

=====================

Purpose of the blended worship service:

Blended worship means adding modern hymns, songs, liturgy settings, musical instrumentation, communication styles and presentation media to the traditional worship service to more clearly communicate the message of the gospel and God’s grace to the people. Songs are carefully picked as a blend of the hymns of the past with contemporary settings and modern songs with Christ-centered lyrics. Instrumentation may vary.

Definition of blended worship:

Proclaiming the message of the Gospel and God’s Word
through a contemporary style of music
in a Lutheran liturgical order of service

 

Principles for the blended worship service:

We will also want to recognize that it is God’s Word and God’s Word alone that builds and strengthens faith. It is not the musical style of a song or its accompaniment, but the Word-based content that edifies worshipers. Without God’s Word, no musical style is beneficial to the faith; with God’s Word a variety of musical styles can benefit faith.
from “Should rock music be used in church?”
WELS Q&A: The Church and Its Ministry – Music/Worship (01)

Lutheran theology for Lutheran worship

1. Lutheran worship is first and foremost about God’s actions for us.
Christians gather together to receive the blessings God gives in Gospel and God’s Word. Lutheran worship is the proclamation of the Gospel.
from “A Simplified Guide to Worshiping as Lutherans” by Pastor James Waddell

2. These three tasks form the biblical perspective on public worship, and in freedom the Church considers all three as it forms the ritual for public worship:
(1) an understanding of the salvific teachings of the Scriptures,
(2) an understanding of the nature of the human creature, and
(3) an understanding of the influence and power of Satan as we approach the end of time. (JT)
The liturgy is simply a way of public worship believers across many centuries have formed in an effort to (1)proclaim the gospel (2) to human beings (3) who are constantly tempted by Satan. (JT)

3. The theological function of music in Lutheran worship is to proclaim the Gospel and God’s Word to the people.

WELS Blended Worship vs Contemporary Worship Chart

——————-

Applications of these principles:

1. Since a good Gospel and Biblical message is the goal in our music, we are committed to seek and choose songs and liturgy responses that are equal to or better than the content/message in the CW hymns and liturgy responses that they replace.

2. Each song for each service will be chosen primarily by its text and message according to the criteria found in the “worship songs evaluation form” by James Waddell and “Text, Music, Context: A resource for reviewing worship materials” by LCMS C/W, in an effort to find the best songs with the best messages that communicate clearly the Gospel, God’s grace and benefits, or a relevant message from God’s Word. We will seek excellence in our song choice, both lyrically and musically, choosing songs with good text and good music (a tune, style and performance that enhances and supports the text).

see “Worship Songs Evaluation Form” by Pastor James Waddell
see “It’s about substance” by Pastor Johnold Strey
see “Text, Music, Context: A resource for reviewing worship materials”
by LCMS Commission on Worship

3. We believe that the best “praise” songs will also tell what God has done for us that makes us want to praise Him (mainly the Gospel). All songs should either proclaim the gospel or come from a gospel viewpoint and flow from Lutheran theology and will describe sanctification as a fruit of faith, a thankful response to God’s grace and gospel..

4. Worship at our church draws from the best of many musical styles to enhance the proclamation of the gospel in its public worship. This can include hymns or CCM songs by a pipe organ (or orchestra) or chorded hymns and CCM songs done by a church band with keyboard and guitar.

5. We believe that the needs of God’s people are best met by the historic Lutheran liturgy in the basic structure of the Common Service, since it delivers a good proclamation of the gospel through its canticles, songs, ordinaries, propers, readings, confession/absolution, etc. We may use alternate canticles and liturgy responses, but we will strive to keep the essential message of the canticles and liturgy responses, as explained in the “Text, Music, Context” booklet.

6. Every change or innovation in the church service will be decided by asking whether this change will better communicate the Gospel and God’s grace to the people. (It is not better just because it is different, more upbeat or entertaining.)

7. What forms/style will we use and what forms/style will we avoid in order to best communicate the gospel and God’s Word to the people with the variety of God’s gifts of musical sounds and instruments and talents?
acceptable = pipe organ, folk, folk rock, pop rock, contemporary adult
unacceptable = hard rock, heavy metal, electric guitar with distortion

8. Our church desires to involve many talented people who are qualified to participate in its ministry of worship and music.

9. Our church values musical excellence in public worship in proclaiming God’s Word, to the praise of God and edification of His people.

10. We will seek to equip and educate all worship leaders, worship committee members, and all musicians on these principles of Lutheran worship and blended worship and music selection and our mission statement for blended worship.

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