Planning Blended Worship by Robert E. Webber

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Book and Article Reviews, Worship

As with Dr. Webber’s other books, this book wrestles with the tension between traditional/liturgical and contemporary churches.  Once again, Webber establishes a hierarchy for constructing a worship service: content, structure, and style.  The main two sections I read included the information concerning the “Gathering” and the “Word.”  Each of these sections provides a unique feature of worship.

One of the things that I appreciated in this book is its focus on content, not simply style.  Style, as Webber states, simply contextualizes the message.  The content and structure should drive the service, not style.  When this is kept in mind, churches are free to implement new styles with old styles.  Worship becomes a much more holistic experience that engages all ages.  I also appreciated the emphasis on physical actions (body postures) that can imitate inward attitudes.

The Gathering is the answered call of God to join together as the people of God.  The Gathering provides a focusing element in the call of worship.  Webber also points to the use of the procession as a key action for reminding people of the import of entering into the presence of God.  The Gathering also structures itself around “Acts of Praise”, “Confession and Forgiveness”, and “Transition[ing] to the Word”.  This part of our worship centers our focus upon God so that we can focus on what He is doing.

The Word is the next segment of the worship service.  It is within this context that we begin to see and hear the dialogical aspect of the worship service.  God speaks and we respond.  Dr. Webber also seeks to place worship back in the hands of the laity, not simply the clergy.  Prayer and preaching that encourages and implements group participation should be utilized so that worship is not simply a performance but the Body of Christ working together.

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