blended worship vs. convergence worship - Printable Version

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blended worship vs. convergence worship - HelenaZF - 08-05-2008

Is there a difference between blended worship and convergence worship?

Convergence worship is not blended worship. Blended worship has primarily to do with musical styles, and the balancing of the amount of new and old styles used in a service. Blended worship tends to dilute and generalize worship and can result in a generic service. It is intended to produce a predictable product. Although the intention is to please everyone with something to the musical taste of their generation, it often has the opposite effect. One writer has defined blended worship to be "a service designed to make everyone equally angry".

Convergence worship, on the other hand, has to do with bringing contemporary music into the theological and and procedural models established in the foundations of the church and yet be relevant to the current culture. It encompasses the sweeping ranges of musical styles of the church both past and present, seeks to recover the arts in worship and expresses the celebratory nature of worship that focuses on who God is and what He has done, and does it within the established order of service. Convergence worship is dynamic, in that it is always evolving.

An excellent article contrasting blended and convergence worship can be found here: https://www.reformedworship.org/article/march-2000/blended-worship-what-it-what-it-isnt

Some further thoughts that bring in the liturgical connection:

blended worship vs. convergence worship - DeanZF - 08-08-2008

Blended services often dilute both the traditional and contemporary styles. One strong point for some convergence worship leaders could be seen as seeking to bring select, appropriate contemporary music into a traditional environment, because it is theologically sound and expresses well the aspects of the service and the congregation, not just because it uses distortion on an electric guitar. :crooner:

A major criticism of many who have seen blended services fail is that too often, it causes surrender of a church's model to "the world's" culture, not submitting the world's culture to that of the church.

When we take music arrangements or choreographies that were designed for the concert stage and try to mold them into something they were never intended to be, what culture "wins"? When we follow after the stuff on the radio or stage or television, and when we do NOT invest in the psalmists and other worship artists in our own congregations and denominations, what message do we send?

Again I have to comment on what Dr. Simon Chan shared with us at the CEC convo just a week ago. The challenge is not to use music designed to sell CDs or MP3s, the challenge is to the church musicians to compose, arrange, or otherwise create music that fits our own culture. He was speaking to Charismatic Episcopal Church members who have already been exposed to the concept of convergence, but it applies across the board.

Sidebar: We were members of a fairly good sized charismatic fellowship once upon a time. Spent about 15 years there. We had lots and lots of good musicians and at one point had 4 functioning, rotating teams of 8-15 members each. We also had a bunch of folks who were writing music, maybe five or six, some good, some really, really good. Mostly they were taking scripture passages or paraphrases and adding lyrics and style. The songs being written were inspired for the particular season in that congregation and they fit the culture of that congregation. The congregation embraced all of that music and sang with gusto. Some was rocky, some was more folk-ish. Some was pretty straight up (traditional would also describe it), but often with contemporary instruments. One month, one team finished the services with Amazing Grace done in about 8 different styles. The folks ate it up! It FIT their culture and their mold. In their own way, they were not doing blended worship, but convergence. Any music brought to the table was brought because it fit OUR culture, not because we thought it would appeal to this or that group, but because the message fit the vision of the house.