What is incarnational worship?

Welcome to my new blog: (i)ncarnation of worship. In this blog I will review the current landscape of worship leadership and encourage dialogue and creative sharing in relationship to the topic of worship leadership. The title of this blog represents the greatest challenge of the 21st century church in relationship to worship: How do we reconcile a desire to connect with culture with a desire for pure worship before the Throne Room of God. I have the great privilege of discussing this issue frequently with my students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Most often, students of various calling and worship leaders in particular are more passionate about one of these two extremes. Our churches need a balanced perspective on worship for maximum health, and it is the responsibility of worship leaders to provide that balanced perspective. In future posts, I will seek to describe how this proper balance can be achieved through the framework of incarnational worship. Rest assured that future conversation-starters will include practical aspects of worship leadership; although, my students would probably warn you that I tend to drift back to philosophical inquires.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Laramie Minga on July 17, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Great thoughts. Would you please expand on the idea of “incarnational worship”?


    • Incarnation most often and most importantly refers to the nature of Christ. However, the term can be used in a more generic sense to refer to the actual form of a concept. The very idea that a concept could take form is actually a miraculous act. Creation itself is a concept or idea taking form. I am suggesting that worship, at least this side of heaven is not intended to exist in a vacuum apart from culture. Attempts to keep worship totally untainted by culture can easily become unhealthy attempts to keep worship pure. Healthy worship lives and breathes in the midst of culture; it is actually a miraculous event. Of course, I could argue the other extreme (too much emphasis on culture), and this tendency is more common in our current worship culture in America. For those who agree with this overall framework for forming healthy worship, another challenge emerges: is incarnational worship simply a mix of pure worship and culture.


      • Posted by Cindy Mangum on September 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        I liked your statement “Healthy worship lives and breathes in the midst of culture….” Since worship is not just an hour on Sundays, but instead a way of living, the only way to keep it pure and untainted is to live a sinless life. Of course, we all know that there was only one sinless human so until we reside in heaven, all of our attempts at worship will be less than perfect. That said, we must worship, thereby live in the time that has been allotted to us (our life span) for His kingdom work. It has really come home to me about how we foster the idea that worship is a preconceived act at a predetermined time (i.e. worship services on Sundays at 11:00 a.m.) simply by saying “Come join us for worship on Sundays…) The subliminal message there being that we can only worship on that date and at that time. We send this subliminal message in our literature, on our webpages, on our business cards, on our roadside signs, etc. With that knowledge, I am looking for creative ways to invite others to church without that subliminal message. Anybody got any ideas to share in that regard?

  2. Posted by Jim Riley on September 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks for your information on incarnation and worship. This helps me to comprehend that worship can occur at anytime 24/7, not only at congregational worship times. Oh, how I desire to worship Him more often, and not put limits on God.
    Jim Riley


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