O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CCC Worship Paradigms: The Past, Present, and Future of Worship

In an era where worship is defined more as a commodity and churches are embracing marketing and even musical terminology to define themselves as congregations it is challenging for us to engage in the discussion of worship without sounding like we are branding an experience. In fact, in the last twenty years more churches identify themselves by their musical style than practically any other distinctive about their local body.

While Christ Community has enjoyed a rich musical heritage over the years, musical style hasn’t been the basis by which we shape our corporate worship celebrations. Even as we have experienced many well-known songs that were and continue to be born out of this body, and though we have shared in the privilege of having many artists that have made CCC their church home over the years, we maintain that there is a bigger picture that has shaped how we came to be who we are in the area of our corporate worship celebration. We at CCC believe that we share a past, present, and future of worship with the Body of Christ universal as demonstrated by the elements and expressions offered in our gatherings as a church family.

First and foremost we hold that worship is a lifestyle born out of gratitude for what God has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. We believe that the corporate expression and celebration of that is what we enjoy when we come together for a service of worship. However, we have intentionally avoided the use of marketing terms such as contemporary, blended, or traditional to define ourselves, and the many ways we express our passion, praise, and repentance together.

Christ Community embraces a deep love and passion for the hymns, songs, and prayers of the past as well as the current worship music of our day while we continue to foster the creativity of the artists and communicators of the future. In our corporate worship there is room for all of those expressions and genres to coexist and be appreciated in context and not merely as a means of covering our stylistic bases or branding.

As a church in an entertainment hub like the Nashville area we are aware of musical preference and consumer driven niches that can tempt us to embrace a “target audience”. However, we understand that music alone is not worship and that resorting to musical terminology to describe our corporate worship is at times misguided and at the very least limiting.

We know that we are a desperate people for God’s mercy and grace, but we are also a grateful people. When desperation and gratitude intersect true worship happens and that leaves room for engaging many styles, genres, and artistic expressions to be employed by the Body of Christ. Our liturgy shapes us. Our songs say for us what we often can’t say for ourselves at times. And our connection to the confessions, prayers, and readings of the past remind us of where we have been, who we are, and where we are called to be.