Study Shows Churches Make Contemporary Shift

( [email protected] ) Mar 16, 2004 08:49 AM EST

According to new study released by Facts and Trends magazine, most Protestant churches have become more modernized and diversified in terms of worship style. It has been reported that more churches incorporate non-traditional music, diverse styles of worship, and computer technology.

The research, conducted by Ellison Research, asked ministers about how their churches have been changing over the past five years in terms of worship style. 44 percent reported no significant change, 15 percent said their churches had moved in much more contemporary direction, 36 percent reported their worship had become little more contemporary, and only 5 percent said their church had become more traditional.

Also the study revealed that larger churches and churches led by younger ministers are most likely to have made a significant shift toward more contemporary styles, and Pentecostal churches, especially, were more than twice as likely to make such shift.

In terms of use of electronic device for worship, such as PowerPoint, it has been increased recently from 5 percent to 36 over the five years from 1999 to 2004. The use of movies, music videos, or well-known speakers during worship services has increased from 4 to 36 percent; the use of praise and worship choruses rose from 38 to 74 percent; and the use of Christian rock or pop rose from 9 percent to 25 percent.

However the study also showed that Christians are still keeping some of the traditional elements of worship service. 95 percent of churches still pass an offering basket; 88 percent sing traditional hymns; 89 percent celebrate communion; 85 percent use a printed bulletin; and 78 percent use hymnals at least once a month.

According to the study, there was one element that didn’t change much over the past five years – the length of sermon. Most ministers preach in average of 31 minutes. Pentecostals preach the longest (40 minutes) and Lutherans and Methodists preach the shortest (20 minutes)

Ron Sellers, president of Ellison research, commented on the result, "Drama, video clips, computer graphics, and pop music were among the fast-growing elements, with still a lot of room for growth.”