School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


W. Douglas Crawley


Corporate Individualism, Postmodernism, Corporate Worship, Individualism, Contemporary Worship Music


Liturgy and Worship | Music


Western society has experienced a monumental paradigm shift which has influenced the way in which the church worships in the twenty-first century. Postmodernism has led to an increasingly self-focused individualism in corporate worship which overvalues personal experience and undervalues the communal aspect of corporate worship. Despite much discussion concerning postmodern generations, the influence of postmodern thought upon the rise of corporate individualism in worship has yet to be examined. The purpose of this qualitative, historical study is to examine the factors that have led to the rise of corporate individualism in worship, the indications of corporate individualism in worship, and the ways in which corporate individualism has affected worship practice in evangelical churches. The rising focus on individualism in corporate worship is redefining what it means to worship in community. This study is important for worship leaders and pastors as they make decisions about song selection, language use, and worship environment. Additionally, this study is important to church members as it addresses subjects that affect their participation in worship, connection with other worshipers, and theological understandings. Every church must decide how they will address this societal change in order to reach present and future generations. This study could benefit the twenty-first century church in understanding how and why worship practices have changed with this cultural shift and determine if there needs to be a course correction. Further, this study could encourage further research into effects of corporate individualism on church architecture, liturgical structures, and worship technology.