School of Music
Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)
Christian worship, millennials, postmodern, truth, experiential, emotion, spiritual formation, deconstruction, progressive, theology, corporate worship, worship music
Christianity | Music
Lambert, Clifford Ernest II, "Experiential Truth in Contemporary Worship Environments: The Role of Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Century Worship Music in the Spiritual Formation of Millennials" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4226.
Over the past forty years, the American Church has gone to great lengths to make corporate worship culturally attractive for the purpose of evangelizing the Millennial population. Their main emphasis in accomplishing this has been to shift their approach to culturally relevant modes of presentation. The main components of this shift have included the style, presentation aesthetic, and lyrical content of corporate worship music. However, immediately following these methodological shifts has been a disillusionment with the flaws of attractional ministry, leading many to a biblically compromised faith and the espousal of progressive theologies. A distrust of authority paired with postmodern definitions of truth and love have left Millennial Christians drawn to elusiveness, personal discovery, and feelings as a compass for establishing a comprehensive worldview. Through the investigation of contemporary worship music, postmodern ideology, human emotion, and biblical theology, this qualitative study reveals pertinent themes that provide perspectives on Millennials who have formed theological conclusions influenced by the presentation aesthetic and lyrical content of contemporary worship music. In their search for truth through emotional efficacy and personal experience, Millennials have formed spiritual conclusions apart from biblical authority. This study weighs the findings of current theological positions among Millennials against the corporate experiences of churches that seek to appeal to this age group. This study and its conclusions will benefit twenty-first-century church leaders as they learn how to create engaging liturgies for Millennial worshipers that reinforce an embodied biblical theology.