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The Purpose, Pattern, and Character of Worship

L Edward Phillips

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Religion/Theologie


Within the broad range of Christianity we find diverse understandings of what makes for “good worship.” The Purpose, Pattern, and Character of Worship develops a typology of Christian worship to provide a method of assessing the decisions of congregations and leaders in forming and changing the orders of their worship.

Among contemporary western Protestants, we identify at least six discrete characteristics of worship:

-the Revival,

-the Sunday School,

-the Aesthetic Revival,

-the Pentecostal/holiness movement,

-the Prayer Meeting,

-the twentieth-century Catholic Liturgical Renewal.


These patterns define contemporary expression as:

-Seeker Worship,

-Creative Worship,

-Traditional Worship,

-Praise Worship,

-House Church Worship,

-Word and Table Worship.

Absent an overall authority for the structure of worship (such as the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer), many Protestant congregations have developed a “conflation of patterns,” which often creates incoherent worship. This book helps leaders define the purpose, character, and pattern of their community’s worship.

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