The Changing Face of Worship

Aired 2003-04. Copies of this program are no longer available for purchase. We apologize for the inconvenience.  

After centuries of establishing a place for itself on the often uncomfortable terrain of reason, progress, and scientific proof that characterized the Age of Modernism, Christianity now finds itself facing the more challenging task of shaping a theological presence in the emerging postmodern context, introducing itself to a generation heretofore unacquainted with it. This documentary examines the challenge of attracting the MTV generation to the Church in the twenty-first century and introduces the viewer to a number of congregations that are flourishing in this postmodern era—highly non-traditional churches that are succeeding where mainline religious institutions have previously failed. They offer this new generation a "come as you are" invitation to the Christian experience, incorporating rock music, dance, film, poetry, painting and sculpture into the ritual of corporate worship. Featured are: Leonard Sweet, a professor of theology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, who has published several books on this topic, including "The Dawn Mistaken for Dusk, Carpe Mañana, and Soul Tsunami, which is widely regarded as the postmodern "bible." Darrel Guder, who holds the Henry Winters Luce Chair of Missional and Ecumenical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and is author of "Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America." The documentary also features several emerging churches, including: Mars Hill Fellowship in Seattle, Washington, which began in 1996 with about 100 members and now averages 1600 on Sundays. The congregation—largely young and single—meets in a building that was once a 40,000-square-foot furniture store. Rock music plays an integral part in worship at Mars Hill. Mosaic in Los Angeles, California, known for its spiritual creativity and cosmopolitan diversity, is a large urban congregation whose membership is 85% single. The median age of the 1500 who attend weekly is twenty-three. Erwin McManus, who serves as Lead Pastor and Cultural Architect of Mosaic, is interviewed. McManus is the celebrated author of An Unstoppable Force and Seizing Your Divine Moment. The Changing Face of Worship will air on ABC stations & affiliates beginning December 7. Check with the local ABC affiliate for broadcast times.