For many years, churches have known that young people have not found the corporate worship of their congregations meaningful. To churches' credit, they have both acknowledged the problem and tried many different solutions to fix it. Unfortunately, most solutions lose steam after changes to the style of the corporate worship service. This dissertation suggests that the problem is not the style of music or the formality of the liturgy, but rather the inability of congregations to help young people anticipate an encounter with God in worship. After examining John Wesley's understanding of religious experience and worship as well as the historical shifts in liturgical practice of American Methodism, I use qualitative research methods to detail the experience of corporate worship for teenagers in three United Methodist congregations. Then, leaning heavily on the work of Howard Thurman, I propose a theology of magnitude that suggests that the Church is the normative home for the anticipated encounter of God. Finally, I propose five strategic turns necessary to return magnitude (the significance which comes from the anticipation of an encounter with God) to worship in United Methodist congregations.
|Advisor:||Dean, Kenda C.|
|Commitee:||Mikoski, Gordon S., Osmer, Richard R.|
|School:||Princeton Theological Seminary|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Clerical studies, Religious education, Spirituality|
|Keywords:||Church, Methodist, Thurman, Wesley, Worship, Youth|
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