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Are You Leading Worship Change with a Wrecking Ball? Try Deconstruction!

Are You Leading Worship Change with a Wrecking Ball? Try Deconstruction!

Are you in the midst of changing worship in your church, or are you considering doing so in the near future? My friend and counterpart from the Kansa-Nebraska Convention, David Manner, helps us think through two methods of worship change. These are some great words to consider:

Demolition is the most expedient method of tearing down an existing structure in order to ensure that the ensuing structure bears no characteristics of the original structure.

Does this sound like worship change in your congregation?

In an effort to initiate worship change, leaders often use the finesse of a wrecking ball to swing wildly at existing practices. The consequence is often the complete destruction of the relational foundations of a community that may have taken decades to build.

Deconstruction is the systematic and selective process of taking a structure apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for re-use. Deconstruction focuses on giving those materials within an existing structure a new life once it is determined that the existing structure will require change to continue functioning successfully.

Deconstruction is the realization that many of the components within an existing structure still have value. Healthier worship change is taking the time to recognize those components and harvest them in order to reclaim their value for useful building materials in the new structure.

Worship demolition causes destruction and requires invention. Worship deconstruction allows for renovation and encourages innovation. Both processes agree that worship transition is necessary as a congregation considers its culture and context. But worship deconstruction at least offers hope of a foundation on which to rebuild.

About The Author

David Manner

Dr. David W. Manner serves as the Executive Director for Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. Before joining the convention staff in 2000, David served for twenty years in music/worship ministry with congregations in Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma Baptist University; a Master of Church Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.


  1. Tony

    The church we are attending now is in “transition”. At this time it’s yo early to determine which process it will be. I have seen this become a hotly discussed topic. New senior pastor and new worship pastor equaled many changes in a short period of time. To much change in a short period of time caused many people to leave the church. Definitely the wrecking ball approach.

  2. bryan

    our congregation has just completed worship deconstruction recently and the transition went rather smoothly. folks were more receptive to being “eased” into change than force fed. but in every aspect of the transition, God lead and we followed.

  3. Janet

    Well put. I’ve seen more than my fair share of wrecking balls in action. One such wrecking ball wielder said, “Don’t you think it’s better to cut the tail off a dog all at once instead of an inch at a time?”


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