Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship

Lester Ruth and Swee Hong Lim
Published Year: 
Cover image of book titled "Lovin' On Jesus"

Professor Lester Ruth has co-authored a new book providing a compact but thorough history of changes in North American Protestant worship during the second half of the twentieth century that became known as “contemporary worship.” 

Abdingon Press published the book, Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship, earlier this month. Ruth, research professor of Christian worship at Duke Divinity School, wrote the book with Swee Hong Lim, the Deer Park Assistant Professor of Sacred Music and director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at Emmanuel College in Toronto, Canada. 

Using original source material, including personal interviews with many who were directly involved in the early stages of contemporary worship, the book reveals the complex lineage that led to the worship forms common in many Christian worship services across the world.

Ruth and Lim argue that the rise of the term contemporary worship in the early 1990s was the pivotal point in the phenomenon’s history for mainline denominations like United Methodism, with multiple points of origin and new ways of worship developing along many different lines across Protestantism.

The book examines practices of time, space, music, prayer, technology, Scripture, preaching, and sacramentality. It can serve as a resource for students, scholars, worship leaders, and pastors who want to gain a better understanding of the worship services they lead.