Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date


Faculty Advisor(s)

Jessica Sternfeld


The artists “Bethel” and “Hillsong” are frequently recognized by Christians living in America. But what about the names “Bridge Music India” or “Sinach”? These names would be most likely unknown in the states but celebrated in India and Nigeria. While each stems from vastly different cultural backgrounds, they all serve the purpose of creating a space for people to connect with God and each other through musical worship. Drawing on four different pieces of worship music and their use in live services, this article analyzes the effects of worship music, specifically their lyrical and musical content, on the individuals participating in these services. We will see that, on a personal level, individuals experience an awareness of the presence of a higher power, an ability to release current emotional burdens as well as celebrate the unchanging character of God. On a corporate level, people experience a powerful uniting with those around them as they declare the presence and love of this God. I will also argue that this practice can look different within various communities. Thus, the various environments and socio-economic standings of these individuals will also be taken into account when considering how worship music impacts them. From these experiences, I will argue that worship music is more than just singing songs on a Sunday morning for individuals - it is a form of individually and communally practicing awareness and interaction with God.


Presented at the Fall 2019 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.