Where is the ‘place of sacrifice’ in modern youth worship culture?

The interest in this subject arose from my own experience of leading worship and working within charismatic evangelical youth culture. I had become increasingly aware of the influences of consumerism and middle-class culture within worship and began looking at various possible correctives to this issue. Ignatius’ description of the meeting place as ‘the place of sacrifice’ provided the inspiration to explore the concept of sacrifice in worship. It was of particular interest as it appeared in such stark contrast of the tendencies within the current culture. The Literature Review defined and discussed worship and sacrifice, looked at relevant key issues in church, and argued that current youth worship culture is not sacrificial.

An action research approach gathered data from participants within the culture through a questionnaire and online survey, and also included an interview with a leading figure in the culture, Andy Flannagan. The research was analysed and concluded that sacrifice holds an abstract and spiritualised place in the culture, and highlighted three key problems: the consumption of worship, the understanding of sacrifice and the function of the Eucharist. The Eucharist was at the centre of suggestions of how to address the problems, with the importance of recapturing its sacrificial nature being emphasised. The Eucharist was found to be an appropriate place to inspire and empower sacrificial living, and to be the focal point for a Church who subverts consumer culture.

Alistair Gilfillan

Alistair graduated from Midlands CYM in 2011 with a BA Honours degree in Youth & Community Work and Applied Theology.