the shape of leadership

A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship

A conversation with Prof. Lester Ruth

George P Wood on February 22, 2022


In the middle of the twentieth century, two theological ideas began to reshape Protestant worship. The first focused on how churchgoers could experience the manifest presence of God. The second focused on how churches could overcome the gap between themselves and the people they were trying to reach.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with Prof. Lester Ruth about those two theological ideas — presence and power. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Lester Ruth is research professor of Christian worship at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He is coauthor, with Lim Swee Hong, of A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship, published in November 2021 by Baker Academic.

This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by the Next Generation Leaders Conference.

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