“Praise and worship” differs from other forms of Christian popular music because of its explicitly stated purpose for facilitating experiences of worship. This is music designed for use by Christian believers to actively negotiate their relationships with God. … the standard of quality is ultimately curatorial rather than performative. Like the deejay, worship leaders are judged on their ability to enact a meaningful encounter for the gathered community rather than their ability to correctly realize a pre-determined musical product.
Popular music actually shapes the ways that believers come to know themselves as religious subjects in worship.
… I do not mean to suggest any degree of insincerity or inauthenticity on the part of the music’s devout practitioners. Rather, by describing evangelical worship music through a syncretic lens, I argue for the importance of music as a primary theological discourse which allows parishioners to construct, contest, reify, and transgress the boundaries of official “orthodoxy.”
Kudus: Ethnomusicology Review.