History of Worship Timeline by Steven Simkins

This is a timeline focusing on the major turning points in worship history

by Steven Simkins

0001-01-01 00:00:00

Birth of Jesus Christ

Jesus is born of the virgin Mary and the process of forming the New Covenant is set into motion (Luke 2:7)

0029-12-19 17:49:01

Lord's Supper

Jesus initiates the Lord's Supper for the disciples to remember His death and to remember the new covenant between man and God (Matthew 26:17).

0030-01-04 00:00:00

Jesus Christ Dies on a Cross and Rises Again

Jesus dies on the cross and becomes the propitiation for the sins of the world (Matthew 27:50, Romans 5:8). Three days after His death, Jesus conquers death and rises from the dead, assuring our salvation (Matthew 28:5).

0030-02-10 17:49:01

Church After Christ's Ascension

Disciples and new Christians began to meet for their own Synagogue services that combined Jewish traditions and Christian principles. Services mainly composed of Psalms, scripture reading, and discussion (Acts 2:38).

0150-02-10 17:49:01


Church leader Justin Martyr recorded what a typical church service would look like: The Service of the Word and The Service of the Lord's Supper.

0236-02-10 17:49:01

The Apostolic Tradition

In a Greek document called "The Apostolic Tradition", Hippolytus of Rome records the order of service in this time period. Through their order of service, the young churches were evangelizing and becoming larger.

0313-02-10 17:49:01

Edict of Milan

Emperor Constantine issued a document that forced the entire Roman nation was to accept Christianity. From this, Christians were no longer persecuted at great means, but this also meant the number of true disciples would dwindle.

0330-02-10 17:49:01

Priest Centered Worship

Because of "The Edict of Milan", Churches began to grow all over Rome. Soon, people took advantage by becoming priests and telling young Christians lies to boast their own gain. In these times, Church leaders also started to bend scripture by only teaching the Old Testament

0380-01-04 00:00:00

Clementine Liturgy

An anonymous writer wrote the document "The Apostolic Constitutions." This added more elements to the order of service such as The Eucharistic Prayer. This advanced the Christian worship service even more.

0380-01-04 00:00:00

"Schola Cantorum"

Formed together by Gregory the Great, chants were distributed to choirs both in the church and in the schools. Young boys would receive this training through school, and church choirs.

0600 BC-01-01 00:00:00

Worship Restored to Israel

The Israelites return to their homes after being in captivity, and the people were once again able to worship in the temple (Ezra 1, 6, Nehemiah 8)

0600 BC-01-01 00:00:00

Synagogue Worship

Along the same lines of Israel's restoration, where the people were once again allowed to worship with sacrifices and praise. Eventually this became common practice (Psalm 137)

0959 BC-01-01 00:00:00

The Temple

For the first time, Israel is able to worship God with sacrifices at a permanent location (1 Kings 6:37)

1003 BC-01-01 00:00:00

The Tabernacle

Tabernacle worship is put into practice as vocal and instrumental praise were directed by King David and the Ark of the Covenant is delivered into the Tabernacle (1 Chronicles 16)

1200-01-04 00:00:00

Contrafacted Hymns

Hymns written by Heinrich von Laufenburg that were basically parodies of secular songs of the time. These melodic styles stemmed from a type of spiritual movement.

1200-02-10 17:49:01

Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi led a reform movement in Italy that preached a simple gospel. Singing was a big part in this reformation. He was well known for creating "Laude's", vernacular hymns of praise and devotion made for people who were not especially musically trained.

1350-01-04 00:00:00

Translation of Vulgate

John Wyclif translates the Latin Vulgate into English so the common day man could read the scriptures. This was one of the first steps towards reformation in the Roman Catholic Church

1445 BC-04-01 00:23:20

Law and Mosaic Covenant Given

After the exodus in Egypt, Moses and the Israelites wander in the desert. During this time, God gives Moses the law which includes the 10 commandments, leadership structure, and this started the Mosaic Covenant between God and man (Exodus 24).

1530-01-04 00:00:00

Lutheran Reformation

Theologian Martin Luther observed the abuse the Priests were committing and decided to put an end to it. Luther eventually told Christians the truth, that they did not have to go through the church to be forgiven of sins.

1534-01-04 00:00:00

Reformation in England

King Henery the 8th made himself head of the Anglican church so that he would be able to divorce his wife and marry another. Over the next 100 years or so, there would be a great struggle to reestablish correct Christianity.

1535-01-04 00:00:00

Hymns of the Lutheran Reformation

Choir would continue to sing German chorales, and even as congregations. Stanzas were put into 4 and 5 part harmonies, mainly written by Johann Walther in the collection "Geystlich Gesangk Buchleyn." Martin Luther even wrote his own hymns to teach believers Lutheran theology and to demonstrate believer priesthood.

1549-01-04 00:00:00

1st Common Book of Prayer

The first prayer book was released to the people, and now worship was fully congregational in England.

1550-01-04 00:00:00

John Calvin's Reformation

Much like Luther's reformation, but much more serious towards the Roman Catholic Church.

1555-01-04 00:00:00

Calvin's Worship Form

As John Calvin was starting to gain members in the reformation, the order of service changed greatly as all music and objects were taken away. Eventually he allowed in Metrical Psalms to be sung.

1640-01-04 00:00:00

Bay Psalm Book

The first major revised Psalm book published in the colonies.

1660-01-04 00:00:00

Philipp Jakob Spener

First worship leader in his time

1700-01-04 00:00:00

Isaac Watts & Benjamin Keach

Watts and Keach were 18th century non-conformists that started to create "hymns of human composing", however these free hymns were not truly accepted unit the 19th century. Isaac Watts was also known as the father of English Hymnody for translating and writing many hymns in the English language.

1725-01-04 00:00:00

Johann Sebastian Bach

Brilliant musical composer felt bad priests and therefore made chorales for them to sing, even though he had many conflicts with them.

1734-01-04 00:00:00

1st Great Awakening

Headed up by two main preachers: Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Edwards known for his sermon "sinners in the hands of an angry God" and had a great impact on the people of his time. Whitefield considered to be greatest revivalist contributor in 18th century as he gathered crowds up to 25,000 people.

1750-01-04 00:00:00

John & Charles Wesley

Their preaching was based on Arminian theology, and the two together eventually formed the first "invitation" songs

1790-01-01 00:00:00

2nd Great Awakening

The 2nd Great Awakening is known by three main events: Yale Revival, Camp Meetings, and the Red River Revival. This was a dark period in America for Christians as the "Age of Reason" was coming into effect.

1790-01-04 00:00:00

Camp Meetings

Baptists in New England began to merge folk melodies with classical hymns, and this eventually led to the sparking of people's hearts as it traveled down south to Virginia and Kentucky. People met in camps to hear God's word being preached and to worship Him.

1792-06-01 00:00:00

3rd Great Awakening

This revival was mainly headed up by a presbyterian minister named Charles Finney. Finney traveled along the atlantic seaboard and planted congregations and set a service of worship into place for each one. Thomas Hastings was a leading music teacher, conductor, and author at the time and helped Finney by writing hymn books to advance his ministry.

1795-01-04 00:00:00

Yale Revival

Timothy Dwight was a preacher at Yale university, and because of his preaching and the work of the Holy Spirit, half of the college campus was converted before the year ended.

1800-06-01 00:00:00

Red River Revival

Led by two Presbyterian ministers: James McGreedy and Barton Stone. Meetings took place in the Red River Meeting House in Logan County, Kentucky. The ministers simply preached the word of God, and the Holy Spirit did the rest. Soon hearts were being changed all across the country side as many people came to hear the Word of God.

1820-06-01 00:00:00

4th Great Awakening

The 4th Great Awakening was noted for two main events: the Sunday School Revivals and the Moody/Sankey campaigns.

1820-06-02 00:00:00

Sunday School Revivals

Revival began before Sunday Schools with public education of music done by Lowell Mason. Mason was in the leading field of music theory and notation, and soon began a ministry in churches to teach music. He mainly helped form The American Sunday School Union and the advancement of Gospel songs.

1873-06-01 00:00:00

Moody-Sankey Campaigns

This revival was headed up by the evangelist Dwight L. Moody and a musician named Ira D. Sankey. Moody's focus was to make services more interesting to draw people in, and he did this through Sankey. Sankey was considered the father of gospel music as he introduced many of the gospel hymns we know of today. This tag team traveled across America and spread the gospel like never before.

1901-06-01 00:00:00

5th Great Awakening

This awakening began with students from Nyack Missionary College in New York. The students soon migrated to mid-west and western parts of America. Billy Sunday and Homer Rodeheaver were a team in this period, as Sunday was a baseball player that used his gift to evangelize to people and Rodeheaver organized huge music events to go along with Sunday.

1945-06-01 00:00:00

6th Great Awakening

America just suffered a devastating war, but through these times many people came to Christ. God mainly used Billy Graham and his crusades throughout America to bring many people to Christ, making him one of the most well known evangelists in the world.

1968-06-01 00:00:00

7th Great Awakening

American culture was emerged in the hippie era as the nation recovers from the Vietnam war. In this time there was a lot of immorality that included drugs and sex our of marriage. The Church Renewal movement and the Jesus Movement ministered to this generation with the gospel and new beginnings in Christian and worship.

1975-06-01 00:00:00

Maranatha Music

Maranatha Music was founded by pastor Chuck Smith that had a vision for Christian music. This music had simple melodies and lyrics straight from scripture in attempt to draw in the younger generation. The first hit song released was "Seek Ye First" by Karen Lafferty. This was one of the true beginnings of contemporary Christian music as we know it today.

2000 BC-04-01 00:00:00

First Mention of Worship

Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac, and Abraham was obedient to God and prepared his son to be sacrificed, and then he worshiped God. As he was just about strike his son, an angel told him to stop and provided a ram. (Genesis 22:5)

2012-04-26 00:00:00

The Center for Worship

Founded by Dr. Vernon Whaley, the Center for Worship is a department at Liberty University which trains up young men and women for worship and music ministry in the churches of tomorrow. The CFW currently has over 900 students both undergraduate and graduate that have a heart for God and leading His people into worship.

3850 BC-04-01 00:00:00

First Mention of Music

First mention of music is found in the Bible, as Jubal was said to be the "father of all those who play the lyre and pipe" (Genesis 4:20-21)

4000 BC-04-01 00:00:00


God creates the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). At the moment of creation, all things on earth praised God's name (Colossians 1:16).

History of Worship Timeline by Steven Simkins

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