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Chapter 13 : Worship on the Web: -Monique Ingalls

Since its debut in 2005, YouTube has encouraged grassroots video creation, publishing, and circulation with the slogan “broadcast yourself.” Instant and accessible audiovisual media sharing on social media platforms such as YouTube have enabled music and religious practice to become conjoined in new and complex ways. One music video genre that has emerged among evangelical Christians is the worship video. In this type of Christian devotional video, amateur creators overlay commercial audio recordings of their favorite congregational worship songs with a variety of visual effects, including still photographs, motion imagery, song lyrics, and Bible verses. Many of these videos garner hundreds of thousands—sometimes millions—of views, generate long strings of comments, and motivate hundreds of users to subscribe to worship video creators’ YouTube channels or to post their own video responses.

To carve out a field for my study, I narrowed my video search to the five most frequently sung worship songs in the United States in 2011. I then searched YouTube for these five song titles, choosing the top ten results under each song as my “field sites,” which I monitored from September 2011 to March 2012. Song-based search parameters produced a representative sample of 50 videos for comparison, providing a launching point for in-depth exploration of these particular WV creators and their networks. Below are links to six of these videos for two of the most-sung evangelical Christian worship songs of 2011: “Blessed Be Your Name” and “Our God (Is Greater).”

Charlesc28, “Blessed be the name by Tree63”, November 3, 2006. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mZH9T9XNVU

harp4yu, “Blessed Be the Name”, July 15, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRl7LD-3qtQ

likewootwootmypeeps. 2008, “Matt Redman-Blessed be Your name-lyrics video”, March 22, 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL3NFhmxQxs

MatthewSgherzi, “How Great Is Our God”, September 16, 2006. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi0yLRX4d2M

rosinkrans17, “Our God - Chris Tomlin (And If Our God Is For Us)”, November 17, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdFzB4MQgEA

Always4Jesus7, “Our God (Is Greater) by Chris Tomlin (w/ lyrics)”, June 21, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-6YdT1DEO8

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