African-American theology of worship arises out of a deep sense of oppression and a high anticipation of liberation. In worship, African-Americans experience the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, which liberates them from sin and the power of the Evil One.
We find diversity in the worship practices of African-Americans. This diversity results from differences in points of entry into and acceptance of the Christian faith, as well as denominational distinctions. However, there is a common history and heritage rooted in the religious life of Africans enslaved in America. There is sufficient documentation for the genesis of unique African-American worship styles in the imposed marginalization of Africans in America. For a people whose slave existence was partially supported by Scripture, it was necessary for a new form of Christianity to be shaped. The “new” religion represented a fusion of a number of worldviews, beliefs, and practices: African, Judeo-Christian, Euro-American, and African-American.
Churches in the African-American community share a distinct worship culture that is the result of the integration of Christian worship forms with a worldview shaped by a traditional African ontology (understanding of being). In addition to the African heritage and religious perspective, the experience of blacks in American slavery has also helped to shape African-American worship patterns.