40 Worship Alternative Facts

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Worship Alternative Facts

  1. Worship bands trivialize it.
  2. Orchestras make it archaic.
  3. If newer it is relevant.
  4. When older it is stale.
  5. Music is a requirement for it to occur.
  6. If it’s louder it’s better.
  7. It requires noise.
  8. Original artist keys are its purest form.
  9. Older guys can no longer lead it effectively.
  10. It’s more relevant with a younger leader.
  11. It can’t occur without a leader.
  12. A woman can’t lead it.
  13. It’s not possible multigenerationally.
  14. It should be segregated by affinity and cultures.
  15. It has to be rational and explainable.
  16. It’s only relevant when mirroring present culture.
  17. Evangelism is its goal.
  18. It’s a Sunday event only.
  19. It starts and stops with opening and closing songs.
  20. A hymnal is necessary for it to occur.
  21. Most modern worship songs are trite.
  22. It can’t happen with a choir.
  23. It is passive with a worship team.
  24. It can be created with song selections.
  25. One style of it is preeminent.
  26. It’s a warm-up for the sermon.
  27. Changing it will grow your church.
  28. Changing it will kill your church.
  29. It’s always happy.
  30. It causes Jesus to show up.
  31. It is something done for us.
  32. Singing or playing is its only participatory option.
  33. It is a noun.
  34. It is based primarily on feelings.
  35. It requires no congregational preparation or participation.
  36. Technology distracts from it.
  37. Technology is a requirement for it.
  38. It can be imitated or mimicked.
  39. Its songs have a short shelf life.
  40. Attire determines its success or failure.
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Treating Worship Sickness Before A Diagnosis

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treatmentTrying to fix worship by randomly changing the songs is like a physician arbitrarily treating an illness before a diagnosis. Worship health and consequently its renewal will only occur by evaluating our worship principles first before we ever consider changing our worship practices.

Diagnosis is the process of determining by examination and evaluation the nature and circumstances of a diseased condition. Treatment is the administration and application of remedies once the diagnosis has been determined. We seem to continually invert these two processes.

So instead of evaluating our worship health based on biblical foundations, theological tenets and historical precedents, we often attempt to heal it through song selections, stylistic adjustments and personnel firings or hirings.

Intentional evaluation before indiscriminate implementation can provide a constructive process for a congregation to verbalize foundational worship principles. Once those deeper biblical and theological principles are solidified they can then set treatment goals for their worship practices in response to the actual diagnoses.

Trial and error treatment focused on style and service mechanics will continue to consume the energy of worship planners and leaders unless an organized diagnostic plan is put in place. The end result is often exacerbated worship unhealthiness that is much more contagious. But if instead we ensure that our diagnosis always precedes the treatment, our worship renewal prognosis can’t help but be more hopeful.

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Worship Leader Envy: The Tall Poppy Syndrome

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tall poppyTall Poppy is a pejorative term used in Australia and the U.K. to describe the resentment, jealousy or envy for those whose accomplishments seem to elevate them above their peers. Tall Poppy Syndrome is the social phenomenon that occurs when others try to achieve parity not by being satisfied with or improving themselves, but instead by trying to bring the other guy down to their own level. So the tall poppy must be criticized, attacked and cut down to size.

The potential for worship leading envy is high since we don’t have to look very far to find another leader who is younger, plays guitar better, gets more recognition, has an edgier band, has a larger choir, gets called to a bigger church, sings with more passion, has a healthier relationship with his/her pastor, writes better songs or has a better platform presence.

Sometimes instead of trying to improve our own worship leading skills or being willing to champion the worship leading successes of our colleagues, the Tall Poppy Syndrome causes us to assume and even publicly claim that the success of others must only have been possible through stylistic superficiality, musical adulteration or theological compromise.

Worship Leader envy is irrational and covetous discontent as the result of another’s perceived superior qualities, advantages, achievements and successes. Arthur Chapman wrote, “Envy is like a fly that passes all the body’s sounder parts, and dwells upon the sores.”

Envy is like looking to the left or right while running on a treadmill…your feet follow your eyes and usually cause a fall. Contentment, on the other hand, runs the race by fixing its eyes on Jesus.

“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” Harold Coffin

 

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15 Worship Lies

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Lies

It starts and stops with the opening and closing song.
New is relevant.
It’s a Sunday event.
Old is stale.
Music is necessary.
It requires noise.
Renewal means change.
It has to be happy.
It was better back then.
Multigenerational isn’t possible.
It’s separate from or secondary to the preaching.
It must be rational and explainable.
It should reflect culture.
Reaching people is its goal.
What’s in it for me is a valid question.
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Tired of Worship Wars? Come to the Table!

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communionOn the night of His betrayal and arrest Jesus prayed that all of us would be one just as He and the Father are one (John 17:1-2). And yet, worship conflict and the absence of congregational community continues to move our focus away from Jesus’ desire for all men to be reconciled in “one body to God through the cross” (Eph 2:16).

Congregations attempt to create community through song selections or by trying to develop relationships through activities and affinities. What these congregations are missing is the realization that the foundation of healthy community is already available and waiting for them at the Communion Table.

Paul spoke of Communion as the fellowship of sharing in the body and blood of Christ. Henri Nouwen wrote, “Precisely because the table is the place of intimacy for all the members of the household, it is also the place where the absence of that intimacy is most painfully revealed.”[1]

Two relationships should be evident in the celebration at the Table: a vertical Communion with Christ through partaking of the elements; and a horizontal Communion of believers unified in identity. Both of these relationships can’t be manufactured just by teaching new songs or protecting old ones.

Communion must not only be a time of personal assessment, but also a time of corporate appraisal. Since the Table is the place of intimacy, it is around the Table that we rediscover our relationship with each other. It’s the place where we pray and ask: “How was your day?” It’s the place where we eat and drink together and say: “Come on, take some more!” It is the place of old and new stories. It is the place of smiles and tears.[2]

In this communal act, as with the disciples, Jesus accepts the invitation to sit at the table with us. Transformation occurs when Jesus, who was the guest, becomes the host and invites the congregation into Communion with Him.[3]  So when we accept His invitation to join Him at the Table we are reminded that, “The Lord’s Supper not only gathers a community, it creates a community.”[4]

Henri Nouwen wrote, “God created in our heart a yearning for communion that no one but God can, and wants to fulfill. God knows this. We seldom do. We keep looking somewhere else for that experience of belonging. We look at the splendor of nature, the excitement of history, and the attractiveness of people, but that simple breaking of the bread, so ordinary and unspectacular, seems such an unlikely place to find the communion for which we yearn.”[5]

Creating community through activities or even musical selections is a shallow attempt to manufacture what is already available at the Communion Table. When we gather at the table on level ground with a common purpose…our eyes will be opened…we will see Christ again…and we will see each other with new eyes through the breaking of the bread. Community begins and worship wars end there!

 


[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, With Burning Hearts (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1994), 74-75.

[2] Nouwen, With Burning Hearts, 74-75.

[3] Ibid., 77.

[4] Leonard J. Vander Zee, Christ, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004), 157.

[5] Nouwen, With Burning Hearts, 89.

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Open Letter to Modern Worship Music Haters

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hatersDear Modern Worship Music Hater,

The 7-11 modern worship song moniker that might have been humorous two decades ago is no longer funny or accurate. Using all-encompassing labels to denigrate newer songs indicates you haven’t recently read the text of many of those songs.

CCLI now contains over 300,000 worship songs and hymns. If some of those songs are theologically superficial, then don’t use them. After eliminating the shallow ones you’ll still have a couple of hundred thousand songs with profound theological depth that can be used. If you still feel the need to use derogatory labels for songs with repeated phrases, then at least be consistent by including How Great Thou Art since those 4 words are repeated 17 times in that 4-stanza hymn.

Criticism of one in order to elevate another often has the opposite effect. So trying to defend hymns by vilifying modern worship songs is not fair to those beloved hymns that have helped and continue to help us sing our faith. If hymns can’t stand on their own, then we shouldn’t be singing them. If, however, they can stand on their own as many of us believe they can, then they don’t really need our feeble attempts to prop them up. They will endure in spite of our criticisms or defenses.

Is it possible that defending hymns by criticizing modern worship songs is really just an act of self-defense? Labeling modern worship songs as shallow or too easy are the same epithets used to denigrate that new girl in the middle-school classroom. Both disparagements are desperate attempts to guard territory or protect status.

So it’s time to honestly admit that your disdain is primarily musical or emotional, not theological. It’s time to admit that you just don’t really like modern worship songs and are lamenting the loss of a life-long musical and textual encourager. And it’s time to admit you are missing worship service opportunities to sing familiar texts and tunes that allow you to express your joy and grief.

Honestly voicing those emotions as the root of your disdain instead of labels and ad hominem criticisms is really where the conversation should begin. When the discourse begins here, it’s time for those of us from all genres to acknowledge that your emotions are understandable and even defendable.  Maybe those honest and heart-felt conversations could be the starting point to help us all find worship common ground.

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A Lorica for the New Year

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breastplateA Lorica is a prayer recited for protection. This Latin word originally meant armor or breastplate. Knights would place verbal inscriptions on their shield or breastplate for recitation before going into battle.

The Lorica of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland is called St. Patrick’s Breastplate or the Deer’s Cry. The story is that Patrick recited this prayer to protect him and his followers as they faced persecution for sharing Christianity across Ireland. As the Celtic Christians chanted this prayer, it is said that the Druid’s waiting to kill them saw deer, not men.

One of the best-known verses of St. Patrick’s Breastplate can also serve as a Lorica for us as we face the disappointments, grief, fear, doubt and hopelessness that any new year might bring.

Christ with me,
 Christ before me,
 Christ behind me,
 Christ in me,
 Christ beneath me,
 Christ above me,
 Christ on my right,
 Christ on my left,
 Christ when I lie down,
 Christ when I sit down,
 Christ when I arise,
 Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
 Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
 Christ in every eye that sees me,
 Christ in every ear that hears me.

 Lorica of Saint Patrick

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Why Grandparents and Grandchildren Can’t Worship Together

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multigenerationalIn an effort to appease multiple generations and minimize conflict, worship leaders either attempt to seek a watered down stylistic and musical common ground or they divide congregants along age and preference lines. Except in rare cases, it appears from both efforts that the worshiping culture suffers and all generations lose. The impasse is the result of trying to accommodate the musical tastes of congregations that include both 20th and 21st century worshipers.

Gary Parrett and Steven Kang wrote, “Churches must realize that it takes the whole community of faith to raise the children of that community in the faith. But, many American churches have moved with fierce determination to separate the generations from one another to provide more generation specific ministry.

Tragically, such an approach to ministry can easily have the effect of encouraging the segregated ‘generations’ to be unduly absorbed with their own needs and to have little concern for others. This runs both ways – from older to younger and younger to older. But it is the younger who suffer most in such an arrangement. And it is the older who will have to give account for shirking their God-appointed duties toward the young.”[1]

Differences between 20th and 21st century worshipers:

  • 20th century worshipers are linear, written text and physical; 21st century worshipers are multi-sensory, hypertext and virtual.
  • 20th century worshipers are independent and independence is owned; 21st century worshipers are collaborative and collaborative is shared.
  • 20th century worshipers are stationary for a lifetime; 21st century worshipers are mobile for a season.
  • 20th century worshipers are deductive and deductive is top-down; 21st century worshipers are inductive and inductive is bottom-up. Note: The weakness of inductive is its limitations in building doctrine. The weakness of deductive is its susceptibility to being infected with dogma.
  • 20th century worshipers are local; 21st century worshipers are global.
  • 20th century worship is routinized. Since it has worked for generations why change? Routine is predictable and we like predictable; 21st century worship is creative. Since it has been around for generations, why not try something new? Creativity is unpredictable and we like unpredictable.

Obviously, the previous list is a generalization. If, however, even a few of those differences are evident in the cultures of our congregations how can we ever hope to find worship common ground? The answer is…we probably can’t…at least not in those differences.

Intergenerational worship is only possible if our common ground is deference instead of preference. Deference is a learned and practiced submission based on conviction, preference is based on feeling and traditionalism.

Deference encourages worshipers to respond in spite of the traditionalism and embedded theology that previously influenced their thinking and actions. The willingness to defer to others offers a common ground that style and musical preferences never will.

Deference is the agreement that although we may not always love the music of our children and grandchildren…we are willing to sacrifice because we love our children and grandchildren. Deferring is setting aside our preferences for the good of and future of those children and grandchildren.

So it is actually possible for grandparents and grandchildren to worship together as long as the battle lines are drawn over who can offer or give the most instead of who deserves or demands the most.

 


[1] Gary A. Parrett and S. Steve Kang, Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity, 2009), 152.

 

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Why God Doesn’t Like Hymns

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HymnsMusic that pleases God is not contingent on what we sing. It is, instead, pleasing to God because of the character and attitude of those who sing it.

The psalmist points out that God takes pleasure in the praise of His people through music…”Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149:3-4). Zephaniah wrote, “the Lord our God is with us and rejoices over us with singing” (Zeph 3:17).

If the Father takes pleasure in our praise and also sings over us, then are there certain musical genres He takes more pleasure in or likes to sing over us more than others? Can we assume God can’t stand modern worship songs or hymns just because we can’t stand them? Even though we may not actually verbally affirm those assumptions, our worship actions and attitudes often convey that egoism.

Scripture speaks to the issue of worship that is or isn’t pleasing to God on several occasions. The prophet Micah condemned Israel’s dishonest, corrupt, and meaningless worship by pointing out what God considers good worship and what he really requires, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Amos criticized music that is ego driven when he wrote, “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice – oceans of it. I want fairness – rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want” (Amos 5:21-23 The Message).

The book of Isaiah indicates which songs God doesn’t prefer when the author writes, “The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13).

We will never worship in spirit and truth when we only see worship with linear eyes through the lens of our favorite music; when we claim to know what God likes because he likes what we know; when we assume my favorite worship music is also God’s favorite worship music; or when we believe relevant worship began and will end with the music of my generation.

May the words of Paul be our prayer as we sing our hymns and modern worship songs together, “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ – the Message – have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God” (Colossians 3:15-16 The Message)!

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Terminated Worship Pastor Lament

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lament

Terminated Worship Pastor Lament

 

Clear my name, God; stick up for me

against these loveless, immoral people.

Get me out of here, away

from these lying degenerates.

I counted on you, God.

Why did you walk out on me?

Why am I pacing the floor, wringing my hands

over these outrageous people?

 

Give me your lantern and compass,

give me a map,

So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,

to the place of your presence,

To enter the place of worship,

meet my exuberant God,

Sing my thanks with a harp,

magnificent God, my God.

 

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God –

soon I’ll be praising again.

He puts a smile on my face.

He’s my God.

  Psalm 43 – The Message – Eugene H. Peterson

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Knowledge – Wisdom = Shallow Worship

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WisdomWorship Knowledge is a working understanding of worship facts and ideas. It is information attained through study, observation, investigation, education and experience. Worship Wisdom, on the other hand, is discerning which aspects of that worship knowledge are appropriate for any given situation.

 

  • Knowledge is encouraged. Wisdom is mandatory.
  • Knowledge helps you secure a position. Wisdom will help you keep it.
  • Knowledge understands how to do it. Wisdom discerns when to do it.
  • Knowledge comprehends the need for worship change. Wisdom determines when and how to implement it.
  • Knowledge can conduct various beat patterns. Wisdom determines if they contribute to or distract from congregational singing.
  • Knowledge speaks the worship languages of younger generations. Wisdom balances those with the worship languages of previous generations.
  • Knowledge understands technology. Wisdom determines when less of it is more.
  • Knowledge is conversant in obscure musical terms. Wisdom keeps most of them to itself.
  • Knowledge has the biblical and theological education to correct the pastor. Wisdom lets his wife do it.
  • Knowledge has enough expertise to do it alone. Wisdom values collaboration.
  • Knowledge understands and imitates the culture. Wisdom figures out how to impact it.
  • Knowledge learns the newest songs. Wisdom realizes that not all are appropriate for congregational singing.
  • Knowledge can appear to know it all. Wisdom readily admits it might not know what it doesn’t know.
  • Knowledge identifies the plan and sticks to it. Wisdom welcomes divine interruptions.

Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass.

                                                                                                  — Japanese Proverb

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What Must We Sacrifice for Our Children?

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living sacrificeWe go to great lengths and personal expense to make sure our children and grandchildren have the best clothes, schools, lessons and coaches. We begin economizing and genericizing the moment they are born in order to save money and set it aside for the best of college educations. We surrender our own personal wants, preferences and even needs so that they will have everything necessary for a successful future. In fact, most of us would literally give our own lives for our children and grandchildren because no sacrifice is too great…except maybe when it comes to our worship music preferences. Mitch Albom wrote, “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”[1]

Sacrifice is surrendering for the sake of something or someone. It is the act of giving up, offering up or letting go. A baseball bunt is a sacrifice for the sole purpose of advancing another runner. Executing this sacrifice is called laying down a bunt. What if parents and grandparents had that same disposition when it came to their musical preferences?

Sacrificing our preferences should never compromise biblically, theologically or doctrinally but often requires us to make adjustments in order to accommodate generationally and systematically. Gary Parrett and Steven Kang wrote, “Churches must realize that it takes the whole community of faith to raise the children of that community in the faith.”[2]

Sacrificing our worship preferences is only possible when our common ground is deference instead of preference. Deference is a learned and practiced submission based on conviction…preference is based on feeling and tradition. Deference encourages worshipers to respond in spite of the traditions and embedded theology that previously influenced their thinking and actions. Deference is the agreement that although we may not always like the music of our children and grandchildren…we are willing to sacrifice our own preferences because of our love for those children and grandchildren.

In the book of Romans, Paul focused on the divisions by which we segregate ourselves. In the twelfth chapter he wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.” Terry York and David Bolin wrote, “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas. If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”[3]


[1] Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (New York: Hyperion, 2003).

[2] Gary A. Parrett and S. Steve Kang, Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity, 2009), 152.

[3] Terry W. York and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 108.

 

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Senior Pastor/Worship Pastor Relational Contract

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Relational contractA relational contract is a voluntary agreement between two or more parties that clarifies the expectations of their association in order to diminish conflict, encourage unity, inspire trust and foster mutual accountability.

What if you and your Senior Pastor or you and your Worship Pastor planned and prepared worship with a relational contractual agreement as one of the foundational components of your leadership? Can you imagine the worship health potential this could offer your congregation?

Unfortunately, this type of worship leading relationship rarely occurs because leaders often function as independent contractors reliant on their own strength, ability, methods, processes and talent.

Implementing a Senior Pastor and Worship Pastor relational contract will require a level of sacrifice and trust that is not guarded, territorial, defensive or competitive. It could serve as a useful guide to hold each other accountable to the unified goal of fulfilling and helping each other fulfill the mission of your church. But it will obviously never occur unless and until both parties are willing to embrace it.

Consider the following contract sample as a place to begin:

 

Senior Pastor/Worship Pastor Relational Contract

In an effort to more effectively lead, exhort, teach and model healthy worship, we as the primary worship leaders agree to adhere to the following relational guiding principles. We understand that the worship of our congregation will never be completely healthy until our relationship as its leaders is also healthy.

____________, Senior Pastor        _____________, Worship Pastor

We agree that we will…

  • Maintain a collaborative spirit that supports worship and preaching as complementary, not competitive.
  • Publicly and privately acknowledge the value of our unique callings, leadership styles, gifts and competencies.
  • Listen as often as we speak.
  • Partner in leading and teaching worship that moves beyond musical style alone to deeper biblical and theological content.
  • Communicate our disagreements in private without fear of retribution.
  • Make every effort to be approachable, available and accountable to each other.
  • Affirm in public; correct, instruct, coach and mentor in private; and pastor each other at all times.
  • Consider shared ministry as a partnership that does not threaten but instead strengthens our leadership.
  • Initiate intentional significant conversations that include our hopes, dreams, goals, expectations, plans, concerns and evaluations.
  • Invest in the personal and spiritual development of each other with no ulterior motive.
  • Preserve loyalty, trust, respect and friendship.
  • Work toward a common philosophy of worship and ministry.
  • Pray consistently for and with each other.
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Stop Attending Worship Conferences!

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don't jumpMy childhood home was located next door to a small strip mall consisting of a radio and television shop, various business offices and a pharmacy at the far end of the mall. The view from my upstairs bedroom window was the roofline of those small shops and stores.

My parents were awakened one night by the pharmacy burglar alarm. After contacting the police, my dad also woke me up to let me know what was occurring. We watched in the darkness of my bedroom as a thief attempted to access the pharmacy through its roof with a pickaxe.

When the police arrived the burglar tried to elude them by running across the rooftops toward our house. It was obvious that he intended to jump between the stores and our home to escape capture. My always-prepared dad temporarily blinded the intruder by pointing the beam of a huge flashlight in his eyes the moment he jumped.

From the street it appeared that our house and the strip mall were only one-story structures. Because of the slope of the side yard, however, where the thief intended to jump was actually three-stories high. The hapless criminal landed in a heap on our metal garbage cans and was easily apprehended and arrested. He jumped blindly before considering all of the circumstances or potential consequences. 

If your post-worship-conference-pattern is to imitate and implement everything you see without considering how or if it might fit in the culture or context of your own congregation…stop attending worship conferences. If your congregants dread your return from the conference since this pattern occurs after every event…stop attending worship conferences. And if you are disappointed in and critical of your people when they can’t imitate what you observed and experienced…stop attending worship conferences.

If, however, you can attend worship conferences and filter the valuable insights through the worship language of your uniquely positioned and distinctly designed congregation, then by all means attend as many of those conferences as your budget and calendar will allow.

Suggested Filters

  • Listen and observe while giving consideration to where and whom God has called you to serve, not where or whom you wish He had called you to serve.
  • Determine if what you observe out there complements the gifts of those you already have in here.
  • If imitation is the highest form of flattery, ask yourself whom it is you are trying to flatter.
  • Attend conference sessions based on how you might improve the worship language of your congregation, not based on how you might appear to your friends.
  • Consider that future ministry success may reside primarily in the revitalization of your attitude as the leader.
  • Take into consideration the past and present circumstances that frame your existing worship language.
  • Determine if it is possible that the only new necessary is for your group to do what they are already doing…better.
  • Don’t tune out the learning that is also available in the conversations during breaks and meals.
  • Remember the old idiom look before you leap before blindly implementing what you observe and learn.
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Conditional Worship

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conditionalA conditional statement is one that is put in the form of if A, then B where A is designated as the premise, hypothesis, or antecedent and B the conclusion or consequent.

If…then statements are used extensively in the form of logic referred to as deductive reasoning.

Can we determine if spirit and truth worship is actually conditional using this form of logic?  And if it is conditional, couldn’t we then develop a universal recipe for worship success?  The short answer is yes but our premises and conclusions are often flawed.

The universal hypothesis and the place where worship conflict often originates is in our reasoning that if we sing it and play it in a certain way…then worship will occur.  If hymns, then worship; if praise songs, then worship; if organ…if guitar…if casual…if formal…if scripted…if spontaneous…the antecedents are endless.

If the certain way can vary from person to person and congregation to congregation, then that same reasoning would also cause us to conclude, conversely, that if it is not sung or played in a certain way, then worship will not occur.

If how we sing and play our music is necessary for worship to occur…then music has devolved into a tool for worship preparation only.  Instead of offering us a way to express our worship it serves as foreplay for our worship.  If we are leading worship with this premise, then at what point does our music evolve from worship preparation to actual worship?

Worship is indeed conditional but the conditions are not of our own making.  Those conditions have already been met…Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. If we affirm this mystery of our faith…then how can we keep from worshiping?  If worship is our response to how these truths have been and continue to be manifested in our lives, then worship will occur in spite of what we sing and play or how we sing and play, not as a result of it.

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What Are You Reading About Worship? Bibliography 2003-2013

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bibliographyWhat are you reading about worship?  Are you reading about worship is probably the more penetrating question.  The words of Eric Hoffer are profound as congregations consider worship renewal and the potential changes that might be required for that renewal.  Hoffer stated, “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

When those who lead worship stop learning, they stop leading.  It is much easier to coast through ministry relying solely on what we once learned…but is that what we been called to do?  A lifelong learner is one who understands that it is never too soon or too late to learn.

My friend, Eric Benoy, Director of the Martin Music Library at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has compiled a Worship Bibliography of books and resources written in the last decade. The list is not exhaustive but it is extensive.  This is a helpful resource for those longing to stay current with the understanding of worship renewal as an ongoing process.

Worship Resources

An Eclectic, Non-Comprehensive

Bibliography for the Years 2003-2013

Martin Music Library

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

The Baptist Church Music Conference

Why another bibliography?  Why now?  What is different?

Worship is a broad and complex topic.  Herein is but a sampling of materials on the subject of Christian Worship.  They range from the historical to the current, from adults to children, from contemporary to liturgical, and from the academic to the practical.  The catalog of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary alone has over 2,500 titles dealing with Christian Worship from the last 60 years, so an exhaustive bibliography just is not feasible.

Many people do not have the time to spend in bookstores, whether brick and mortar or online, looking for resources, let alone to spend time perusing through all the books on the subject.  Some do not have access to specialized database resources to find materials.  Some may simply either lack searching skills or are overwhelmed by the amount of material our there.  Please note that this list does not include all of the masters and doctoral theses on the subject.

This bibliography contains over 220 titles and is meant to assist the user in knowing, in large part, what is current in this vast and changing field.  How so?

1.  The list covers just the last decade; the materials are still fairly current

2.  The list is in descending chronological order, beginning with titles from 2013

3.  The list involves a broad spectrum of traditions in the subject area of Christian Worship

4.  The list includes, where possible, the contents or summary of the title

If you would like an electronic copy of this bibliography, please feel free to e-mail me: Ebenoy@nobts.edu

Blessings!

Eric Benoy

Director, Martin Music Library

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

 

MacArthur, John.  Worship: The Ultimate Priority.  Moody Publishers, 2012.

Contents:  What the world needs now ‑‑ How shall we then worship? ‑‑ Worship is a way of life ‑‑ Saved to worship ‑‑God : Is he? Who is he? ‑‑ The unchanging, omnipotent God ‑‑ The God who is everywhere, and knows everything ‑‑ Holy, holy, holy ‑‑ A new era dawns ‑‑ This must be the place ‑‑ Worship the Father ‑‑ Worship in spirit and in truth ‑‑ Glory to God in the highest ‑‑ How to glorify God ‑‑ Worship as it was meant to be ‑‑ Appendix. With hearts and  minds and voices.

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MacArthur, John.  Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship.  Thomas Nelson Incorporated, 2013.

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Miller, Kim. REdesigning Churches: Creating Spaces for Connection and Community.  Abingdon Press, 2013.

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Gray, L. Lavon.  Hungry for Worship: Challenges and Solutions for Today’s Church. New Hope Publishers, 2013.

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Duck, Ruth.  Worship for the Whole People of God: Textbook for Christian Worship. Westminster John Knox Press, 2013.

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Angle-Young, Teresa.  Unconnected: How Worship and Preaching Can Bring Young Adults Back to Church.  Abingdon Press,  2013

** Not Yet Published **

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Weem, Lovett H., Jr. and Tom Berlin.  Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance and Bear More Fruit.  Abingdon Press,  2013.

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Carroll, Joseph S.  How to Worship Jesus Christ: Experiencing His Manifest Presence.  Moody Publishers, 2013.

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Miller, Stephen.  Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rockstars.  Moody Publishers,  2013.

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Hays, Rita B.  Worship the Lord with Gladness: God’s Children in Worship.  Abingdon Press,  2013.

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Castleman, Robbie.  Story‑Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History.  InterVarsity Press,  2013.

** Not Yet Published **

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Boswell, Matt.  Doxology and Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader.  B&H Publishing Group, 2013.

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Sproul, R. C.  How Then Shall We Worship?: Biblical Principles to Guide Us Today.  David C. Cook, 2013.

** Not Yet Published **

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The Worship Sourcebook.  2nded.  Baker Books, 2013.

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Cosper, Mike.  Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel.  Crossway,  2013.

Contents:   The song of Eden ‑‑ Worship in the wilderness ‑‑ The song of Israel ‑‑ The song of Jesus ‑‑ Worship one, two, three ‑‑ Worship as spiritual formation ‑‑ Worship and the story of the church ‑‑ Liturgy and the rhythms of grace ‑‑ Sing, sing, sing ‑‑ The pastoral worship leader.

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Wenham, Gordon.  The Psalter Reclaimed: Praying and Praising with the Psalms.  Crossway, 2013.

Contents:  What are we doing singing the Psalms? ‑‑Praying the Psalms ‑‑ Reading the Psalms canonically ‑‑ Reading the Psalms messianically‑‑ Ethics of the Psalms ‑‑ Imprecatory Psalms ‑‑ Psalm 103: the song of steadfast love ‑‑ Psalms and the nations.

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Prutow, Dennis.  Public Worship 101: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Worship, the Elements of Worship, Exclusive Psalmody, and a Cappella Psalmody.  Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary,  2013.

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Smith, James K. A.  Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works.  Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2013.

Contents:  Introduction : a sentimental education : on Christian action ‑‑ Pt. 1: Incarnate significance : the body as background. Erotic comprehension ‑‑The social body ‑‑ Pt. 2: Sanctified perception. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live” : how worship works ‑‑Restor(y)ing the world : Christian formation for mission.  Sidebars: PICTURING THIS. Picturing the end of worship ‑‑ Picturing the limitations of worldview : reading Wendell Berry in Costco ‑‑ Picturing love and worship in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest B Picturing a feel for the world in Bright Star ‑‑ Picturing kinaesthetic conversion in The King’s Speech ‑‑ Picturing the pedagogy of insignificance with Carson McCullers ‑‑ Picturing secular liturgies in Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine ‑‑ Picturing the sanctification of perception in Jewish morning prayer ‑‑ Picturing a reflective, sentimental education ‑‑ TO THINK ABOUT. Longing lead to action ‑‑ Learning the hard way when it’s the only way ‑‑ Shaping a worldview in Downton Abbey ‑‑ Existential maps of our world ‑‑ Chicken sexing and nonconscious knowledge ‑‑ Motor intentionality in Rise of the Planet of the Apes ‑‑ “Catching” sleep ‑‑ Newman on faith as love ‑‑ Schooling as ritual performance ‑‑ Slouching toward ritual ‑‑ Metaphor as godfire‑‑ I can’t say; let me tell you a story ‑‑ War games ‑‑ Imagining the reformation of manners ‑‑ Story and the economy of abundance ‑‑ The poetry of prayer ‑‑ Praying a world(view) ‑‑ Love’s litany.

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Adler, Barbara Laughlin.  The Sound of Scripture: Reading the Bible Aloud, A Brief Guide for Lay Readers.  Lutheran University Press, 2012.

Contents:  Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it (Rev 1:3) ‑‑ Rediscovering the sound of scripture, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture (I Timothy 4) ‑‑ Creating an expressive voice, let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6) ‑‑ Keys to understanding Biblical literature, accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:1‑2, niv) ‑‑ Tell the story, reading Biblical narratives and histories ‑‑ Recite the verse, reading Biblical poetry ‑‑ Teach them, reading wisdom literature ‑‑ Top ten techniques for effective readings ‑‑ Bible’s mandate to read aloud.

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Van Opstal, Sandra.  The Mission of Worship.  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012.

Contents:  Purpose 1: Experiencing God ‑‑ Worship in many forms ‑‑ Worship and culture ‑‑ Purpose 2: Embracing God’s mission ‑‑ Worship and reconciliation ‑‑ Worship and justice ‑‑ Worship without mission is not worhsip. Mission without worship is not God’s mission ‑‑ Worship can mobilize people for mission ‑‑ Conclusion: Walking with both feet.

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Lathrop, Gordon.  The Four Gospels on Sunday: The New Testament and the Reform of Christian Worship.  Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.

Contents:  Introduction : The four beasts of Revelation and the gospels ‑‑ Part I. The Four Beasts : The Gospels and Early Christian Worship : ‑‑ 1. Beginnings : Assemblies, “gospel,” gospels ‑‑ 2. The gospels and meal meatings‑‑ 3. Mark in detail : “There you will see HIm” ‑‑ 4. Matthew and Luke in detail : word and meal in the churches ‑‑ 5. John in detail : signs and discourses on Sunday ‑‑ Part II.  The Beasts on Our Sundays : Assembly According to the Gospel : ‑‑ 6. Word, sacrament, and assembly according to the gospel ‑‑ 7. Leadership according to the gospel ‑‑ 8. The reforming gospels : renewing the biblical‑liturgical movement

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VanNeste, Ray and C. Richard Wells.  Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship.  Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2012.

Contents:  Sec. 1: Biblical and historical foundations. Words to grow into : the Psalms as formative speech / John D. Witvliet‑‑ Always alleluia : reclaiming the true purpose of the Psalms in the Old Testament context / C. John Collins ‑‑ Ancient songs and apostolic preaching : how the New Testament laid claim to the Psalms / Ray Van Neste‑‑ Prepared for prayer : the Psalms in early Christian worship / Craig A. Blaising‑‑ Biblical poetry in a postbiblical, postpoetry world / Douglas Bond ‑‑ Delighting in doctrine : word and worship in Psalm 1 / Ray Ortlund, Jr. ‑‑ Sec. 2: Practice. How I introduced Psalm singing to my church without getting fired! / James H. Grant, Jr. ‑‑ Reclaiming the Psalms in pastoral prayer : a true story / C. Richard Wells ‑‑ Reclaiming the Psalms for private worship /  Leland Ryken‑‑ Why we need to learn to cry in church : reclaiming the Psalms of lament / Calvin Seerveld‑‑ Performing the Psalms : reclaiming the Psalms for corporate and communal worship / James Richard Joiner ‑‑ The cry of the heart and the cure of the soul : interpreting the Psalms for pastoral care ; The psalm of the cross as the psalm of Christ / C. Richard Wells ‑‑ Conclusion / C. Richard Wells.

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Scullion, Gail and Tim Scullion.  How To Start a Contemporary Music Service At Your Church.  Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

Contents:  Preface‑‑ Why do we need a contemporary worship service? ‑‑ The difference between a contemporary and traditional service ‑‑ Lots of singers, no musicians ‑‑ Remaining relevant to the message B Keeping egos in check: spirit‑led verses [sic] performance‑based worship ‑‑ Rehearsals: how to make them run smoothly ‑‑ What it takes to lead a group ‑‑ Branching out: creating a musical outreach program ‑‑ Purchasing musical equipment: what is right for your church ‑‑ Visual equipment: how to enhance the worship service ‑‑ Conflict of interests: clash of musical genres among the members of the group ‑‑ Mentoring to the youth through the music ‑‑ A divided church? ways to unify the two services.

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Bratt, James D., ed..  By the Vision of Another World: Worship in American History.  Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2012.

Contents:  Introduction : transmitting other worlds / James D. Bratt‑‑ Essays. Liturgy, literacy, and worship in Puritan Anglo‑America, 1560‑1670 / Harry S. Stout ‑‑ Worship, experience, and the creation of Methodist place / Ruth Alden Doan ‑‑ Horizons of faith : San Antonio Tejanos in the Texas republic / Timothy Matovina‑‑ “You better set your house in order” : worship ritual and Black church life in Jim Crow Georgia / Paul Harvey ‑‑Cultivatin soil and soul : the intersection of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and the American liturgical movement, 1920‑60 / Michael Woods B Rites of the tribes : two Protestant congregations in a twentieth‑century city / James D. Bratt‑‑ Generations : American Catholics since the 1950s / Leslie Woodcock Tentler‑‑ Commentaries. Recovering the spiritual in American religious history / George M. Marsden ‑‑History : about worship, or for the sake of worship? : reflections from practical theology / Dorothy C. Bass ‑‑ Liturgy’s passions and polarities / Joyce Ann Zimmerman.

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Towns, Elmer L. and Vernon M. Whaley.  Worship Through the Ages: How the Great Awakenings Shape Evangelical Worship.  Nashville: B & H Academic, 2012.

Contents:  Worship in the Old Testament, Part 1 ‑‑ Worship in the Old Testament, Part 2 ‑‑ Pentecost: a new expression of worship (AD 30‑100) ‑‑ Christianity sweeps across the Greco‑Roman world (AD 100‑ 500) ‑‑ The Middle Ages (the Dark Ages) (500‑1500) ‑‑ Reformation (1517) ‑‑ The awakening in Europe and America (1727‑1790) ‑‑ The camp meeting awakenings (1780‑1820) ‑‑ The Sunday school and Charles Finney revivals (1820‑1850) ‑‑ The laymen’s prayer revival (1857‑1890) ‑‑ The Welsh revival (1904‑1906) ‑‑ The Azusa Street revival (1906‑1908) ‑‑ The revivalists and great evangelistic campaigns, Part 1 (1890‑1935) ‑‑ The revivalists and great evangelistic campaigns, Part 2 (1935‑1960) ‑‑ The baby boomer revival, Part 1 (1965‑1985) ‑‑ The baby boomer revival, Part 2 (1965‑1985) ‑‑ Moving toward a twenty‑first‑century great worship awakening.

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Steele, Ed.  Worship HeartCries: Personal Preparation for Corporate Worship.  Worship HeartCries Ministries, 2012.     **[e-book format]**

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Marti, Gerardo.  Worship Across the Racial Divide: Religious Music and the Multiracial Congregation.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Contents:  Introduction: the dream of diversity and the dilemma of music ‑‑ Popular beliefs about worship in multiracial churches ‑‑ African Americans as the icon of “true worship” ‑‑ Worship experience and music selection in multiracial churches ‑‑ The naïve experience of worship in multiracial churches ‑‑ The challenge of leading multiracial worship ‑‑ Variety and intentionality in the design of multiracial worship ‑‑ “Have you seen our gospel choir?”: conspicuous color in multiracial worship ‑‑ Interracial community through multiracial worship practices ‑‑ Conclusion: mystical worship and the reality of practice.

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McGraw, Ryan M.  The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.  Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011.

Contents:  The general importance of the Sabbath ‑‑ The importance of God’s day of worship ‑‑ The presuppositions of Isaiah 58:13‑14 ‑‑ Revisiting Isaiah 58:13‑14 ‑‑ Worldliness ‑‑ What is missing? ‑‑The reformed application of the law ‑‑ Some general practical observations ‑‑ Legalism? ‑‑The eternal Sabbath.

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Humphrey, Edith McEwan.  Grand Entrance: Worship on Earth As in Heaven.  Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2011.

Contents:  Introduction: The crisis of corporate worship and the life of the church ‑‑ “Teach us to pray” : what is worship, and where does corporate worship fit? ‑‑ “Praise God in his sanctuary” : worship as entrance in the Old Testament ‑‑ “In spirit and in truth” : entrance in the New Testament ‑‑ “From you comes praise” : traditional liturgies of the East ‑‑ “In the great congregation” : traditional liturgies of the West ‑‑ “Your church unsleeping” : expressions of worship today ‑‑ “That your prayers not be hindered” : avoiding pitfalls in corporate worship ‑‑ Conclusion: “To sing is a lover’s thing”.

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Begbie, Jeremy S., ed.   Resonant witness: Conversations Between Music and Theology.  Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2011.

Contents:  Augustine and the art of music / Carol Harrison ‑‑ Material : Philip the Chancellor and the reception of Aristotle’s Physics / Nancy van Deusen‑‑ “So faith comes from what is heard” : the relationship between music and God’s word in the first two centuries of German Lutheranism / Joyce Irwin ‑‑ Created beauty : the witness of J. S. Bach / Jeremy S. Begbie‑‑ On music, mathematics, and theology : Pythagoras, the mind, and human agency / John Paul Ito ‑‑ Music as the mouthpiece of theology / Daniel K. L. Chua ‑‑ The shock of the positive : Olivier Messiaen, St. Francis, and redemption through modernity / Robert Sholl‑‑ Quasi una sonata : modernism, postmodernism, religion, and music / Catherine Pickstock‑‑ The integration of music and theology in the vocal compositions of J. S. Bach / Richard J. Plantinga‑‑ “Parables” and “polyphony” : the resonance of music as witness in the theology of Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer / David J. R. S. Moseley ‑‑ Musical time and eschatology / Alastair Borthwick ; Trevor Hart ; Anthony Monti‑‑ Improvising texts, improvising communities : jazz, interpretation, heterophony, and the ekklesia / Bruce Ellis Benson ‑‑ Faithful feelings : music and emotion in worship / Jeremy S. Begbie‑‑ Music for the love feast : Hildegard of Bingen and the Song of Songs / Margot Fassler‑‑ The wisdom of song / Steven R. Guthrie ‑‑ The truth shall set you free : song, struggle, and solidarity in South Africa / C. Michael Hawn ‑‑ The singing of Jesus / Michael O’Connor.

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Wheeler, David A.  The Great Commission To Worship: Biblical Principles for Worship‑Based Evangelism.  Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2011.

Contents:  The mandate of worship and the great commission ‑‑ Becoming a great commission worshipper ‑‑ Living a new model for worship ‑‑ Great commission worship is formational ‑‑ Great commission worship is transformational ‑‑ Great commission worship is relational (part 1) ‑‑ Great commission worship is relational (part 2) ‑‑ Great commission worship is missional‑‑ Great commission worship is reproducible: defining the great commission worshipper (part 1) ‑‑ Great commission worship is reproducible: defining the great commission worshipper (part 2) ‑‑ Great commission worship is reproducible: defining the great commission worshipper (part 3) ‑‑ The results of great commission worship.

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Townley, Cathy.  Missional Worship: Increasing Attendance and Expanding the Boundaries of Your Church.  St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2011.

Contents:   Foreword ‑‑ Introduction ‑‑ Part I: Laying AMissional Foundation For Numerical Growth (Its All About Worship) ‑‑ 1. Make Worship, Not the Worship Service, the goal of Church Life ‑‑ 2. Know your Mission Field ‑‑ 3. Network ‑‑ 4. Pray That god Will Bring a Person of Peace ‑‑ 5. Gather Personal Intercessors ‑‑ Part II: Arranging The Worship Service To Reflect The Worship Lifestyle (Its All About The Worship) ‑‑ 6. Organize Loosely ‑‑ 7. Mimic the MP3 ‑‑ 8. Understand Transitions ‑‑ 9. Always Assume guests Are Present ‑‑ 10. Lead Worship ‑‑ Afterword ‑‑ Addendum

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Noland, Rory.  Worship On Earth As It Is in Heaven: Exploring Worship As A Spiritual Discipline.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

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Jones, Douglas R.  Sound of Worship: A Handbook of Acoustics and Sound System Design for the Church.  Boston: Focal Press, 2011.

Contents:   Sound of Worship ‑‑ The Early Roots of the Church ‑‑ The Formative Years of the Church ‑‑ The Celebratory Worship Style ‑‑ The Catholic‑Orthadox Split ‑‑ Catholic Reform ‑‑ The Acoustics of Celebratory Churches ‑‑ Evangelical Style of Worship ‑‑ The 16th Century Reformers ‑‑ The Reformation in England ‑‑ The Modern Evangelical Church ‑‑ Acoustics of the Evangelical Style Church ‑‑ The Experiential Style ‑‑ The Pentecostals and the Charismatic Movement ‑‑ Acoustics of the Experiential Style Church ‑‑ The Community Worship Style ‑‑ The Anabaptists ‑‑ The Acoustics of the Community Church ‑‑ Introduction to Resources ‑‑ Elements of Church Sound Systems ‑‑ Reverberation and Time Response ‑‑ Noise and Isolation ‑‑ Intelligibility.

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Quicke, Michael J.  Preaching As Worship: An Integrative Approach to Formation in Your Church.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011.

Contents:  An ocean and a bucket ‑‑ Preaching and worship: is there a problem? ‑‑ Beware myopic preaching ‑‑ A fuller definition and deeper theology ‑‑ Preaching in 360‑degree worship ‑‑ Directive Scripture with thoughtful liturgy: part 1 ‑‑ Directive Scripture with thoughtful liturgy: part 2 ‑‑ Toward community formation ‑‑ Integrating elements of community formation ‑‑ Toward a new pattern for big‑picture preaching ‑‑ Beginning well: worship swim stage 1 ‑‑ Being directed: worship swim stages 2 and 3 ‑‑ Continuing strong: worship swim stages 4 and 5 ‑‑ Evaluating and building forward: worship swim stage 6.

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Vann, Jane Rogers.  Worship Matters: A Study for Congregations.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.

Contents:  Not talking about worship ‑‑ The symbolic language of worship ‑‑ Gathering God’s people: a place for worship ‑‑ Dressing the space: making the unseen visible through the arts ‑‑ Enacting worship: using our bodies in worship ‑‑ Timekeeping: liturgical days and seasons ‑‑ Proclaiming God’s praise: liturgical speech ‑‑ Lifting our voices: liturgical song.

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Searcy, Nelson.  Engage: A Guide to Creating Life‑Transforming Worship Services.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011.

Contents:  Why ask why? : determining your philosophy of worship ‑‑Worship : seven principles of life‑transforming worship ‑‑ Wanted : radically transformed lives ‑‑ Laying a solid foundation : how to plan your preaching ‑‑Preaching for life transformation : tips and temptations ‑‑ Below the waterline : building your worship planning system ‑‑ Creative transformation : aligning creative elements for excellence ‑‑ The trial run : conducting a message run‑through ‑‑ Defining relationships : the pastor/worship pastor challenge ‑‑ Evaluating for excellence : the philosophy behind service evaluation ‑‑ Closing the book : how to evaluate and improve your services ‑‑ Conclusion: Five steps to more engaging worship next Sunday.

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Dunn, James D. G.  Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?: The New Testament Evidence.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.

Contents:  The language of worship ‑‑ The practice of worship ‑‑ Monotheism, heavenly mediators, and divine agents ‑‑ The Lord Jesus Christ.

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Pembroke, Neil.  Pastoral Care in Worship: Liturgy and Psychology in Dialogue.  New York: T & T Clark, 2010.

Contents:  pt. 1. Reconciliation : addressing self‑diminishment. Confessions of a sly psyche ‑‑ Shame, confession, and God’s affirming gaze ‑‑ pt. 2. Lament : the therapeutics of complaint. Asserting ourselves before God ‑‑Praying our anger ‑‑ pt. 3. Hope : light in the darkness. Hope needs witnesses‑‑ Hope needs an ironic imagination ‑‑ pt. 4. Communion : life together in Christ. Individualization, Christianization, and the sacraments ‑‑Maintaining self in communion.

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Cherry, Constance M.  The worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010.

Contents:  Phase One: Laying the Foundation for Worship.  Establishing the foundation: biblical worship ‑‑ Setting the cornerstone: worship is centered in Jesus Christ.  Phase Two: Building the Structure for Worship.  Four rooms for encountering God: the general order of worship ‑‑ The first load‑bearing wall: the gathering ‑‑ The second load‑bearing wall: the word ‑‑

The third load‑bearing wall: the table of the Lord ‑‑ The third load‑bearing wall: the alternative response to the word ‑‑ The fourth load‑bearing wall: the sending.  Phase Three: Creating Doors and Windows for Encountering God.  Encountering God in prayer: capturing the heart of worship ‑‑ Encountering God in music: singing the church’s song ‑‑ Encountering God in music: offering “sound” musical leadership ‑‑ Encountering God in the Christian year: remembering the whole narrative.  Phase Four: Adding Style to the Worship Event.  Principles of worship style: expressing your corporate identity ‑‑A more excellent way: exploring convergence.  Phase Five: Nurturing Hospitality at the Worship Event.  The hospitable worship leader: engaging worshipers as participants. Appendix A: Ten basic steps in designing vital worship ; Appendix B: Checklist for designing vital worship.

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Allen, Nan Corbitt.  The Words We Sing: Bringing Meaning to Worship.  Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 2010.

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Linman, Jonathan.  Holy Conversation: Spirituality for Worship.  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.

Contents:  Spirituality, worship, and lectiodivina.Understanding spirituality for worship ;Worship and holy conversation ;Lectiodivina and holy conversation –Meditations on the mass. Preparation, Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Contemplation, Sending.

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Fox, James A.  The Power of Serious Congregational Worship: Building Incredibly Deep and True Churches.  Raleigh, NC: Lulu, 2010.

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Caccamo, James F.  Living Worship  [DVD videorecording]: A Multimedia Resource for Students and Leaders.  Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2010.

Contents:  Living worship in theory and practice (21.5 hours of video covering church service, planning meetings, interviews, and expert commentary; more than 450 pages worth of text; over 400 images documenting the history of the church; a glossary of theology terms; essays covering topics central to congregational worship life; and orders of worship reaching back 50 years) ‑‑ Speaking of worship (90 minutes of interviews with outstanding teachers in homilets, worship, music, the arts, and pastoral rites on vital issues and questions related to worship. Run time : 23 hours)

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Davis, John Jefferson.  Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence.  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010.

Contents:  Introduction : why God has been lost and where we can look to find Him ‑‑ God, the church and the self : searching for reality in evangelical worship ‑‑ Reality in worship : the real presence of God on Sunday morning ‑‑ The Eucharist : meeting the risen Christ at the table ‑‑ From ontology to doxology : from theory to practice in worship renewal ‑‑ Appendix : theology and practice of worship : selected readings.

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Witherington, Ben.  We Have Seen His Glory: A Vision of Kingdom Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2010.

Contents:  We have seen His glory : the day is coming and now is ‑‑ Glorifying the Creator and Redeemer : Revelation 4‑5 ‑‑ Worship as sabbatical ‑‑ The legacy of Judaism ‑‑ Glorifying God in a bolder way B Illuminating the good news ‑‑ Work and worship : labors of love? ‑‑Doxology : the end and aim of all things.

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Williamson, Dave.  God’s Singers: A Guidebook for the Worship Leading Choir in the 21st Century.  Singer’s ed.  Nashville, TN: Worship Leading Choirs International, Incite Media, 2010.

Contents:  How to proceed with a choir devotional, a word to the director ‑‑  Introduction ‑‑  Lampstand one‑ Foundation.  The first stirrings ‑‑  The case for the choir ‑‑  Spiritual performers, or worship leaders? B Three kinds of choirs ‑‑  Lampstand two‑ Relation.  Together is better! ‑‑  Whoever would be great… ‑‑  On playing, and praying ‑‑  And Jesus said, make disciples ‑‑  Lampstand three‑ Education.  The case for excellence ‑‑  Elements of style ‑‑  Why memorize? ‑‑  Lampstand four‑ Celebration!  The four touchpoints‑‑  Quit stepping on my body language ‑‑  Various other applicable thoughts.  Fleshing out the paradigms chart ‑‑  Keep moving forward! ‑‑  Appendices.  My covenant with God ‑‑  Foundational scriptures and their applications ‑‑  Scriptures calling for a response ‑‑  Sample prayer emphasis sheets ‑‑  Answers to “mining the gold” questions.

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Williamson, Dave.  God’s Singers: A Guidebook for the Worship Leading Choir in the 21st Century.  Director’s ed.  Nashville, TN: Worship Leading Choirs International, Incite Media, 2010.

Contents:  Part 1. The what and the why.  Lampstand one‑ Foundation.  The first stirrings ‑‑  The case for the choir ‑‑  Spiritual performers, or worship leaders? ‑‑  Three kinds of choirs ‑‑  Lampstand two‑ Relation.  Together is better! ‑‑  Whoever would be great… ‑‑  On playing, and praying ‑‑  And Jesus said‑‑make disciples ‑‑  Lampstand three‑ Education.  The case for excellence ‑‑  Elements of style ‑‑  Why memorize? ‑‑  Lampstand four‑ Celebration!   The four touchpoints‑‑  Quit stepping on my body language B  Part 2. The how.  Lampstand one‑ Foundation.  Starting a brand new choir ‑‑  Transforming an existing choir into a worship leading choir ‑‑  Fleshing out the paradigms chart ‑‑  Lampstand two‑ Relation.  Interviews‑‑why and how? (CD) ‑‑  Section leaders and shared leadership (plus a special section by Jim Faull on a better way to address choir member accountability) ‑‑  Get outta townB an extra‑ordinary choir retreat ‑‑  Lampstand three‑ Education.  Head‑chart harmony‑‑what it is, and how to teach it (CD) ‑‑  “NPR‑TV” singing techniques‑‑a live! rehearsal (CD) ‑‑  Teaching a new worship song to your choir‑‑another live rehearsal (CD) ‑‑  Focus! Leading a worship leading choir rehearsal ‑‑  Memorizing music without inflicting (undue) pain ‑‑ Lampstand four‑ Celebration.  Planning a worship service‑‑encountering God ‑‑  A sound check with a choir ‑‑  A word about praise teams ‑‑  An interview with myself ‑‑  Worship concerts and traveling together (with a special section by Jeff Bennett on traveling abroad with a choir) ‑‑  Keep moving forward! ‑‑  Appendices.  Foundational scriptures and their applications ‑‑  The big ideas ‑‑  A necessary clarification B         Sample organizing documents ‑‑  17 things that can bring you together ‑‑  Two agendas for a worship leading choir retreat ‑‑  Scriptures calling for a response ‑‑  Sample prayer emphasis sheets B  Pulling the web sites together.

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Ruth, Lester.  Walking Where Jesus Walked: Worship in Fourth‑Century Jerusalem.  Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2010.

Contents:  The context of the worshiping community : fourth‑century Jerusalem ‑‑ Timeline ‑‑Liturguical landscape ‑‑ Geographical landscape ‑‑ Cautions for studying Jerusalem’s worship history ‑‑ Significant themes and practices to observe ‑‑ Describing the community’s worship : Egeria and the Church in Jerusalem, 380s ‑‑ Documenting the community’s worship. People and artifacts ; Worship setting and space ; A description of worship ; Order of service and texts ; Sermons ‑‑ Why study Jerusalem’s worship? Suggestions for devotional use ; Discussion questions for small groups ; A guide for different disciplines and areas of interest.

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Guess, Shay.  Creating the Atmosphere of Worship.  Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corp, 2010.

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Clark, Dave.  Worship Where You’re Planted: A Primer for the Local Church Worship Leader.  Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 2010.

Content:  Here I am to worship ‑‑ Holy tension ‑‑ Preaching to the choir ‑‑ Investment strategies ‑‑ Every seven days ‑‑ Rate of refresh ‑‑ A picture is worth a thousand distractions ‑‑ Do you hear what I hear? B Small choir rehearsal techniques / by Ed Hogan ‑‑ Starting and developing a church instrumental ministry / by Ed Hogan ‑‑The gift of pain ‑‑ The golden hour.

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Garrigan, Siobhan, ed.  Common Worship in Theological Education.  Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2010.

Contents:  Preface / Mary Hess ‑‑Ora et labora: reflections on the (non‑)history of seminary chapel / Todd E. Johnson ‑‑ Politics of seminary chapels / Dwight W. Vogel ‑‑ My cup runneth over? Seminary chapel as a laboratory / Mark W. Stamm‑‑ Musical formation in seminary chapel worship / Patrick Evans ‑‑ Seminary chapel in a prayer book context / Lizette Larson‑Miller ‑‑ Naming the elephant: leading chapel in a multi‑denominational seminary context / Michelle K. Baker‑Wright ‑‑ “In spirit and in truth”: the liturgical space as a territory / CláudioCarvalhaes‑‑ Table teaching: practicing the Lord’s Supper at seminary / Ron Rienstra‑‑ Worship and formation for ministry / E. Byron Anderson ‑‑ Crediting chapel: worship and the theological curriculum / SiobhánGarrigan.

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Clark, Paul B.  Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace: Worship Renewal Through Congregational Singing.  Bloomington, IN: Cross Books, 2010.

Contents:  Needing a worship tune‑up ‑‑ Biblical, theological, and historical foundations for singing worship ‑‑ Unison and harmony‑ not all worship gatherings are alike ‑‑ Words we sing in worship ‑‑ Music we sing in worship ‑‑ Sunday worship‑ time for singing ‑‑ Sacred acts‑ sacred singing ‑‑ Renewed singing‑ renewed worship ‑‑ Rehearsal for singing ‑‑ Staying in tune.

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Cottrell, Travis.  Surprised By Worship: Discovering the Presence of God Where You Least Expect It.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010.

Contents:  Surprises ‑‑ I got chills, they’re multiplyin’ ‑‑ Not without hope ‑‑ The sweet, sweet sound of worship ‑‑ The wide, wide world of worship ‑‑ Words, wounds, and worship ‑‑ Fear. Not ‑‑The great adventure ‑‑ Surviving death ‑‑ Surrender.

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Pierce, Chuck D.  Worship As It Is in Heaven: Worship That Engages Every Believer and Establishes God’s Kingdom on Earth.  Ventura, CA: Regal From Gospel Light, 2010.

Contents:  What happens when we worship ‑‑ In Heaven as it isn’t on Earth ‑‑ The power of music ‑‑ Bringing in the Ark ‑‑ Bringing in the Ark again ‑‑ The glory of Zion ‑‑ Rebuilding the Tabernacle ‑‑ Rebuilding the Tabernacle again ‑‑ Pursuing the Bridegroom ‑‑ How must we then worship? ‑‑The apostolic perspective.

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Bradshaw, Paul F.  Reconstructing Early Christian Worship.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.

Contents:  Did Jesus institute the Eucharist at the Last Supper? ‑‑Receiving communion ‑‑ The earliest eucharistic prayers? ‑‑ Catechumens and the gospel ‑‑The profession of faith ‑‑ Varieties of anointing B Patterns of daily praying ‑‑ The changing role of psalmody ‑‑ The emergence of penitential prayer.

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Alikin, Valeriy A.  The Earliest History of the Christian Gathering: Origin, Development and Content of the Christian Gathering in the First to Third Centuries.  Boston, MA: Brill, 2010.

Contents:  Introduction‑‑ 1. A new approach to the study of the early Christian gathering ‑‑ 2. A brief survey of previous research ‑‑ 3. The present study ‑‑ Chapter One The Origin of the Weekly Gathering in the Early Church ‑‑ Introduction ‑‑ 1. The early Christian gatherings in the context of Graeco‑Roman culture ‑‑ 2. Time and place of the gatherings of the early Church ‑‑ 3. Content and order of the community gatherings in the early Church ‑‑ 4. The leaders of the gatherings in the early Church ‑‑ Chapter Two The Gatherings of Christians in the Morning ‑‑ 1. The origin of the Christian gathering in the morning ‑‑ 2. The morning gatherings in the second and third centuries ‑‑ Chapter Three The Lord’s Supper in the Early Church ‑‑ 1. The earliest history of the Lords Supper ‑‑ 2. The Last Supper of Jesus and the Lords Supper ‑‑ 3. The Eucharist in the second and third centuries ‑‑ Chapter Four The Reading of Scripture in the Gathering of the Early Church ‑‑ 1. The origin of Scripture reading in the Christian gathering ‑‑ 2. Development of the public reading of Scripture in the Christian communities‑‑ 3. The office of reader ‑‑ Chapter Five Preaching in the Gathering of the Early Church ‑‑ 1. The origin of preaching in the Christian gathering ‑‑ 2. The development of preaching in the gatherings of the early Church ‑‑ 3. Preachers in the gatherings of the early Church ‑‑ Chapter Six Singing and Prayer in the Gathering of the Early Church ‑‑ 1. Singing in the gathering of the early Church ‑‑ 2. Prayer in the gathering of the early Church ‑‑Other  ritual actions in the gathering of the early church: holy kiss, laying on of hands and ordination, ritual foot washing and oin anointing, collections, almsgiving, and offerings, healing and exorcism, liturgical acclamations and doxologies.

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Hall, Christopher A.  Worshiping With the Church Fathers.  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction‑‑ pt. I: Sacraments ‑‑ Baptism: entering the worshiping community ‑‑ Eucharist : feasting with the worshiping community ‑‑ Part II: Prayer ‑‑ The basics of prayer ‑‑ The challenge of unceasing prayer ‑‑ Further coaching on prayer ‑‑ The Lord’s prayer ‑‑ Part III: Discipline ‑‑ The transforming call to the desert ‑‑ A space to draw close to God.

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Hudson, Christopher D., What the Bible Says About Worship.  Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Pub., 2009.

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Sharp, Michael.  Holy Gatherings: A Leader’s Guide for Engaging the Congregation in Corporate Worship.  Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, Inc., 2009.

Contents:  Describing worship: What is it? ‑‑ Designing worship: How do we plan it? The first steps. ‑‑ Designing worship: How do we plan it? The next steps. ‑‑ Expressing worship: How do we offer it? B  Transitioning worship: How do we rethink it? ‑‑Pastoring the worshipers: How do we shepherd them? ‑‑Evaluating worship: How can we improve it?

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Ellis, Christopher J.  Approaching God: A Guide for Worship Leaders and Worshippers.  Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2009.

Contents:  So you’ve been asked to lead worship ‑‑ Worshipping God with three eyes ‑‑ Why worship? ‑‑Who is worship for? ‑‑ Worship and life ‑‑ Shapes and patterns ‑‑ Planning the jjourney‑‑ Praying together B The prayer spectrum ‑‑Singing : why and when? ‑‑Singing : what and how? ‑‑ Living with Scripture ‑‑ Plotting the preaching ‑‑ Starting the sermon ‑‑ Celebrating around the table ‑‑ Wider horizons B Time and eternity : the Christian year ‑‑ Approaching God : dimensions of worship ‑‑ A glossary of grace : the language of worship ‑‑ Continuing the journey.

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Satterlee, Craig Alan.  When God Speaks Through Worship: Stories Congregations Live By.  Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction : disappointing advice ‑‑ Give God the first word ‑‑ Remember baptism ‑‑ Welcome kids ‑‑ Touch and anoint ‑‑ Light candles ‑‑ Celebrate vocation ‑‑ Pick hymns ‑‑ Preach Christ ‑‑ Epilogue: tell stories.

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Long, Kimberly Bracken.  The Worshiping Body: The Art of Leading Worship.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.

Contents:  Called out from the body ‑‑ The embodied nature of worship ‑‑ Eyes and ears : attending ‑‑ The mouth : voice and speech ‑‑ The hands : gesture and touch ‑‑ The feet : presiding in sacred space ‑‑ The heart : the spirituality of the presider.

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McLean, Max.  Unleashing the Word: Rediscovering the Public Reading of Scripture.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction: Why we wrote this book ‑‑ My story ‑‑ How I got started reading Scripture aloud ‑‑ Recruiting others who love the game ‑‑ No longer the worst moment ‑‑ The 9 percent isolation factor B  Butterflies and breathing ‑‑ How to sound like you ‑‑ From the page to the stage ‑‑ Take a breath : it even helps with nervousness ‑‑ Quick‑start guide to reading the Bible aloud ‑‑ How to teach others ‑‑ Train your pastor to read the Bible better, really! ‑‑ Invite youth and children to make Scripture come alive ‑‑ Scripture reading at home, at weddings, and more ‑‑ Next steps ‑‑ What to do next ‑‑ Q&A with Max McLean.

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Dyrness, William A.  A Primer on Christian Worship: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, Where We Can Go.  Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2009.

Contents:  Introduction : God’s invitation ‑‑ Looking back : worship in the Middle Ages and the Reformation ‑‑ From then till now : how styles of spirituality shape current Christian worship ‑‑ Holy, holy, holy : the trinitarian character of worship ‑‑ The narrative shape of worship : telling the story of God’s love ‑‑ The lessons of worship : practicing what we believe ‑‑ Conclusion : new forms, new actions : renewing the practices of worship

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Pinson, J. Matthew.  Perspectives on Christian Worship: 5 Views.  Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2009.

Contents:  Liturgical worship ‑‑ Responses to Timothy C.J. Quill ‑‑ Traditional evangelical worship ‑‑ Responses to Ligon Duncan ‑‑ Contemporary worship ‑‑ Responses to Dan Wilt ‑‑ Blended worship B Responses to Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever‑‑ Emerging worship ‑‑ Responses to Dan Kimball.

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Johnson, Lawrence J.  Worship in the Early Church: An Anthology of Historical Sources.  Collegeville, MI: Liturgical Press, 2009.

Contents:  v. 1. Worship in the Early Church is a collection of excerpts from early Christian writings illustrating the Church’s liturgical practice in both East and West, from its Jewish beginnings through the end of the sixth century. Volume 1 includes: Jewish prayers from table and synagogue; Subapostolic Era: the Didache, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Pastor Hermas; Second Century: Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Melito of Sardis; Third Century: Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, Hippolytus of Rome, the Didascalia of the Apostles, Origen, the Apostolic Church Order; and others. ‑‑ v. 2. Fourth Century, West: Optatus of Milevis, Zeno of Verona, Ambrose of Milan, Pope Siricius, Hilary of Poitiers, Pacian of Barcelona, Synod of Elvira (ca. 300); Fourth Century, East: Lactantius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Pseudo‑Ignatius, Gregory of Nyssa, the Council of Nicaea (325), John Chrysostom, Apostolic Constitutions; and others. ‑‑ v. 3. Fifth Century, West:  Augustine of Hippo, Arnobius the “Younger,” Pope Innocent I, Peter Chrysologus, Pope Leo I, Maximus of Turin, Pope Gelasius, Faustus of Riez, Statuta ecclesiae antiqua; Fifth Century, East:  Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyr, Narsai of Nisibis, Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria; and others. ‑‑ v. 4. Sixth Century, West: Fulgence of Ruspe, Pope                  Hormisdas, Rule of the Master, Benedict of Nursia, Pope Vigilius, Cassiodorus, the Liber pontificalis, Synod of Rome (595), Pope Gregory I, Caesarius of Arles, Gregory of Tours, Columbanus;  Sixth Century, East: Theodore Lector, Dionysius the Pseudo‑Areopagite, Evagrius Scholasticus, the Manchester Papyrus; and others.

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Provance, Brett S.  Pocket Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship.  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009.

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Berger, Teresa and Bryan D. Spinks. The Spirit in Worship-Worship in the Spirit.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.

Contents:  Worship and the Spirit in the New Testament / N. T. Wright ‑‑ The presence of God in Jewish liturgy / Ruth Langer ‑‑ The liturgy as the work of the Spirit : a theological perspective / Simon Chan ‑‑ The adversary : agony, irony, and the liturgical role of the Holy Spirit / Matthew Myer Boulton‑‑ The rediscovery of the Holy Spirit in modern eucharistic theology and practice / Paul F. Bradshaw B Wombs of the Spirit : incarnational pneumatology in the Syrian baptismal tradition / Simon Jones ‑‑ The Holy Spirit in Eastern Orthodox worship : historical enfleshments and contemporary queries / Peter Galadza‑‑Veni Creator Spiritus : the elusive real presence of the Spirit in the Catholic tradition / Teresa Berger ‑‑ The Holy Spirit and Lutheran liturgical‑sacramental worship / Maxwell E. Johnson ‑‑ The Holy Spirit in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwa{1E25}edo Church tradition / HabtemichaelKidane‑‑ The Spirit and African American worship traditions / Melva Wilson Costen‑‑ Worshiping  and the Spirit : transmuting liturgy pentecostally / Daniel E. Albrecht ‑‑ The Spirit in contemporary charismatic worship / James Steven ‑‑ The Holy Spirit in the worship of some Zulu Zionist churches / Jonathan A. Draper ‑‑ The role of the Holy Spirit in worship : an introduction to the Hillsong Church, Sydney, Australia / Darlene Zschech

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Hargreaves, Sam.  How Would Jesus Lead Worship?: Biblical Insights for Today’s Church.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, The Bible Reading Fellowship, 2009.

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Danso, John. Join in: Breaking Tradition, Embracing Culture, Styles of Multicultural Worship.  Ely, Cambridgeshire: Melrose Books, 2009.

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Herring, Brad.  Sound, Lighting, and Video: A Resource for Worship.  Boston, MA: Focal Press, 2009.

Contents:  Anatomy of a sound system ‑‑ Connections in a sound system ‑‑ More on microphones ‑‑ Gain structure ‑‑ Equalization ‑‑ Electric processing ‑‑ Stage monitors and in‑ear monitors ‑‑ Making the move to digital ‑‑ Conclusion of sound section ‑‑ Anatomy of a lighting system ‑‑ Color mixing theory ‑‑ Common power connections of a lighting system ‑‑ Controllers and protocols ‑‑ Close up on dimmers ‑‑ An overview of moving lights ‑‑ Beyond illumination ‑ Using lighting for design ‑‑ Architectural lighting and integration with stage lighting ‑‑ Conclusion of lighting section ‑‑ Anatomy of a video system ‑‑ Lumens, brightness and contrast ‑ what does it all mean? ‑‑ Hi‑definition vs. standard definition ‑‑ Front projections vs. rear projection ‑‑A closer look at the video screen ‑‑ Cameras and tripods ‑‑ Worship presentation software ‑‑ Conclusion of video systems for worship.

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Brown, Frank Burch.  Inclusive Yet Discerning: Navigating Worship Artfully.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2009.

Contents:  Navigating worship artfully: finding a compass ‑‑ Enjoyment and discernment in the music of worship ‑‑ Singing together (with all creation): dilemmas and delights ‑‑ Is good art good for Christian worship? ‑‑ Christian music: more than just the words ‑‑ Religious music and secular music: a Calvinist perspective, re‑formed ‑‑On not giving short shrift to the arts in liturgy: the testimony of Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger) ‑‑ On being beautiful and religious at the same time: reviving Plotinus.

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Kuyper, Abraham, 1837‑1920.  Our Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2009.

Contents:  Our worship ‑‑ Revival of liturgical awareness ‑‑ Assembly of believers ‑‑ Meeting with God as a reconciled congregation ‑‑ Altar ‑‑ False spirituality ‑‑ Liturgical prayers ‑‑ Congregational song ‑‑ Our versified Psalter ‑‑ Norms of beauty ‑‑ Clerical vestments ‑‑ Church building ‑‑ Seating arrangement ‑‑Preservice meeting ‑‑ Reading Scripture ‑‑Votum‑‑ Benediction ‑‑ God’s presence B Confession of sin ‑‑ Law of the Ten Commandments ‑‑ Confession : to be sung or spoken? ‑‑ Kneeling in prayer ‑‑ Absolution ‑‑ Confession of faith ‑‑ Reading of Holy Scripture ‑‑ Preaching B Transition to the preaching service ‑‑ Sermon preparation ‑‑ Choosing a text ‑‑ Preacher and the congregation ‑‑ Conclusion of the service ‑‑ Offerings ‑‑ Ecclesiastical ceremonies ‑‑ Administration  of holy baptism ‑‑ Transition from holy baptism to the holy supper ‑‑ Administration of the Lord’s Supper ‑‑ Excommunication and readmission ‑‑ Ordination to church office ‑‑ Marriage ceremony B Conclusion ‑‑ Responses ‑‑ All of life is worship? : Abraham Kuyper and the neo‑Kuyperians / John Bolt ‑‑ Abraham Kuyper on baptismal belief and practice / Bryan D. Spinks ‑‑ Abraham Kuyper : pioneering liturgist, Reformed dogmatician, Dutch aesthetician / Geoffrey Wainwright ‑‑ Reflections on Kuyper’s Our worship / Nicholas Wolterstorff‑‑ Theology of worship in the Reformed tradition : a chronological bibliography

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Guiver, George.  Vision Upon Vision: Processes of Change and Renewal in Christian Worship.  Norwich, UK: Canterbury Press, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ From house to hall ‑‑ Drama ‑‑ A strange warping ‑‑ God and culture ‑‑ The cross and the font ‑‑ Swimming ‑‑The Enlightenment ‑‑ The movements of 1833 ‑‑ Another world ‑‑ Naively presupposing ‑‑ Seeing more than ourselves ‑‑ Giving and receiving ‑‑ The core of worship ‑‑ A complex shaping.

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Gould, Meredith.  Why is There a Menorah on the Altar?: Jewish Roots of Christian Worship.  New York, NY: Seabury Books, 2009.

Contents: Foreword ‑‑ Reading Scripture ‑‑ History matters ‑‑ Worship ‑‑ Baptism ‑‑ Holy Communion ‑‑ Confirmation.

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Schmit, Clayton J.  Sent and Gathered: A Worship Manual for the Missional Church.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction‑‑ Part 1: Worship and the mission of God. Foundations ‑‑ Sending is mission ‑‑ There is a river ‑‑ Worship and the arts ‑‑ Worship is communication ‑‑ Extraordinary worship ‑‑ Part 2: A worship manual for the missional church. The sending ‑‑The gathering ‑‑ The Word ‑‑ The sacraments.

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Chapell, Bryan.  Christ‑Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.

Contents:  Gospel worship ‑‑ The Gospel of structure ‑‑ The Roman story ‑‑ Luther’s story ‑‑ Calvin’s story ‑‑ Westminster’s story ‑‑ The modern story ‑‑ The Gospel story ‑‑ Christ’s story ‑‑ “Re‑presenting” Christ’s story ‑‑ The mission of Christ‑centered worship ‑‑ The aspects of Christ‑centered worship ‑‑ The components of Christ‑centered worship ‑‑ Gospel worship resources ‑‑ Call to worship ‑‑ Affirmation of faith ‑‑ Confession of sin ‑‑ Assurance of pardon ‑‑ Rubrics : transitions ‑‑ Historic components ‑‑ Scripture‑reading history and practice ‑‑ Christ‑centered sermons ‑‑ Benedictions and charges B Worship service examples ‑‑ Communion services ‑‑ Musical styles ‑‑ Appendix: Worship resources on the Internet.

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Ramshaw, Gail.  Christian Worship: 100,000 Sundays of Symbols and Rituals.  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2009.

Contents:  Why study Christian worship? ‑‑What is a symbol? ‑‑What is a ritual? ‑‑Which symbols and rituals have Christians used for 100,000 Sundays? ‑‑What comes down us to from 75,000 Sundays ago? ‑‑What comes down to us from 50,000 Sundays ago? ‑‑What comes down to us from 25,000 Sundays ago? ‑‑What comes down to us from the last 10,000 Sundays? ‑‑What is baptism? ‑‑ What Christian worship takes place between Sundays? ‑‑How is Christian worship like and unlike the practices of other religions in America? ‑‑How might Sunday worship affect daily life?

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Rienstra, Debra.  Worship Words: Discipling Language For Faithful Ministry.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ The dimensions of language in worship ‑‑Worship as dialogic encounter ‑‑ On chatter and patter ‑‑ On repetition ‑‑ The puzzle of authenticity ‑‑ Watch your figures : metaphor in worship ‑‑ Naming God : meeting the one who is ‑‑ Something old : inviting tradition into today ‑‑ Something new : incarnating the Gospel now ‑‑ Something borrowed : worshiping with the global church ‑‑ Something blue : the ministry of lament ‑‑ The embedded Word : putting it all together ‑‑ Appendix 1: Practical advice on all occasions : ten tips ‑‑ Appendix 2: Worship planning process ‑‑ Appendix 3: Assessing songs for congregational use

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Wilson, Len.  Taking Flight With Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2009.

Contents:  Part I: Are we meant to fly? Discovering a strategic approach to worship ‑‑ Why design worship in a team? ‑‑ Identifying team purpose ‑‑ Addressing issues of methodology ‑‑ Part 2: Building the aeroplane : putting the worship design team together ‑‑ Who’s on the design team? ‑‑What’s the size of the design team? ‑‑How does the team operate? Team equality ‑‑Who does what? Team roles ‑‑How do we organize our time? ‑‑ Part 3: Taking flight : achieving Koinonia‑‑ Becoming a small group ‑‑ Learning to make decisions together ‑‑ The weekly list of decisions ‑‑ Brainstorming ‑‑ A worship case study ‑‑ Part 4: Grounded : dealing with team maintenance and problems ‑‑ Sole proprietor preachers ‑‑ Maintaining a finely tuned machine.

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Davis, Holland.  Let It Rise: A Manual for Worship.  Alachua, FL: Bridge‑Logos, 2009.

Contents:  Let’s make a start ‑‑ Finding my place in the world ‑‑ I still haven’t found what I’m looking for ‑‑ Making the rocks cry out ‑‑ Vibe management ‑‑ Dancing with porcupines ‑‑ When no one is looking B Seeing the invisible ‑‑ Appendices ‑‑ About the author.

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Miller, Kim.  Redesigning Worship: Creating Powerful God Experiences.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ Getting started ‑‑ Assembling a worship design team ‑‑ Finding great team players ‑‑ The vital role of the pastor‑speaker ‑‑ Small or start‑up churches empowering teams that soar B Behind the scenes with the worship team ‑‑ The anatomy of a design team meeting ‑‑ Developing the weekend worship experience ‑‑ Maximizing multisensory worship ‑‑ The magic of music and media ‑‑ Styling the stage ‑‑ Writing for worship connection ‑‑ Powerful prayers for everyday people ‑‑ Multiplying multisensory worship ‑‑ Alternative worship communities ‑‑ The teams surrounding the team : serving in community ‑‑ Nobody told me the road would be easy ‑‑ Overcoming obstacles in worship design ‑‑ Four mantras for the mission ‑‑ Send out : a ministry of mud ‘n’ spit.

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Whaley, Vernon M.  Called to Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response to God’s Call.  Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009.

Contents:  pt. 1. Old Testament calls to worship. Creation ‑‑ Worship before the Fall =‑‑ The worship wars ‑‑ Worship and promise ‑‑ Worship and deliverance ‑‑ Worship from the tent ‑‑ Preparation and choice B Worship in the books of history. From Judges to Kings ‑‑ Devotion in a Davidic kingdom ‑‑ A nation captive then set free ‑‑ Worship in the Psalms ‑‑ Worship in the books of wisdom , part. 1 B Worship in the books of wisdom , part. 12 ‑‑ Worship in the prophetic books ‑‑ pt. 2. New Testament principles of worship. Worship in the gospels, part 1 ‑‑ Worship in the gospels, part 2 ‑‑ Worship in the early church ‑‑ Worship in the epistles : Romans 2‑Corinthians ‑‑ Worship in the epistles : Galatians and beyond.

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Bowes, Kimberly Diane.  Private Worship, Public Values, and Religious Change in Late Antiquity.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Contents:  An empire of friends and family : public and private in Roman religions ‑‑ Public and private in Roman paganism ‑‑ Public and private as legal categories ‑‑ The public priesthoods : family and patronage ‑‑Consecratiodedicatio : marking public and private religious space ‑‑ Household cults and their public roles ‑‑ Public and private in the “unofficial cults” ‑‑Superstitio and magia : tensions between public and private ‑‑ Communal and private in second and third‑century Christianity ‑‑ From home to domus ecclesia : the Christian collective in flux ‑‑ Christian private ritual ‑‑ Private and collective ritual in Christian thought ‑‑ Public and private in pagan and Christian thought ‑‑ Two Christian capitals : private worship in Rome and Constantinople ‑‑ Rome ‑‑ Pre‑constantinian realities ‑‑ The Roman Tituli‑‑ Going to church in fourth and early fifth century Rome : the continuation of house‑churches ‑‑ The home as church : domestic piety and the conversion of Rome’s elite B Contesting the private in late fourth century Rome ‑‑ Constantinople ‑‑ Fourth centuries realities ‑‑ Constantinople’s Christian topography : a city of private churches ‑‑ Bishops and private churches ‑‑ Monks and the private ‑‑ “Christianizing” the countryside : rural estates and private cult ‑‑ The fourth century countryside ‑‑ The forms of estate worship : villa churches, mausolea, and “monasteries” ‑‑ Social qualities of estate‑based Christianity ‑‑ Bishops and rural elites : estate Christianity in local context ‑‑ Working with bishops : North Africa ‑‑ What bishop : northern Italy, Britain and the absence of the church hierarchies ‑‑ Bishops versus elites : Hispania and southwestern Gaul ‑‑ Ideologies of the private : private cult and the construction of heresy and sanctity B Contesting private worship : heresy and the home ‑‑ Roman law and Christian law : ideologies of private cult ‑‑ Homes on the defensive ‑‑ Promoting private worship : constructing ideals of female sanctity ‑‑ The private in the vita macrina‑‑ The private and female heresy.

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Pierce, Truman M.  Enthroned On Our Praise: An Old Testament Theology of Worship.  Nashville: B & H Academic, 2008.

Contents:  The primeval prologue : relations in worship ‑‑ The Pentateuch : foundations of worship ‑‑ The former prophets : patterns of worship ‑‑ The latter prophets : attitudes in worship ‑‑ The Writings : expressions in worship ‑‑ Conclusion: Where do we go from here?

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Webber, Robert.  Ancient‑Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008.

Contents:  Worship does God’s story ‑‑ Worship remembers the past ‑‑ Worship anticipates the future ‑‑ How the fullness of God’s story became lost ‑‑ Worship: transformed by remembrance and anticipation B Word: transformed by the narrative nature of Scripture ‑‑ Eucharist: transformed by the presence of God at table ‑‑ Prayer: transformed by recovering the style of ancient worship ‑‑ Conclusion: my journey toward an ancient‑future worship ‑‑ Appendix: a call to an ancient evangelical future.

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Kauflin, Bob.  Worship Matters: Leading Others To Encounter the Greatness of God.  Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008.

Contents:  What matters ‑‑ Your task ‑‑ Healthy tensions ‑‑ Right relationships.

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Krahn, Karmen.  Proclamation By Design: The Visual Arts in Worship.  Scottdale, PA: Faith & Life Resources, 2008.

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Byars, Ronald P.  What Language Shall I Borrow?: The Bible and Christian Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2008.

Contents:  The recovery of biblical language in Christian worship ‑‑ Gathering ‑‑ The word ‑‑ The Eucharist ‑‑ Sending.

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Boulton, Matthew Myer.  God Against Religion: Rethinking Christian Theology Through Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2008.

Contents:  Introduction: Rethinking theology through worship in the reformed tradition ‑‑ The invention of God ‑‑ Karl Barth on worship as “fall” ‑‑ The work of “religion” ‑‑ The creation of Eve ‑‑ Revelation, idolatry, and the Holy Spirit ‑‑ Rereading Genesis 2‑4 ‑‑ Eden and intimacy ‑‑Leitourgia and separation ‑‑ Religion and murder ‑‑ “We pray by His mouth” ‑‑ Karl Barth on worship as “reconciliation” ‑‑ The work of human being ‑‑ The work of gratitude ‑‑ Conspiracy and solidarity ‑‑ Martin Luther and Christian life ‑‑ Martin Luther’s simul‑‑ Penitential life ‑‑ Baptismal life ‑‑ God against religion ‑‑ A theology of invocation ‑‑ The end of Christianity ‑‑ The play of redemption ‑‑ Postlude : Reforming worship ‑‑ “No difference at all” ‑‑ “All the difference in the world” ‑‑ Christian Baptism ‑‑ Christian Communion.

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Corbitt, Danny.  Missing More Than Music: When Disputable Matters Eclipse Worship and Unity.  Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2008.

Contents:  My journey ‑‑ What happened to praise when Jesus came? ‑‑Five disputable matters ‑‑ Why do scholar’s disagree? ‑‑Why did the early church chant? ‑‑The “Just don’t call it worship” loophole part 1: Do verses on singing praise apply to our “private” lives? ‑‑ The “Just don’t call it worship” loophole part 2: The kind of worshippers the Father seeks ‑‑ Looking for evidence ‑‑ A Cappella isn’t in the Bible ‑‑ Praise as it “Once was” . . . and was prophesied yet to be ‑‑ Why would God nail “David’s praise” to the cross? ‑‑When listening to praise is a sin ‑‑ You might have a man‑made rule if… B Is it worth splitting the church? ‑‑Setting aside our gift at the altar ‑‑ Appendix A: My Song.

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Tozer, A. W.  The Worship‑Driven Life: The Reason We Were Created.  Oxford: Monarch, 2008.

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Worton, Roland.  Emerging Worship: Becoming Part of the Sound and Song of Heaven.  Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Pubs., Inc., 2008.

Contents:  Soundforgers‑‑ Forging sound ‑‑ Priestly worship ‑‑ Prophetic worship ‑‑ Government ‑‑ Decrees & declarations ‑‑ Apostolic worship ‑‑ Navigating the current season ‑‑ Emerging characteristics B Unlocking emerging worship ‑‑ Fathering the soundforgers‑‑ Implementation.

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Bradshaw, Paul, ed. Worship Changes Lives: How It Works, Why It Matters.  London: Church House Publishing, 2008.

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Attah, Mmaeyen.  In It To Win It: Creative Empowerment for Worship Musicians.  Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2008.

Contents:  First words ‑‑ Section one, Chapter One: Why are you doing this? ‑‑ Can we talk? We need to talk ‑‑ Let nothing hinder the praise worship you give God ‑‑ Chapter Two: You‑The worshipper who is a worshipper? ‑‑The miss thang/Mr it syndrome! ‑‑A look in the mirror ‑‑ Here’s an idea ‑‑ Who do people say you are? ‑‑ A multi‑way vessel ‑‑ …Before we finish with this ‑‑ Chapter Three: Different gifts ‑‑ Team welfare ‑‑ Team leadership ‑‑ A quick aside ‑‑ More on team leadership Section Two, Chapter One: Are you where you should be? ‑‑ Parable of talents re‑visited ‑‑Another quick aside ‑‑ More on related matters ‑‑ The centre of God’s will ‑‑ spend time with God ‑‑ Self check! ‑‑ Chapter Two: Mind programmes‑‑ …Fear ‑‑ Muscular and mental programmes‑‑It’s just a habit…kick it! ‑‑ Do the work‑Get the result ‑‑Four steps ‑‑ Self check! ‑‑ Characteristics check ‑‑Self check again! ‑‑ Chapter Three: Habitual fears‑a closer analysis ‑‑ Inner conversations‑introducing‑’Your tafia’ and ‘Truly you’ ‑‑ Awareness ‑‑ You can choose your source of feedback (aka diminishing your tafia) ‑‑ Home in ‑‑ Take authority shrink your fears ‑‑ Back to awareness ‑‑ Chapter Four: Choose to participate in the music ‑‑ Points of focus ‑‑ The immediacy of music B Chapter Five: Truly you ‑‑ Handing over to truly you.   Section Three, Chapter One: Corporate praise worship in Pentecostal churches ‑‑ Different musical styles in worship ‑‑ Chapter Two: Abandon yourself completely to God in worship ‑‑ Interference again ‑‑ Dig deeper ‑‑ Chapter Four: Starting to understand the anointing ‑‑Labour of love ‑‑ More on the anointing ‑‑ Corporate anointing ‑‑ Ask and receive ‑‑ Manifesting God’s anointing ‑‑ Another quick aside ‑‑ Your spirit ‑‑ Conclusion ‑‑FInal words ‑‑ End word ‑‑ Appendix.

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Robinson, C. Guy.  Whatever It Takes!: Setting the Atmosphere for Worship.  Tucson, AZ: Wheatmark, 2008.

Contents:  Preface‑‑ An inspired moment ‑‑ The covenant: the call to relationship ‑‑ Consecration: the call to life commitment ‑‑ Convocation: the call to unity ‑‑ Celebration: the call to boast in the Lord! ‑‑Closing thoughts ‑‑ References ‑‑ Biography.

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Bloomquist, Barbara.  Teaching Children to Worship.  Longwood, FL: Xulon Press, 2008.

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Kapp, Deborah J.  Worship Frames: How We Shape and Interpret our Experience of God. Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2008.

Frames ‑‑Frames define action ‑‑ Frames focus attention ‑‑ Frames shape community ‑‑

Frames articulate vocation ‑‑ Frames, worship, and change ‑‑ Strengthening worship frames.

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Kimball, Dan.  Sacred Space: A Hands‑On Guide to Creating Multisensory Worship Experiences for Youth Ministry.  Grand Rapids, MI: Youth Specialties, Zondervan, 2008.

Summary:  Sacred Space provides dozens of ideas to help students engage in scripture and apply the lesson to their own lives. You’ll find step‑by‑step instructions to create the space and experience necessary to draw your students into the scripture. Through art, listening, writing, and multi‑sensory prayer stations, your students will experience God’s Word in a whole new way.

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Willimon, William H.  A Guide to Preaching and Leading Worship.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.

Contents:  Sunday morning : evaluating and planning the service ‑‑ The service : effective liturgical leadership ‑‑ Public prayer : speaking and listening to God ‑‑ The table and the font : celebrating the Lord’s Supper and Baptism ‑‑ The Word in worship : how to construct a biblical sermon ‑‑ Giving the Word : sermon delivery ‑‑ Text and context : sermon planning and evaluation ‑‑ Getting everyone into the act : lay involvement in planning and evaluating worship.

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Schnase, Robert C.  Five Practices: Passionate Worship.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008.

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Abernethy, Alexis D., ed.  Worship That Changes Lives: Multidisciplinary and Congregational Perspectives on Spiritual Transformation.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008.

Contents:  Introduction: Spiritual experience, worship, and transformation / Alexis D. Abernethy ‑‑ Part 1: Theology of worship ‑‑Worship as a locus for transformation / Clayton J. Schmit‑‑ The cumulative power of transformation in public worship : cultivating gratitude and expectancy for the Holy Spirit’s work / John D. Witvliet‑‑ Part 2: Worship and the arts ‑‑ Worship, dramatic arts, and the agogic moment / Todd Farley ‑‑ Dance and transformation : praising through brokenness to holiness in worship / Asha Ragin, Todd Farley, and Jo‑Ann Hoye‑‑ Transformation and the visual arts : a (Protestant) methodological inquiry into imagery and worship / William Dyrness‑‑ Rated “R” for mystery : worship lessons learned from the movies / Robert Johnston ‑‑ The Trinity encounter and all that jazz : can jazz transform us spiritually? / Tyson Chung and Charsie Sawyer ‑‑ Under the mango tree : worship, song, and spiritual transformation in Africa / Roberta R. King ‑‑ Part 3: Worship narratives and transformation ‑‑ Contemporary perspectives on worship : emerging forms of worship in the United States and United Kingdom / Ryan K. Bolger ‑‑ Transformational worship in the life of a church / Kenneth C. Ulmer ‑‑ A study of transformation in worship : psychological, cultural, and psychophysiological perspectives / Alexis D. Abernethy and Charlotte vanOyenWitvliet‑‑ The voice of the congregation : stories revealing the process of transformation / Alexis D. Abernethy ‑‑ Worship as transformed lives / Alvin Dueck‑‑ Call and response : authors’ commentary on lessons learned from the congregation / Alexis D. Abernethy ‑‑ Implications for theology, research, and worship practice / Alexis D. Abernethy.

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Bock, Susan K.  Liturgy For the Whole Church: Resources for Multigenerational Worship.  New York: Church Pub., 2008.

Contents:  Introduction: Church is for the child ‑‑ Theological foundations ‑‑ Children and worship ‑‑ Guidelines for pastors and liturgists ‑‑ Guidelines for parents and other adults ‑‑ A meditation on the child in church ‑‑ Preaching for the child ‑‑ A skit for grown‑ups and children ‑‑ Methods of storytelling ‑‑ Prayers of the people for the children of God ‑‑ The season of Advent ‑‑ Christmas ‑‑ Epiphany B Lent ‑‑ Easter ‑‑ The season after Pentecost ‑‑ All saints.

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Borchert, Gerald L.  Worship in the New Testament: Divine Mystery and Human Response. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2008.

Contents:  Testifying about Jesus : reflections on worship in the Gospels ‑‑ Devoted to the forming of new Christian worshiping communities : reflections on the Book of Acts ‑‑ Caring for and counseling the new Christian worshiping communities : reflections on the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews ‑‑ Pastoral concerns for worshiping communities : reflections on the Catholic Epistles ‑‑ Mysterious cosmic expectations of the new worshiping community : reflections on the Book of Revelation ‑‑ Concluding reflections on the New Testament canon and worship in the contemporary world.

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Cadena, Richard.  Lighting Design for Modern Houses of Worship.  Las Vegas, NV: Timeless Communications, 2008.

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Patterson, Dave.  Lessons for the Worship Team: A Resource for Pastors and Worship Leaders; leader’s manual.  Las Vegas, NV: ABCPublishing, 2008.

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Wigton, Don.  Holy Wars: Living Worship in the Cultural Storm.  Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2008.

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Johnson, Barry C.  A Change is Gonna’ Come: The Transformation of a Traditional To a Contemporary Worship Celebration.  Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2008.

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Harland, Mike.  Seven Words of Worship: The Key to a Lifetime of Experiencing God. Nashville, TN: LifeWay, 2008.

Contents:  Heart of worship ‑‑ Creation ‑‑Grace ‑‑ Love ‑‑ Response ‑‑ Expression ‑‑ Presence ‑‑ Experience.

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Bechtel, Carol M., ed.  Touching the Altar: The Old Testament for Christian Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2008.

Contents:  Introduction / Carol M. Bechtel ‑‑ Sacred time: the sabbath and Christian worship / Dennis T. Olson ‑‑ Drama and the sacred: recovering the dramatic tradition in Scripture and worship / Thomas A. Boogaart‑‑ Isaiah in Christian liturgy: recovering textual contrasts and correcting theological astigmatism / John D. Witvliet‑‑ No explanations in the church: two sermons on the prophets / Ellen F. Davis ‑‑ Finding a treasure map: sacred space in the Old Testament / Corrine L. Carvalho‑‑ The hope of the poor: the Psalms in worship and our search for justice / J. Clinton McCann JrB Knowing our limits: Job’s wisdom on worship / Carol M. Bechtel

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Wallace, Robin Knowles.  Worshiping in the Small Membership Church.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2008.

Contents:  Worship : a convergence or meeting place ‑‑ Begin where you are : involving the congregation in worship leadership and participation ‑‑ Our context : the worship space ‑‑ Getting ready to plan the weekly service ‑‑ Planning the actual service ‑‑ Baptism and Communion ‑‑ The arts in worship ‑‑ Select ideas for congregations up to one hundred.

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Joyce, Derek.  When Will Jesus Be Enough?: Reclaiming the Power of Worship.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008.

Contents:  Just give them Jesus! ‑‑ Worship worth giving your life for ‑‑ Reclaiming the power of worship through praise ‑‑ Reclaiming the power of worship through prayer ‑‑ Reclaiming the power of worship through study ‑‑ Reclaiming the power of worship through Communion ‑‑ Be willing to fail ‑‑ Be fearless.

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Chisum, John.  The 5 Keys to Engaging Worship: Transforming Worship From the Inside Out. Galax, VA: Engage! Press, 2008.

Contents:  Why I am a worship leader ‑‑ The five keys to engaging worship ‑‑ Key one: spiritual passion ‑‑ Key two: organization ‑‑ Key three: relationships ‑‑ Key four: personal growth ‑‑ Key five: living leadership ‑‑ The unseen key: leading by the spirit.

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Hamilton, Reid.  Better Get It in Your Soul: What Liturgists Can Learn From Jazz.  New York, NY: Church Pub., 2008.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑  Jazz liturgy 101 ‑‑  Planning and celebrating jazz liturgy : harmolodics and homiletics ‑‑  A jazz mass : Constance and her companions ‑‑  Collaboration between musician and priest/pastor ‑‑  Diversity and context ‑‑  Liturgical space is part of your context ‑‑  The theology of singing and an exploration of style ‑‑  Where can we find the musicians? ‑‑  Sources‑‑  Church musician : gig or calling?

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Boone, Dan.  The Worship Plot: Finding Unity in Our Common Story.  Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2007.

Contents:  Entrance: locating ourselves ‑‑ The bad news ‑‑ The good news ‑‑ The response of the people ‑‑ The blessing.

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Prince, Derek.  Entering the Presence of God: Moving Beyond Praise & Thanksgiving To True Worship.  New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2007.

Contents:  An attitude in God’s presence ‑‑ Our appropriate response ‑‑ In spirit and in truth ‑‑ The pattern of the tabernacle : the outer court ‑‑ The pattern of the tabernacle : the holy place ‑‑ The pattern of the tabernacle : the Holy of Holies ‑‑ Four blessings of the new covenant ‑‑ Four requirements of true worshipers ‑‑ Our physical attitude of worship ‑‑ The inevitability of worship ‑‑ Worshiping at the throne.

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Arnold, Talitha.  Worship For Vital Congregations.  Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2007.

Contents:  Introduction: When does worship begin? ‑‑ The river of life ‑‑ What is worship? ‑‑ No tangible goods or services : why worship? ‑‑ Sacred rhythm : structure and elements ‑‑ A pilgrimage in time : the year in worship ‑‑ The Word as sacrament : preaching ‑‑ Bread, water, and infinity : the sacraments ‑‑ “Sing alleluia‑‑ and keep on walking” : music in worship ‑‑ Friends and neighbors : being the worshipping community ‑‑ Hope is a muscle : keeping worship vital.

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Irvine, Christopher, ed. The Use of Symbols in Worship.  London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2007.

Contents:  1. The language of symbols / Christopher Irvine ‑‑ 2. Water / Christopher Irvine ‑‑ 3. Oil / Simon Jones ‑‑ 4. Light / Christopher Irvine ‑‑ 5. Incense / Benjamin Gordon‑Taylor ‑‑ 6. Weddings and funerals / Sarah Farrimond.

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Hooper, William L.  Worship Leadership for Worship Leaders.  Petersburg, VA: Alexander Publishing, 2007.

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Logan, Andrew P.  Plugging Into Real Worship: Why We Must Do It.  Longwood, FL: Xulon Press, 2007.

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Brackett, Everol.  The Fundamentals of Praise and Worship.  Wilmington, DE: Cornerstone Pub. Inc., 2007.

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Graybeal, Lynda L.  Prayer and Worship: A Spiritual Formation Guide.  New York, NY: HarperOne, 2007.

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Henderson, Bobby.  Understanding Praise and Worship.  Charlotte, NC: LifeBridge Books, 2007.

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Getty, Keith.  Institute for Christian Worship Lectures, 2007, Feb. 22 [DVD videorecording]. [SBTS], 2007.

Contents:  Pt. 1. New Irish hymns ; Pt. 2. The making of worship songs for the modern church.

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Stella, Constance E.  Wiring Your Church for Worship.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

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Noland, Rory.  The Worshiping Artist: Equipping You and Your Ministry Team To Lead Others in Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007.

Contents:  Worshiping in spirit ‑‑ Worshiping in truth ‑‑ Learning from ancient worship leaders.

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Labberton, Mark.  The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice.  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2007.

Contents:  What’s at stake in worship? ‑‑ The real battle over worship ‑‑ False dangers ‑‑ Real dangers ‑‑ Waking up to where we live ‑‑ Doing justice starts with rest ‑‑ When worship talks to power ‑‑ Dwelling in exodus or in exile? ‑‑An imagination for justice ‑‑ Living awake ‑‑ Epilogue.

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Gaines, Steve.  When God Comes To Church: Experiencing the Fullness of His Presence. Nashville, TN: B&H, 2007.

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Stapert, Calvin.  A New Song for An Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2007.

Contents:  Prelude: honor father and mother ‑‑ The song of the church in the New Testament ‑‑ The church in a pagan society ‑‑ Clement of Alexandria : musical cosmology and composed manners ‑‑ Tertullian : pagan spectacles and Christian households ‑‑ Expansion and persecution, triumph and trouble ‑‑ St. Ambrose : administrator and mystic ‑‑ St. John Chrysostom : Christian households amid the devil’s garbage heap ‑‑ Rejection : the music of a pagan world ‑‑ Affirmation : Psalms and hymns ‑‑ St. Augustine : the problems of eloquence and inordinate love.

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Sacks, Cheryl.  The Prayer Saturated Church: A Comprehensive Handbook for Prayer Leaders. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2007.

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Kenoly, Ron.  The Priority of Praise & Worship: Learning To Give Back To God.  Panama City, FL: Parsons Publishing House, 2007.

Contents:  Introduction‑‑ Relationship: the first priority ‑‑ What does God receive in our church services? ‑‑ Why is it important to worship God? ‑‑What is praise? ‑‑ Word study on praise ‑‑What is worship? B Balanced with the Word ‑‑ Songs of worship ‑‑Worship or work ‑‑ New Testament worship ‑‑Worship in spirit & truth ‑‑ Praise & worship: my priority.

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Neyrey, Jerome H.  Give God the Glory: Ancient Prayer and Worship in Cultural Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

Contents:  “Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” (1 Timothy 2:1) ‑‑ Prayer, in other words : reading with cultural lenses ‑‑ Five New Testament prayers, in other words ‑‑ Praise of God’s uniqueness, who is “first,” “only,” and “no one else” ‑‑ Worship, in other words : appropriate cultural models ‑‑ Worship in the Fourth Gospel : a cultural interpretation of John 14‑17 ‑‑ The Didache and Justin’s First apology : descriptions of Christian worship.

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Farhadian, Charles E. Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2007.

Contents:  Beyond lambs and logos : Christianity, cultures, and worship worldwide / Charles E. Farhadian‑‑ The Ephesians moment in worldwide worship : a meditation on Revelation 21 and Ephesians 2 / Andrew Walls ‑‑ Worship among apostles and Zionists in southern Africa, Zimbabwe / Dana Robert and InusDaneel‑‑ The Mar Thoma Christians of Kerala : a study of the relationship between liturgy and mission in the Indian context / Philip Wickeri‑‑ A traditional thanksgiving festival in South Korea : Chusok / SeungJoongJoo‑‑ Worship and culture in Latin America / Miguel A. Palomino and Samuel Escobar ‑‑ Worship in the Amazon : the case of the Aguaruna Evangelical Church / Robert Priest ‑‑ Celebrating Pentecost in Leauva’a : worship, symbols, and dance in Samoa / Thomas Kane, CSP ‑‑ Worship as mission : the personal and social ends of West Papuan worship in the glory hut / Charles E. Farhadian‑‑ Participation in worship, worship‑full hearts : a meditation on Luke 7 and Matthew 15 / OgbuKalu‑‑ Praying globally : pitfalls and possibilities of cross‑cultural liturgical appropriation / C. Michael Hawn ‑‑ Liturgical theology and criticism : things of heaven and things of the earth : some reflections on worship, world Christianity, and culture / Bryan D. Spinks ‑‑ Interfaith comparison and assessment : Muslim worship : interfaith assets and                  ecumenical shortcomings / LaminSanneh‑‑ Afterword : Inculturation, worship, and dispositions for ministry / John D. Witvliet‑‑ Appendix : The Nairobi statement.

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Bradshaw, Paul, ed. Foundations in Ritual Studies: A Reader for Students of Christian Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.

Contents:  An open letter / Romano Guardini‑‑ Ritual / Mark Searle ‑‑ For our own purposes : the appropriation of the social sciences in liturgical studies / John D. Witvliet‑‑ Purity and danger ; Natural symbols / Mary Douglas ‑‑Liminality and communitas ; The forest of symbols / Victor Turner ‑‑ New directions in ritual research / Nathan D. Mitchell ‑‑ Modes of ritual sensibility ; Liturgical supinity, liturgical erectitude : on the embodiment of ritual authority / Ronald L. Grimes ‑‑ Ritual, change, and changing rituals ; The authority of ritual experts / Catherine Bell ‑‑ Liturgical theology : a task and a method / Margaret Mary Kelleher.

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Byrd, Terriel R.  I shall not Be Moved: Racial Separation in Christian Worship.  Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2007.

Contents:  The emergence of the church and its place in American society ‑‑‑ The role of the Black church in a fragmented society ‑‑ The American family, church tradition and theology ‑‑ Sacred, secular, or merely sinful ‑‑ The high cost of reconciliation ‑‑ The fanciful interplay of color and culture ‑‑ The layers of meaning found in religious worldviews ‑‑ The 21st century church: a covenant community ‑‑ Changed attitudes: transformed church ‑‑ A final word on the theology of integration ‑‑ Group discussion questions.

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Edie, Fred P.  Book, Bath, Table, and Time: Christian Worship As Source and Resource for Youth Ministry.  Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2007.

Contents:  Christian worship as the generative context for youth ministry ‑‑ Finding themselves at the table : youth practice God’s presence, identity, and their own vocations through Eucharistic worship ‑‑ Being creative and creative being : art, incarnation, and youth’s embodied communion with God and neighbor ‑‑ The book becomes script : youth practice storied performances of the Bible B Contemplating the bath : doing baptismal theology with youth through the Ordo‑‑ Believing in time : forming youth through prayerful temporal rhythms ‑‑Ordo‑nary practice : youth live liturgically in the world ‑‑ Plunging in : baptismal vocation and youth’s ministry.

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Prentice, David A.  Loaves & Fishes Worship Team Planning: Transforming Small Church Resources Into Quality Music Ministry.  Baltimore, MD: Publish America,  2007.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ Objectives & essentials ‑‑ Starting the song ‑‑Song navigation ‑‑ Platform set‑up issues ‑‑ Musicianship ‑‑ Rehearsals: objectives & essentials ‑‑ Worship styles ‑‑ Sheet music B Recruiting ‑‑ Sound ‑‑ Worship ministry ‑‑ “The sacred trust” ‑‑ Reference materials and websites.

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Hayford, Jack W.  The Reward of Worship: The Joy of Fellowship With A Personal God.  Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2007.

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Ellis, Christopher, ed.  Gathering for Worship: Patterns and Prayers for the Community of Disciples.  Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2007.

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Ritchie, Daniel F. N.  The Regulative Principle of Worship: Explained and Applied.  Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2007.

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Costen, Melva Wilson.  African American Christian Worship.  Rev. ed.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2007.

Contents:  Preface: A call to worship ‑‑ A theology of African American worship ‑‑ The African religious heritage ‑‑ Worship in the invisible institution ‑‑ Praise house worship ‑‑ Rituals, sacraments, and ordinances ‑‑ Origins and practices of African American denominations and congregations ‑‑ How music, preaching, and prayer shape contemporary African American ‑‑ Worship ‑‑Worship as empowerment.

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Wright, Gary Douglas.  Worship Awakening: An Urgent Message for the Dying American Church. Enumclaw, WA: WinePress Pub., 2007.

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Miller, Barbara Day.  The New Pastor’s Guide To Leading Worship.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2006.

Contents:  The pastor as leader : preparing to lead ‑‑ Leading worship on your first Sunday ‑‑ Rituals : the “way we do it here” ‑‑ Leading in the worship service ‑‑ Leading the prayers : praying with the people B Leading at the table : Holy Communion ‑‑ Leading at the font : Baptism ‑‑ Leading through seasons and times : the Christian year ‑‑ Leading with musicians ‑‑ Leading worship with the hymnal : singing a new song ‑‑ Leading an expanded practice : reflection on the patterns ‑‑ Leading the people into leadership : expanding and renewing ‑‑ Leading the preparation : planning together ‑‑ The pastor as leader : ongoing work.

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Pilavachi, Mike.  When Necessary, Use Words: Changing Lives Through Worship, Justice and Evangelism.  Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2006.

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Getty, Keith.  Institute for Christian Worship Lectures, 2006, Mar. 27‑28 [DVD videorecording]. [SBTS], 2006.

Contents:  World music for the universal church / Keith Getty ‑‑ Irish hymns : a singing faith for the worshiping church ; A musical and poetic vernacular for worship : finding a heart language for the modern church / Keith and Kristyn Getty.

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Segler, Franklin M.  Christian Worship: Its Theology and Practice.  Nashville, TN: Broadman& Holman, 2006.

Contents:  The meaning of worship ‑‑ What is worship? ‑‑ Biblical foundations ‑‑ Historical backgrounds ‑‑ A theology of worship ‑‑ A psychology of worship ‑‑Worship, renewal, and the world ‑‑ Community and worship ‑‑ Postmodernism and worship ‑‑ Expressing worship ‑‑ Music in worship ‑‑ Prayer in worship ‑‑ Verbal communication in worship ‑‑ Learning styles and worship ‑‑ Children in worship ‑‑ Baptism and the Lord’s Supper ‑‑ Other acts of worship ‑‑ The use of symbols ‑‑ Architecture, acoustics, and worship ‑‑ The Christian year and other special days ‑‑ The arts in worship ‑‑ Rites of passage ‑‑ Planning and leading worship ‑‑ Planning the order of worship ‑‑ Leading worship ‑‑ Managing and leading worship change ‑‑ The ordinary of the mass ‑‑ Weeding policies ‑‑ Copyright guidelines: the United States Copyright Law.

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Ross, Allen P.  Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship From the Garden To the New Creation.  Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2006.

Contents:  Worshipping the God of glory ‑‑ The memory of paradise ‑‑ Worship with proclamation: the development of true worship in a religious world ‑‑ Worship with sacrifice: the establishment of sanctity in worship ‑‑Worship as praise: the provision for celebration in worship ‑‑Worship reformed: prophetic rebukes and reforms ‑‑ Worship transformed: the new setting of worship and the new covenant B Worship in Christ: patterns of worship in the early church ‑‑ The perfection of worship in glory ‑‑ Basic principles for more glorious worship.

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Scheer, Greg.  The Art of Worship: A Musician’s Guide To Leading Modern Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006.

Contents:  Introduction: My journey into worship (or, confessions of a failed rock star). About this book ; Defining the terms ‑‑ Setting the stage. Assess your church’s situation ; Spread the vision ; Attend to details ‑‑ Assembling the team. Recruiting ; Interviewing ; Establishing a new worship team ‑‑ Building repertoire. Repertoire is theology ; Analyzing repertoire ; Evaluating song quality ; Finding new praise songs ; Introducing new music ‑‑ Planning worship. The art of worship ; Understanding service structure ; Adapting structure and style ; Practical worship‑planning techniques ; Modulation types ‑‑ Making music. The role of the worship team ; Vocalists ; Vocal harmony ; Guitar ; Piano ; Bass ; Drums ; Brass, woodwinds and strings ; Keyboards ; Using what god has given you ; Informing your ear ; Putting it all together ‑‑ Timeless hymns in a contemporary context. A case for context ; Study the original hymn’s text ; Study the original hymn’s music ; Establish the groove ; Change chords ; Embellish ‑‑ Rehearsing and leading. Preparing for rehearsal ; Rehearsing ; Leading worship ‑‑ Looking to the future. A new generation of worshipers ; The next generation of worship leaders.

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Butzu, David A.  Generations of Praise: The History of Worship.  Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 2006.

Contents:  Jewish backgrounds to Christian worship ‑‑Worship in the New Testament ‑‑

The first three centuries ‑‑ The empire: 312‑600 ‑‑ Worship in the Eastern churches ‑‑ The Western church in the Middle Ages ‑‑ Worship Reformations: 1600‑1800 ‑‑ Post‑Reformation developments ‑‑ The nineteenth century ‑‑ The twentieth century ‑‑ The present and trends.

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Berglund, Brad.  Reinventing Worship: Prayers, Readings, Special Services, and More.  Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2006.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ Leading worship ‑‑ Prayers and blessings for worship ‑‑ Opening ‑‑ Confessing ‑‑ Lamenting ‑‑ Healing and reconciling ‑‑ Celebrating the congregation ‑‑ Celebrating the family B Responding ‑‑ Sending ‑‑ Seasonal resources ‑‑Resources for weddings and funerals ‑‑ Miscellaneous resources.

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White, Susan J.  Foundations of Christian Worship.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.

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Chan, Simon.  Liturgical Theology: The Church As Worshiping Community.  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006

Contents:  The ontology of the church ‑‑ The worship of the church ‑‑ The shape of the liturgy ‑‑ The liturgy as ecclesial practice ‑‑ The catechumenate ‑‑ The Sunday liturgy ‑‑ Active participation.

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Glick, Robert P.  With All Thy Mind: Worship That Honors the Way God Made Us.  Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2006.

Contents:  The human brain ‑‑ Historical survey of holistic brain issues ‑‑ The biblical call for hemispheric balance ‑‑ Worshiping with words ‑‑ Song, sacrament, and symbols ‑‑ Denominational ethos ‑‑ Reflections from an English cathedral ‑‑ Roadblocks to holistic worship ‑‑ The well‑tempered worship service.

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Mitchell, Nathan.  Meeting Mystery: Liturgy, Worship, Sacraments.  Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006.

Contents:  The hyper‑reality of worship ‑‑ Polyphony : the languages of liturgy.

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Muchow, Rick.  The Worship Answer Book: More Than A Music Experience.  Nashville, TN: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2006.

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Hodges, Houston.  Faith Alive: Interactive Worship for the Great New Church.  Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006.

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Bush, Peter George.  Where 20 Or 30 Are Gathered: Leading Worship in the Small Church. Herndon, VA : Alban Institute, 2006.

Contents:  Blest be the tie that binds : models of congregational ministry ‑‑ Jesus, where’er thy people meet : the joys and challenges of small‑church worship ‑‑ To God be the glory : best worship practices in small congregations ‑‑ Ride on! ride on : best practices in the multi‑point charge ‑‑ Savior, like a shepherd lead us : best practices when there is no settled minister ‑‑ O breath of life, come sweeping through us : a model for tomorrow’s small congregations.

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Hotz, Kendra G.  Shaping the Christian Life: Worship and the Religious Affections.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.

Contents:  An introduction to the religious affections ‑‑ Four features of the religious affections ‑‑ Fallen religious affections ‑‑ Redeemed religious affections ‑‑ Religious affections and the work of the church B The structure of worship: gathering, abiding, sending ‑‑ Prayer ‑‑ The service of the Word ‑‑ Sacraments.

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Wainwright, Geoffrey, ed.  The Oxford History of Christian Worship.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Contents:  Christian worship : scriptural basis and theological frame / Geoffrey Wainwright ‑‑ The apostolic tradition / Maxwell E. Johnson ‑‑ The empire baptized / John F. Baldwin ‑‑ The ancient Oriental churches / Christine Chaillot‑‑ Excursus : the Maronites / Lucas Van Rompay‑‑ The conversion of the nations / Michael S. Driscoll ‑‑ Western Christendom / Timothy Thibodeau‑‑ Byzantine and Slavic Orthodoxy / Alexander Rentel‑‑ Reforms, Protestant and Catholic / Nathan D. Mitchell ‑‑ The age of revolutions / Conrad L. Donakowski‑‑ The Lutheran tradition in German lands / Hans‑Christoph Schmidt‑Lauber‑‑ The Lutheran tradition in Scandinavia / Nils‑Henrik ‑‑ The Reformed tradition / in Continental Europe : Switzerland, France, and Germany / Bruno Bürki‑‑ The Reformed tradition in the Netherlands / Harry Klaassens‑‑ The Reformed tradition in Scotland / Duncan B. Forrester ‑‑ The Reformed tradition in Korea / Seung‑JoongJoo and Kyeong‑Jin Kim ‑‑ Anglicans and dissenters / Bryan D. Spinks ‑‑ The church of South India / Samson Prabhakar‑‑ The Uniting Church in Australia / Robert W. Gribben‑‑ Mennonites / John Rempel‑‑ Baptists in Britain / Christopher Ellis B            Pentecostal and charismatic worship / Telford Work ‑‑ North America / Karen B. Westerfield Tucker ‑‑ Roman Catholics in Hispanic America / Jaime Lara ‑‑ Mainline Protestants in Latin America / Wilhelm Wachholz‑‑ Mission and inculturation : East Asia and the Pacific / Anscar J. Chupungco‑‑ Mission and inculturation : Africa / Nwaka Chris Egbulem‑‑ The liturgical movement and Catholic ritual revision / André Haquin‑‑ Ecumenical convergences / Geoffrey Wainwright ‑‑ Women in worship / Teresa Berger ‑‑ Liturgical music / William T. Flynn ‑‑ The spatial setting / James F. White ‑‑ Visual arts / MarchitaMauck‑‑ Vestments and objects / Joanne M. Pierce ‑‑ Retrospect and prospect / Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker.

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Crowley, Eileen D.  A Moving Word: Media Art in Worship.  Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

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Lachman, David, ed.  Worship in the Presence of God: A Collection of Essays on the Nature, Elements, and Historic Views and Practice of Worship.  Fellsmere, FL: Reformation Media and Press, 2006.

Contents:  What is worship / Frank J. Smith ‑‑ The fear of the Lord in worship / Herman Hanko‑‑ The dialogical nature of worship in the Old Testament / E. Clark Copeland ‑‑ “Hear ye Him”: Worship in the New Testament / R. Sherman Isbell ‑‑ Second Commandment / William Young ‑‑ Christian liberty and worship / David C. Lachman‑‑ Family worship / Douglas F. Kelly ‑‑ An introduction to the elements  of worship / Frank J. Smith ‑‑ The reading of the Scriptures / Louis F. DeBoer‑‑ Worship and preaching / Henry Krabbendam‑‑ Song in public worship / John Murray ‑‑ The singing of praise / Frank J. Smith ‑‑ Prayer regulated by God’s Word / A. Michael Schneider, III ‑‑ The administration of the sacraments / Kerry W. “Pete” Hurst ‑‑ The occasional elements of worship / J. Cameron Fraser B History and worship / Frank J. Smith ‑‑ The Reformed creeds and the reconstruction of Christian worship / C. Gregg Singer ‑‑ John Knox and the reformation of worship in the Scottish Reformation / Kevin Reed ‑‑ “The acceptable way of worshipping the true God” / Thomas G. Reid, Jr. ‑‑ About the authors ‑‑ The OPC majority report on the content of worship song.

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Hubley, John W.  Running the River of Praise: Wading in Pools of Worship.  Phoenix, AZ: Mindheart Foundation for Biblical Study, 2006.

“This volume is a report of textual studies on praise and worship recorded sequentially from Genesis to Revelation. By textual studies I mean a historical‑grammatical exegesis of the Hebrew and Greek words translated as praise and worship in the English Bible. It identifies the meaningful and practical dictinction between praise and worship, including their evolutionary development in the history of Israel and the early life of the churches.” p. xiii.

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Stratford, Tim, ed.  Worship Window of the Urban Church.  London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2006.

Contents:  Regeneration and the kingdom of heaven / John Austin ‑‑ ‘Singing the Lord’s song’ / Kathy Galloway ‑‑ Liturgy as the people’s work / John Vincent ‑‑ Seeing with God’s eyes / Martin Wallace ‑‑ Apt liturgy: to lift eyes above the horizon / Ann Morisy and Ann Jeffries ‑‑ Worship on Upper Street, Islington / Graham Kings ‑‑ A triangle of stories / Mark Waters ‑‑ Urban worship: rooted in reality, routed through the people / Erica Dummow‑‑ Using worship to negotiate an action reflection cycle / Tim Stratford

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Redman, Matt.  Inside Out Worship.  Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2005.

Contents:  Insights : inside, out worship / Darlene Zschech‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 1) : the gentle persuasion of authority / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : pictures of Jesus / Don Williams ‑‑ Psalm 119 : inseparable: the essential link between worship and word / Louie Giglio‑‑ Insights : remembering the story / J. D. Walt ‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt 2) : the awakening power of truth / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : choosing songs / Todd Proctor ‑‑ When the tears fall / Tim Hughes ‑‑ Insights : worship and suffering / Beth Redman ‑‑ Spiritual conversations outside the sanctuary / Sally Morgenthaler‑‑ Insights : remembering the poor / Nigel Morris ‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 3) : the shepherding instincts of a pastor / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : relationship and team / Brian Houston ‑‑ Understanding worship in the New Testament (pt. 1) / Chris Jack ‑‑ Insights : worshipping the trinity / Chris Cocksworth‑‑ Making our worship more trinitarian / Robin Parry ‑‑ Insights : worship and community / David Ruis‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 4) : the adventurous pursuit of creativity / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : relational accountability / Charlie Hall ‑‑ Psalm 16 : glory: it’s what you’re talking about / Louie Giglio‑‑ Insights : intentional relationship / David Crowder ‑‑ Understanding worship in the New Testament (pt. 2) / Chris Jack ‑‑ Insights : heart and mind / Jack Hayford‑‑ “You’ve got mail” / Paul Baloche‑‑ Insights : healthy sound‑checks / Andrew Philip ‑‑ Worship leading essentials (pt. 5) : the powerful insights of the prophetic / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : leading boldly but humbly / Chris Tomlin ‑‑ Psalming : becoming fluent in the language of worship / J. D. Walt ‑‑ Insights : songwriting / Tim Hughes ‑‑ Worship : cleansing the Christian mind / Don Williams ‑‑ Insights : loving God / Mike Pilavachi‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 6) : the brave perseverance of a visionary / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : unity / George Barna‑‑ Understanding worship in the New Testament (pt. 3) / Chris Jack ‑‑ Insights : creating community / Cindy Rethmeier‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 7) : the irreplaceable quality of humility / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : training up others / EoghanHeaslip‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 8) : the kingdom mind‑set of a mentor / Matt Redman ‑‑ Insights : building a team / Reuben Morgan ‑‑ Psalm 2 : worship for the nations / Don Williams ‑‑ Insights : the biblical roots of drumming / Terl Bryant ‑‑ Understanding worship in the New Testament (pt. 4) / Chris Jack ‑‑ Insights : congregational worship as a journey / Matt Redman ‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 9) : the constant expectation of the heavenly / Matt Redman ‑‑ 9 to 5 or 24/7? / Robin Mark ‑‑ Worship‑leading essentials (pt. 10) : the biblical perspective of the big picture / Matt Redman.

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McMahan, Candace, ed. Engaging Worship: 20 Blueprints for Experiential Church Services.  Loveland, CO: Group Pub., 2005.

Contents:  The Spirit comes ‑‑ Weather the storms ‑‑ The persecuted church ‑‑ “He has removed our transgressions” ‑‑ Good ‘n’ plenty ‑‑ Taste the deep ‑‑ Infinitely creative Creator ‑‑ Tabernacle worship B Excavating the soul ‑‑ Face to face with God’s holiness ‑‑ Fear of commitment ‑‑ Hope ‑‑ Intentional living ‑‑ Kerygma ‑‑ Made special ‑‑ Reflection ‑‑ Remembering ‑‑ Redeemed ‑‑ Spoken word worship ‑‑ What God wants.

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Navarro, Kevin J.  The Complete Worship Service: Creating a Taste of Heaven On Earth.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005.

Contents:  Longing for heaven ‑‑Heaven‑‑ A taste of heaven, the worship service ‑‑ Quality matters ‑‑ You’ve gotta be there ‑‑ Outreach marketing ‑‑ Parking, outside signage, and attendants ‑‑ Developing dynamic guest care teams and systems ‑‑ The worship center ‑‑ Music and the arts ‑‑ The Word of God ‑‑ The Eucharist ‑‑ Thanksgiving as the consummation of joy.

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Waltz, Mark L.  First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences in Your Church.  Loveland, CO: Group Pub., 2005.

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Rognlien, Bob.  Experiential Worship: Encountering God With Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005.

Contents:  The greatest commandment : experiential worship is not optional! Why is worship so important? ; Worship and identity ; Worship and personal transformation ‑‑StrengthWorship : engaging and transforming the body. Physical matters! ; Engaging the senses in worship ; Creating space and opportunity for physical worship ‑‑MindWorship : engaging and transforming the intellect. Comprehending the incomprehensible ; From truth to understanding ; Strategies to connect with the mind ; Tools to connect with the mind ‑‑SoulWorship : engaging and transforming the emotions. Feeling our worship ; What are we afraid of? ; The power of emotion ; Art and the soul ‑‑HeartWorship : engaging and transforming the will. To do or not to do? ; Inviting a response ; What kind of response? ‑‑Making it happen! : a pathway for implementing experiential worship. Overcoming roadblocks to change ; From theory to practice ; Step one : worship themes ; Step two : creative collaboration ; Step three : implementation ; Step four : designing an order ; Step five : leading experientially ; Step six : evaluation ‑‑ Conclusion : further up and further in.

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Ward, Pete.  Selling Worship: How What We Sing Has Changed the Church.  Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2005.

Contents:  Introduction‑‑Part one ‑ The Story of the Songs ‑‑ 1. The Means and the Early Days: Youth Praise and MGO ‑‑ 2. The Jesus Movement Has Landed ‑‑ 3. The Spreading Culture of Worship ‑‑ 4. The Shift to Worship ‑‑ 5. The Growing Market ‑‑ 6. Merchandising, Mergers, and Ministry ‑‑ Part Two ‑ Singing the Story ‑‑ 7. Teaching to Worship: Youth Praise and Sound of living Waters ‑‑ 8. Marching to Intimacy: Songs of Fellowship, Graham Kendrick and Songs of the Vineyard ‑‑ 9. The Heart of Worship: The Survivor Songbook ‑‑ Part Three ‑ Worship: A Critical Appreciation ‑‑ 10. Worship and Culture ‑‑ 11. Participation: From Folk to Fan ‑‑ 12. Songs as narratives of Encounter

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Sample, Tex.  Powerful Persuasion: Multimedia Witness in Christian Worship.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2005.

Contents:  Practicing the story ‑‑ Pitching tent ‑‑ Multisensory, multimedia rhetoric ‑‑Imagophobia and the use of images ‑‑ Sound as music and beat ‑‑ Let there be light ‑‑ Movement and dance ‑‑ Figural ensemble in performance, story, and immersion ‑‑ The prophetic use of figure in Hebrew poetry ‑‑ The prophetic use of figure in electronic culture ‑‑ Critical immersion.

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Miller, Karen Farish.  Brief Dramas for Worship: Twelve Ready‑To‑Use Scripts.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2005.

Contents:  The Bethlehem child : children in poverty / by Brenda Motley Newman ‑‑ Eli’s wife : a husband’s tale brings hope for peace / by Brenda Motley Newman ‑‑ Caroline : a waitress receives the living water of acceptance and hope / by Brenda Motley Newman ‑‑ Mary : daring to hope again / by Karen Farish Miller ‑‑ Martha : prescription for peace / by Karen Farish Miller ‑‑ Lydia : a witness to the power of Christ to open hearts, open minds, and open doors / by Karen Farish Miller ‑‑ Mary Fletcher : a young woman’s faith leads to holiness and reform / by Brenda Motley Newman ‑‑ Storm‑tossed family and dried‑up hope : Jesus’ power over storms / by Brenda Motley Newman ‑‑ Margaret : a grieving mother yearns for her wayward son / by Brenda Motley Newman ‑‑ Mattie May : a mountain woman’s tale of a gracious plenty / by Karen Farish Miller ‑‑ Bathsheba and King Dave : the bigger the ego, the harder the fall / by Karen Farish Miller ‑‑ Esther : chosen for such a time as this / by Karen Farish Miller.

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Brueggemann, Walter.  Worship in Ancient Israel: An Essential Guide.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2005.

Contents:  OrthodoxYahwism in dialogic modes ‑‑ The gestures of worship and sacrifice ‑‑ The utterance of YHWH in worship ‑‑ The utterance of Israel in worship ‑‑Worship : Israel at “play”.

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De Waal Malefyt, Norma.  Designing Worship Together: Models and Strategies for Worship Planning.  Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2005.

Contents:  The case for collaboration ‑‑ Structuring the planning process ‑‑ Writing a congregational worship statement ‑‑ Planning the worship calendar ‑‑ Weekly worship planning ‑‑ Worship evaluation B Appendix A : resources for group study ‑‑ Appendix B : when you worship with us.

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Van Dyk, Leanne, ed.  A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2005.

Contents:   The opening of worship : Trinity /  John D. Witvliet‑‑  Confession and assurance : sin and grace /  William A. Dyrness‑‑  Proclamation : revelation, Christology /  Leanne Van Dyk‑‑  Creeds and prayers : ecclesiology /  Ronald P. Byars‑‑  Eucharist : eschatology /  Martha L. Moore‑Keish‑‑  Ending of worship : ethics /  David L. Stubbs.

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Howard, Donald W.  Renewal of Worship: Caring For the People: A Resource Guide.  Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2005.

Contents:  Introduction: Understanding worship and the role of pastoral care ‑‑ Worship as pastoral care ‑‑ The role of the pastor: preacher, priest, or caregiver? ‑‑The role of the laity: from fear to faith ‑‑ Getting into the field: sower, cultivator, or gleaner? ‑‑ Bringing in the sheaves: meaningful worship for today’s faithful ‑‑ Liturgy: “the work of the people” ‑‑ Introduction to the sacraments: signs and seals of  grace ‑‑ The sacrament of holy baptism and rededication of vows ‑‑ The sacrament of the Lord’s supper ‑‑ An introduction to the special services: hatched, matched, and dispatched ‑‑ Special service: hatched‑‑holy baptism ‑‑ Special service: matched‑‑marriage ‑‑ Special service: dispatched‑‑the funeral and memorial service, committal service, difficult circumstances: suicide and the pastor’s responsibility, children and death ‑‑ Prayer: a most int[i]mate time, yet the most feared and misunderstood ‑‑ Music in the service of worship ‑‑ Special days and seasons: bane or  blessing? The liturgical year ‑‑A final word: pastoral care means meaningful worship.

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Dittmer, Terry.  For All the Saints: Involving Youth in Worship.  Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House, 2005.

Contents:  It’s time to worship ‑‑ How worship is organized ‑‑ The liturgy : the sum of its parts ‑‑ What about music? ‑‑Decorating for worship ‑‑ Other times to worship and praise God ‑‑ Cheers, litanies, and prayers.

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Byrd, Rob Robert.  Biblical Worship: Is It What You Think?  Enumclaw, WA: Winepress Publishing, 2005.

Contents:  Acknowledgments‑‑ pt.1. Background: Introduction ‑‑ Words have meaning ‑‑ Continuous improvement ‑‑ pt. 2. Worship versus fellowship: Worship word study ‑‑What does the Bible mean when it says worship? ‑‑Together word study ‑‑ pt.3. Implications of Biblical worship: Priority and purpose of assembly ‑‑ Disadvantages of buildings as places of worship ‑‑ Bureaucracy of the modern church organization ‑‑ pt.4. Implementing Biblical worship: Overcoming disadvanages of buildings ‑‑Keeping the Spirit alive ‑‑ Appendix A, Discussion/application questions ‑‑ Appendix B, Non‑ participant observation of the worship hour ‑‑ Appendix C, Multicontextual nature of the word church ‑‑ Appendix D, Etiology of current building/worship practice ‑‑ Bibliography.

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Ritchie, James H.  Always in Rehearsal: The Practice of Worship and the Presence of Children. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources, 2005.

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Haugen, Marty.  To Serve As Jesus Did: A Ministerial Model for Worship Teams and Leaders. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, 2005.

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Kroeker, Charlotte Y. Music in Christian Worship: At the Service of the Liturgy.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2005.

Contents:  Thinking about church music / Nicholas P. Wolterstorff‑‑ Sounding the symbols of faith : exploring the nonverbal languages of Christian worship / Don E. Saliers‑‑ Musical mystagogy : catechizing through the sacred acts / Michael S. Driscoll ‑‑ An anniversary song : Pope John Paul II’s 2003 chirograph for the centenary of Tra le sollecitudini / Jan Michael Joncas‑‑ Forward steps and side steps in a walk‑through of Christian hymnody / Bert F. Polman‑‑ The sorrow songs : laments from the Old Testament and African American experience / Wilma Ann Bailey ‑‑ The virtue of liturgical discernment / John D. Witvliet‑‑ Reverse missions : global singing for local congregations / C. Michael Hawn ‑‑ The alter‑aesthetic as “work of the people” / Linda J. Clark, Joanne M. Swenson B Religious meanings and musical styles : a matter of taste? / Frank Burch Brown ‑‑ Using music from other cultures in worship / a conversation with Mary K. Oyer‑‑Choosing music for worship / Charlotte Kroeker.

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Roussakis, Peter E.  Classic Worship: With Brethren in Mind.  Burlington, IN: Meetinghouse Press, 2005.

Contents:  Making God number one ‑‑ Worshiping the one true God ‑‑ Keeping the Lord’s day ‑‑ Ordering worship ‑‑ Praying in worship ‑‑ Praying the Lord’s prayer ‑‑ Preaching with a manuscript ‑‑ Music in worship ‑‑ Rite of dedication ‑‑ Signing repentance ‑‑ Making a spiritual commitment ‑‑ Rites of Christian baptism and confirmation ‑‑ Church and membership ‑‑ Rite of holy communion ‑‑ Rite of feet‑washing ‑‑ Rite of anointing ‑‑ Spiritual discipline of fasting.

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Lathrop, Gordon.  Central Things: Worship in Word and Sacrament.  Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortess, 2005.

Contents:  What are the essentials of Christian worship?‑‑the fruit and the leaves of the tree of life‑‑The Bible and the central things‑‑Central things : the table and the sending‑‑Central things : the bath and the assembly‑‑Style, ceremony, and purpose in doing the central things‑‑Justine Martyr’s description of the Sunday meeting.

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Webber, Robert.  Worship Is A Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation.  2nd ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.

Contents:  Winds of Change ‑‑ Principle One: Worship Celebrates Christ ‑‑ Principle Two: Worship Tells and Acts Out the Christ‑Event ‑‑ Principle Three: In Worship God Speaks and Acts ‑‑ Principle Four: Worship Is an Act of Communication ‑‑ Principle Five: In Worship We Respond to God and Each Other ‑‑ Principle Six: Return Worship to the People ‑‑ Principle Seven: All Creation Joins in Worship, Part I ‑‑ Principle Seven: All Creation Joins in Worship, Part II ‑‑ Principle Eight: Worship As a Way of Life.

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Rimbo, Robert A.  Why Worship Matters.  Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortess, 2004.

Contents:  Ends and beginnings‑‑Worship matters because God is worth it‑‑It’s all about mission‑‑Defining worship‑‑Community revived and individuals respected‑‑A form that is formative‑‑Shoulds and shrubs.

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Dennis, John Randall.  Living Worship.  Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2004.

Contents:  Living words ‑‑ Worship in suffering : Job ‑‑ Worship in awe : Isaiah ‑‑ Worship in abandon : David ‑‑ Worship in warfare : Jehoshaphat ‑‑ Worship for all nations : Jesus the Christ ‑‑ Worship in the spirit : Pentecost ‑‑ Worship of heaven : John ‑‑ Living worship ‑‑ Simple acts of worship ‑‑ A fresh commission.

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Christopherson, D. Foy.  A Place of Encounter Renewing Worship Spaces.  Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortess, 2004.

Contents:  How are we gonna get this thing to serve?‑‑What is a church?‑‑Encountering God through the ages : A brief history‑‑Places of encounter : Centers of liturgical action‑‑Sacred space : What makes space sacred?‑‑Evangelical space : Worship space makes Christ known‑‑Formational space : Welcome to Christ.

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Moore, Rachel L.  Rivers of Praise Worship Through Movement: A Guide for Establishing A Lifestyle of Worship.  Detroit, MI: Dawn Treader Publications, 2004.

Contents:  Spiritual elements ‑‑ The pattern for worship ‑‑ The word of God : our biblical cord for eternal life ‑‑ The chambers of God : the passageway of faith ‑‑ Secret hiding place : prayer as a place of refuge B Relationship with Christ : developing an intimate connection with God ‑‑ Cultivating the heart : attaining the character of Christ ‑‑ Praise unlimited : clothed with spiritual garments ‑‑ Application elements ‑‑ The word on dance : the ministry of dance ‑‑ Ministry mission ‑‑ Technical methods for the ministry of dance ‑‑ Spiritual warfare and winning battles ‑‑ Prophecy and prophetic dance B Teaching your fingers to war : signing and dance ‑‑ Practical elements ‑‑ Organizing a dance team ‑‑ Temple maintenance ‑‑ Choreography ‑‑ Props for praise ‑‑ Priestly garments to fit you for the King ‑‑ Empowering youth to worship God ‑‑ Looking ahead : the ministering arts in evangelism.

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Weber, Rob.  ReConnectingworship  [DVD videorecording]: Where Tradition and Innovation Converge.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2004.

Summary  Resources for eight small group study sessions about congregational worship, designed to reach new groups of people, start an alternative worship experience, or launch a new congregation.

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Kimball, Dan.  Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings For New Generations.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.

Contents:  What is an emerging worship [service] gathering? ‑‑ The paradox of creating alternative worship gatherings ‑‑ Why this is a dangerous book to read ‑‑ Reasons to create a new worship gathering ‑‑ Critical questions to ask before starting a new worship gathering ‑‑ First steps toward starting a new worship gathering ‑‑ Common values in emerging worship gatherings ‑‑ Planning and creating multisensory worship gatherings ‑‑ Approaches churches use to start new worship gatherings ‑‑ Starting a life‑stage outreach gathering ‑‑ Creating life‑stage worship gatherings ‑‑ Creating multi‑congregational worship gatherings ‑‑ Starting a new kind of church ‑‑ Starting house church worship gatherings ‑‑ Alternative worship gatherings in England ‑‑ Is emerging worship simply creating a new generation of Christian consumers?

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Deraborn, Tim A., ed.  Worship At The Next Level: Insight From Contemporary Voices.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004.

Contents:  What do we mean by “Christian worship”? / James F. White ‑‑ Worship as adoration and action : reflections on a Christian way of being‑in‑the‑world / MiroslavVolf‑‑ Liturgical assembly as locus of mission / Thomas H. Schattauer‑‑ On starting with people / James F. White ‑‑ The triumph of the praise songs : how guitars beat out the organ in the worship wars / Michael S. Hamilton ‑‑ The crisis of evangelical worship : authentic worship in a changing world / Robert E. Webber ‑‑ A new reformation : re‑creating worship for a postmodern world / Leonard Sweet ‑‑ Moshing for Jesus : adolescence as a cultural context for worship / Kenda Creasy Dean ‑‑ Amplified versions : worship wars come down to music and a power plug / Andy Crouch ‑‑ A humbling experience : contemporary worship’s simple aesthetic / Andy Crouch ‑‑ New approaches to worship / Mike Riddell, Mark Pierson, Cathy Kirkpatrick ‑‑ Missing God at church? / Gary M. Burge ‑‑ Art for faith’s sake / Clayton J. Schmit‑‑ Beyond style : rethinking the role of music in worship / John D. Witvliet‑‑ A matter of taste? / Frank Burch Brown.

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Schultze, Quentin J.  High‑Tech Worship?: Using Presentational Technologies Wisely.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004.

Contents:  Our confusion ‑‑ Understanding worship ‑‑ Corporate worship and technology

‑‑ Avoiding quick‑fix techniques ‑‑ Fitting technology into worship ‑‑Echnological stewardship ‑‑ Virtuous authority ‑‑ Moving forward wisely ‑‑Appendix : a snapshot of technology in

churches.

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Vann, Jane Rogers.  Gathered Before God: Worship‑Centered Church Renewal.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Contents:  Foundations for congregational renewal. Worship at the center of congregational life ; Experiential learning in congregational life ‑‑ Congregational practices. How congregations worship ; Prayer and spiritual disciplines ; Study and instruction ; Ministry and mission ; Leadership in worship‑centered congregational life.

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Baker, Jonny.  Alternative Worship: Resources From and For the Emerging Church.  Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004.

Contents:  Pt 1. Advent and Christmas. Ritual ‑‑ Not by prose alone ‑‑Pt 2. Lent. Images ‑‑ Liturgy ‑‑ Music ‑‑Pt 3. Easter. Renewing culture ‑‑ Faithful improvisation ‑‑Pt 4. Pentecost. Incarnation and popular culture ‑‑Reframing tradition ‑‑ 100 routes to resourcing your worship.

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Beach, Nancy.  An Hour On Sunday: Creating Moments of Transformation and Wonder.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.

Contents:  The wonder of Sundays ‑‑ Intentionality. Part 1 ‑‑ Intentionality. Part 2 ‑‑ Leadership ‑‑ Community ‑‑ Evaluation ‑‑ Well‑ordered hearts and lives ‑‑ Excellence ‑‑ Creativity ‑‑ Authenticity ‑‑ Transcendent moments‑‑ Transformational teaching ‑‑ The rewards of Sundays.

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Flannagan, Andy.  Distinctive Worship: How A New Generation Connects with God.  Milton Keynes: Spring Harvest/Authentic Media, 2004.

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Zimmerman, Martha.  Celebrating Biblical Feasts in Your Home Or Church.  Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2004.

Contents:  1. Sabbath : a weekend celebration for the family ‑‑ 2. Passover : in order that you should remember ‑‑ 3. The Omer : an “in between” time ‑‑ 4. Shavuoth : fifty days counted, now celebrate! ‑‑ 5. Rosh Hashanah : a day of blowing ‑‑ 6. Yom Kippur : a day of returning ‑‑ 7. Sukkoth : a family fort festival.

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Basden, Paul. Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 views.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.

Contents:  Formal‑liturgical worship / Paul F.M. Zahl‑‑ Traditional hymn‑based worship / Harold M. Best ‑‑ Contemporary music‑driven worship / Joe Horness‑‑ Charismatic worship / Don Williams ‑‑ Blended worship / Robert Webber ‑‑ Emerging worship / Sally Morganthaler.

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The worship sourcebook.  Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources; Baker Book House, 2004.

Contents:  The practice of Christian worship ‑‑ The worship sourcebook : a contemporary experiment based on classical models ‑‑ Using the worship sourcebook ‑‑ Elements of the worship service ‑‑ Opening of worship ‑‑ Confession and assurance ‑‑ Proclaiming the word ‑‑ Prayers of the people ‑‑ Offering ‑‑ Baptism ‑‑ Profession of faith and remembrance of baptism ‑‑ The Lord’s supper ‑‑ Closing of worship ‑‑ Central themes of the Christian faith ‑‑ Creation ‑‑ Providence ‑‑ Thanksgiving ‑‑ Advent ‑‑ Christmas ‑‑ Epiphany ‑‑ Baptism of our Lord ‑‑ Transfiguration ‑‑ Ash Wednesday ‑‑ Lent ‑‑ Passion/Palm Sunday ‑‑ Maundy Thursday ‑‑ Good Friday ‑‑ Easter ‑‑ Ascension of our Lord ‑‑ Christ the king ‑‑ Pentecost ‑‑ Trinity Sunday ‑‑ Unity of the church ‑‑ Communion of the saints ‑‑ Appendix : Worship evaluation forms.

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Miller, Kim.  Designing Worship: Creating and Integrating Powerful God Experiences. Loveland, CO: Group, 2004.

Contents:  Assembling a worship design team ‑‑ Finding great team players ‑‑ The vital role of the pastor‑speaker ‑‑ Small churches empowering teams that soar ‑‑ Anatomy of a design team meeting B Developing the weekend worship experience ‑‑ The teams surrounding the team : working in community ‑‑ Overcoming obstacles in worship design ‑‑ Four mantras for the mission ‑‑ Styling the stage ‑‑ Focusing on the inside story ‑‑ Playing to the heart of our colorful God ‑‑ Writing for worship connection ‑‑ Powerful prayers for everyday people ‑‑ A mission‑driven messenger ‑‑ Send out : a ministry of mud ‘n’ spit.

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Witvliet, John D.  Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows Into Christian Practice.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003.

Contents: Biblical studies. The Former Prophets and the practice of Christian worship ; Praise and lament in the Psalms and in liturgical prayer ‑‑ Theological studies. Covenant theology in ecumenical discussions of the Lord’s Supper ; Theological models for the relationship between liturgy and culture ‑‑  Historical studies. Images and themes in John Calvin’s theology of liturgy ; Baptism as a sacrament of reconciliation in the thought of John Calvin ; The Americanization of Reformed worship ; Theological issues in the frontier worship tradition in nineteenth‑century America ‑‑ Musical studies. The spirituality of the Psalter in Calvin’s Geneva ; Soul food for the people of God ; The blessing and bane of the North American evangelical megachurch‑‑ Pastoral studies. Making good choices in an era of liturgical change ; Planning and leading worship as a pastoral task ; Celebrating the Christian Passover in Easter worship ; How common worship forms us for our encounter with death.

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Leading worship [DVD videorecording].  [Stafford, TX] : Vineyard Music, 2003.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ Understanding worship ‑‑ The worship leader role ‑‑ The worship set ‑‑ Choosing songs ‑‑ Theme‑based sets ‑‑ Establishing flow ‑‑ Incorporating hymns ‑‑ Rehearsing the band ‑‑ Your musical role ‑‑ Leading the set ‑‑ Follow up ‑‑ The learning process.

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Schuler, Michael W.  Breakthrough Worship: Experiencing the Joy of Heaven.  Longwood, FL: Xulon Press, 2003.

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Marini, Stephen A.  Sacred Song in America: Religion, Music, and Public Culture.  Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2003.

Contents:  Part 1: Great traditions of American sacred song ‑‑Songway: sacred‑song traditions of native America ‑‑ Pilgrimage and penitence: sacred‑song traditions of the Hispanic southwest ‑‑ Sacred harp singing: continuity and change in the American singing‑school tradition ‑‑ “Is it going to save someone?”: the black church at song ‑‑Klezmorim and Sephardim: the Jewish music revival ‑‑ Part 2: Sacred song and contemporary American religion ‑‑ New music of the spheres: from the new age to Neo‑Paganism ‑‑ Contested praise: a tale of two hymnals ‑‑ Mormons and music: maintaining and mainstreaming sectarian identity ‑‑ Troubadour for the Lord: catholic charismatics and sacred song ‑‑ The conservatory tradition: interviews with Daniel Pinkham and Neely Bruce ‑‑ Gospel music: sacred song and the marketplace ‑‑ Conclusion: American sacred song and the meaning of religious culture.

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Campbell, Melvin.  Readers Theatre for Christian Worship: Biblical Stories of Courage and Faith. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2003.

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Kraeuter, Tom.  Guiding Your Church Through a Worship Transition: A Practical Handbook for Worship Renewal.  Lynnwood, WA: Emerald Books, 2003.

Contents:  Don’t Put New Paint on Rotting Wood, The Cornerstone of Relationship with God ‑‑ Why Don’t Your Pants Have Holes in the Knees? Prayer, the Foundation ‑‑ Defacing the Temple, A Better Way: Love ‑‑ Are You Sure You Want to Do This? Why Even Make a Change? ‑‑ Putting an End to the Bless‑Me Club, Casting the Vision and Setting Goals ‑‑ United We Stand, Leadership Must Stand Together through Worship Transition ‑‑ Shouting and Clapping and Dancing, Oh My! Teaching a Biblical Perspective of Worship ‑‑ The LORD; He Is God! Teaching a Right Perception of God ‑‑ Snakes under the Bed, Moving Forward through Understanding and Example ‑‑ Slowly SlowlySlowly, Don’t Try to Move Forward Too Quickly ‑‑ Jesus Didn’t Die for Music, Progress vs. the Process ‑‑ Time Warps and Aborigines, What Is the Right Kind of Music, Anyway? ‑‑ Steel Drums and Pipe Organs, Which Instruments Are Acceptable? ‑‑ Dropkick Me, Jesus, Over the Goal Posts of Life, Looking Seriously at the Words of Songs ‑‑ Museum or Coffee Shop? Considering Architecture, Atmosphere, and Technology ‑‑ The Stupid Plastic Ring, To Add a Service or Change an Existing One? ‑‑ Entertainment Anyone? Being Real ‑‑ Moving the Freight Train, Viewing the Corporate Worship Time as a Journey ‑‑ Winnie the Pooh on Times of Corporate Worship, Finding the Balance between Planning and Spontaneity ‑‑ People and Stuff, Arrangements on the Platform ‑‑ Donor Organs, The Lighter Side of Worship Transition ‑‑ Conclusion ‑‑ Appendix A: A Praise and Worship Survey for the Congregational Members ‑‑ Appendix B: Arguments against Today’s Worship Music Compared with Scripture.

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Songwriting for worship [DVD videorecording].  [Stafford, TX] : Vineyard Music, 2003.

Contents:  Introduction ‑‑ Historically speaking ‑‑ Songs for today’s church ‑‑ It’s in me to write ‑‑ Our inspiration ‑‑ Developing the song ‑‑ Anatomy of a song ‑‑ Writing lasting lyrics ‑‑ The song vision ‑‑ Memorable  melodies ‑‑ Rewriting the first draft ‑‑ The co‑writing experience ‑‑ The finished song.

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Campbell, Melvin.  Interactive Readings for Christian Worship.  Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2003.

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Leading worship: Creating Flow.[DVD videorecording] Lindale, TX: Leadworship.com; Distributed in the U.S. by Integrity Media, 2003.

Summary  Offers instruction on making worship times flow better, discussing and demonstrating how to identify and eliminate distractions, utilize the flow factors of “themes, keys, and tempos,” develop a seamless setlist, change keys and transition smoothly, and cultivate a heart of worship in the team. Includes footage from live worship sessions.

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Anderson, E. Byron.  Worship and Christian Identity: Practicing Ourselves.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2003.

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Hayford, Jack W.  Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2003.

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Siewert, Alison.  Drama Team Handbook.  Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

Contents:  Theatrical God ‑‑ Waking up ‑‑ Sidebar : how we got here ‑‑ Drama and worship ‑‑ Drama and musical worship in conversation ‑‑ Sidebar : drama as part of a larger event ‑‑ Transitions ‑‑ Creative information ‑‑ Drama and evangelism ‑‑ Drama across cultures ‑‑ Sidebar : expressing ethnic identity in drama ‑‑ Building a performance team from the ground up ‑‑ Sidebar : workshops : non‑audition auditions ‑‑ Where to find scripts ‑‑ Sketching life ‑‑ Building a writing team ‑‑ Telling the whole story ‑‑ Context isn’t everything, but it sure is a lot ‑‑ Writing dialogue ‑‑ Writing funny B Writing monologues ‑‑ Creating collages ‑‑ Bringing the Word to life ‑‑ Sidebar : scripture for screenagers‑‑ Scripting scripture ‑‑ About acting ‑‑ Sidebar : Jesus looks mahvelous‑‑ Is it okay for Christians to act? ‑‑ Sidebar : working with words ‑‑ Character and caricature ‑‑ Sidebar : building a character ‑‑ Sidebar: the cost of excellence ‑‑ Using your voice ‑‑ Sidebar : how the voice works ‑‑ Sidebar : inflect correct ‑‑ Sidebar : stumbling into truth ‑‑ The unself‑conscious artist ‑‑ Actors’ exercises ‑‑ Freeing up your body ‑‑ Remaining calm ‑‑ The servant director ‑‑ The director prepares ‑‑ The audience ‑‑ Directing rehearsals ‑‑ Sidebar : the director in the sketch ‑‑ Working with actors ‑‑ Blocking ‑‑ Chart : stage areas ‑‑ Rehearsing when you don’t really have time to rehearse B Props and sets ‑‑ Evaluating performances.

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Dyer, Scott, comp.  The Source For Effective Church Service Planning: Unleashing the Power of the Creative Arts in Your Church.  Rev. & updated.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Willow Creek Resources, 2003.

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Redman, Matt. The Heart of Worship Files.  Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2003.

Contents:  Introduction / Matt Redman ‑‑ Revelation and response / Matt Redman ‑‑ Reflections on Psalm 8 (pt. 1) : little leaders / Louie Giglio‑‑ We become like what we worship / Don Williams ‑‑ Thoughts on songwriting (pt 1) : making melody / Matt Redman…[et.al] ‑‑ Delightful or dreadful? / Steve Nicholson ‑‑ Refreshing hymns / Matt Redman ‑‑ Understanding worship (pt. 1) : reasons for worship / Chris Jack ‑‑ Where are God’s celebrity chefs? / David Salmon ‑‑ Reflections on Psalm 8 (pt. 2) : a life of consideration / Louie Giglio‑‑ The cross : exploring all angles / Don Williams ‑‑ The real worship leader / Matt Redman ‑‑ Skill and sensitivity / Les Moir‑‑ Understanding worship (pt. 2) : the nature of worship in the Bible / Chris Jack ‑‑ Thoughts on songwriting ( Pt. 2) : crafting lyrics / Andy Park…[et al.] ‑‑ Cell, congregation, celebration : worship leading in three contexts / Matt Redman ‑‑ Praise the Lord! : a commentary on Psalm 150 / Don Williams ‑‑ What a band wants from their worship leader / Matt Weeks ‑‑ Worship and justice / an interview with Mike Pilavachi‑‑ Understanding worship (pt. 3) : forms of worship in the Old Testament / Chris Jack ‑‑ What a worship leader looks for in a band / Tim Hughes ‑‑ Worship with all you have! : reflections on Psalm 100 / Don Williams ‑‑ Context versus engagement / Matt Redman ‑‑ Understanding worship (pt. 4) : the heart of worship in the Old Testament / Chris Jack ‑‑ Cultivating a quiet heart / Matt Redman ‑‑ Renewing the intimate friendship / Matt Redman ‑‑ Imagine the view from here : the vision of a lead worshipper / John David Walt, Jr.

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Giglio, Louie.  The Air I Breathe: Worship As A Way of Life.  Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2003.

Contents:  That Thing We Do ‑‑ Something More ‑‑ Why Worship Matters ‑‑ What God Wants Most for You ‑‑ Joining the Ranks of True Worshipers ‑‑ For Who He Is, for What He Does ‑‑ Worship as a Way of Life ‑‑ Through Jesus, All the Time ‑‑ Lips and Lives ‑‑ A Personal Path to Worship ‑‑ Moving Beyond Me, to Us ‑‑ My Thanks ‑‑ Questions for Group Discussion ‑‑ Quotation Sources.

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Fields, Doug.  Surrendering Your Life To Honor God: 6 Small Group Sessions on Worship.  El Cajon, CA: Youth Specialties, 2003.

Summary:  Presents lessons to be used by small groups to explore ways of worshiping God through prayer, fellowship, and ministry, as well as throughout one’s daily life.

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Chapman, Kathleen.  Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How To Keep Them Close to God for Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003.

Contents:  In search of the glue ‑‑ Part 1: what ‑‑ Worship : the definition ‑‑ Hero worship : the example ‑‑ God who? ‑‑ Part 2: how ‑‑ Learn the language ‑‑The art of focus ‑‑ Familiarity ‑‑ A plan for worship ‑‑ Part 3: why ‑‑ The benefits of worship ‑‑ 52 worship moments.

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Playing Together As A Worship Band [videorecording].  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.

Summary:  Training for worship ministers dealing with principles and techniques that help worship teams, sound techicians, vocalists learn the essentials and build cohesiveness.

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Kavanaugh, Patrick.  Raising Children To Adore God: Instilling A Lifelong Passion for Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2003.

Contents:  What is worship ‑‑ Modelling a lifestyle of worship before our children ‑‑ Knowing your children ‑‑ Your child’s environment : home and church ‑‑ Family devotionals ‑‑ Your child’s friends ‑‑ Home‑life principles that encourage worship ‑‑ Your church’s youth ministry ‑‑ Corporate worship and children ‑‑ The different stages of children’s worship.

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White, Susan J.  A History of Women in Christian Worship.  Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2003.

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Kirk‑Duggan, Cheryl A.  Soul Pearls: Worship Resources for African American Congregations. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2003.

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Best, Harold M.  Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts.  Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

Contents:  Pt. 1. Unceasing worship as continuous outpouring. Nobody does not worship ; What is authentic worship? ; Mutual indwelling : the final geography of worship ; The corporate gathering and authentic worship ; Worship and witness : the indivisible task of continuous outpouring ; Worship, praying and preaching ‑‑ Pt. 2. Unceasing worship and the arts. Continuous outpouring and artistic action ; What creative people can learn from God’s creation ; The peculiarity of music and its unique role ; The arts in contrast : allowing art to be art ; “You shall not worship me this way” : worship, art and incipient idolatry ; The cultural expanse, pt. 1 : realities and unities ; The cultural expanse, pt. 2 : issues ; What of quality?

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Ryken, Philip Graham, ed.  Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, Celebrating the Legacy of James Montgomery Boice.  Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Pub., 2003.

Contents:  James Montgomery Boice and the Hugunot Fellowship / William Edgar ‑‑ Does God care how we worship? / J. Ligon Duncan III ‑‑ Foundations for Biblically directed worship / .Ligon Duncan III ‑‑ The regulative principle : responding to recent criticism / Derek W. H. Thomas ‑‑ Corporate worship : a means of grace / Edmund P. Clowney‑‑ Expository preaching : center of Christian worship / R. Albert Mohler Jr. ‑‑ Evangelistic expository preaching / Mark E. Dever‑‑ Reading and praying the Bible in corporate worship / Terry L. Johnson and J. Ligon Duncan III ‑‑ Baptism : joyful sign of the Gospel / D. Marion Clark ‑‑ The Lord’s Supper : an overview / Richard D. Phillips ‑‑ Hymnody in a post‑hymnody world / Paul S. Jones ‑‑ Restoring Psalm singing to our worship / Terry L. Johnson ‑‑ Private worship / Donald S. Whitney ‑‑ A call to family worship / J. Ligon Duncan III and Terry L. Johnson ‑‑ Worship in all of life / William Edgar ‑‑ Worship and the emotions / W. Robert Godfrey ‑‑ Worship through the ages / Nick R. Needham ‑‑ Calvin’s theology of worship / Hughes Oliphant Old ‑‑ Challenges and opportunities for ministry today / Michael S. Horton.

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York, Terry W.  America’s Worship Wars.  Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003.

Contents:  The 1960’s : a time of change ‑‑ Two denominational boundaries breaking down ‑‑ Three para church youth movement ‑‑ The politicization of worship ‑‑ Christian popular music ‑‑ “The fastest growing churches” and similar reports ‑‑ Television church ‑‑Thelanguage of worship ‑‑ Champions of peace ‑‑ How do we train worship leaders? ‑‑ Cold war or new order? ‑‑ Epilogue: Worship from the margin.

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Dawn, Marva J.  How Shall We Worship?: Biblical Guidelines for the Worship Wars.  Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.

Contents:  What kinds of music should we use? ‑‑Who is being worshiped? ‑‑How do we worship God? ‑‑What will be the result of genuine worship? ‑‑What idols tempt us away from worshiping the only true God? ‑‑What does God’s creation have to say about worship? ‑‑ Do we have a big enough God? ‑‑How has the church developed its ascribing? ‑‑How will true worship change our character? B How does the Lord’s sovereignty affect our worship and evangelism? ‑‑How does the creation teach us to praise? ‑‑How does worship form us by the future to live in the present?

 

 

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Killing Me Loudly With His Song

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loud

Most of us can’t imagine operating a lawn mower or power tools without hearing protection and yet regularly operate our worship sound reinforcement systems at a comparable decibel level.  We all know volume complaints are more prevalent when the musical style is one the complainant doesn’t particularly like.  But the reality is that decibel levels are no respecter of persons or styles.

An organ introit, choir and orchestra anthem, rhythm section bridge, or southern gospel quartet all have the same potential to hover around unsafe or even damaging levels with extended exposure.  In fact, some studies have even shown that incidents of hearing loss are slightly higher in classical musicians than rock musicians.  Even though our volume preferences may be subjective, the potential effects are not.

Worship and Tech leaders often use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decibel scale to determine acceptable levels.  Although a helpful resource, it is often used reactively rather than proactively.  In other words, leaders often use this scale to defend existing levels in response to complaints.

Proactive use of the OSHA scale can instead help a congregation consider not only acceptable levels but also appropriate levels for the culture of their individual congregation.  Acceptable levels are objective…Appropriate levels are subjective.  Appropriate levels consider the congregation we have been given to lead, not one we wish we had been given to lead.

decibelIn most cases it would require only slight adjustments to reduce the risk of hearing damage or loss.  Experts have written that based on the length of time of exposure vs. the intensity of exposure, every 3 dB drop reduces the risk by one-half.  Even though humans are very good at determining and measuring frequency, they are not very good at determining loudness, or differences in loudness.  In the noisy environment of a worship service with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists playing and singing simultaneously, a 3 dB drop of the band or orchestra would be imperceptible to most congregants.[1]  Slight adjustments would foster significant progress toward safer worship music levels for longer periods of time.

As leaders, we can rationalize unsafe decibel levels because it feels better, because it fits the genre, or because we prefer it at those levels.  And yet, we often vilify those congregants who make those same claims about their preferences.  It is really just a matter of our responsibility and accountability as leaders to fulfill our obligation to steward those we have been entrusted to lead.  How are we doing?

 


[1] Marshall Chasin, Hearing Loss in Musicians: Prevention and Management, (San Diego: Plural Publishing, 2009).

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You Say You Want A Revolution: Blowing Up Worship

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revolution

 

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know, we all want to change the world
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out.”
                                     Revolution, Lennon-McCartney

 

Change is often necessary as a congregation considers meaningful worship in response to shifts in cultures and contexts. In the rush to do something fresh, leaders often plunge into the stream of radical worship change without reflecting on the past and present circumstances that framed existing structures and practices. And since most guys like to blow stuff up, the initial reaction when things don’t seem to be working is to completely destroy those existing practices for the prospect of future aspirations.

A revolution is the forcible overthrow or renunciation of an existing system or structure in order to substitute another. It is the repudiation and thorough replacement of what presently exists without considering that it still holds value for some. This radical and pervasive change most often occurs suddenly without giving consideration to the potential fall-out. And in a revolution…one side always loses.

In an effort to initiate worship change, well-intentioned leaders often push to do something…anything different than what they perceive as not working now. This absence of wisdom and leadership acumen often causes unnecessary transitional pain and relational conflict. The automatic assumption is that worship change always requires incorporating something new. But maybe the adjustment most congregations actually need is not a revolution but instead a reevaluation of present structures and practices and the realization that the only new necessary is to do what they are already doing…better.

A reevaluation is the consideration or examination of something again in order to make adjustments or form new opinions about it. It is to determine and assess significance, worth, and value with renewed resolve and vision. This reexamination allows a congregation to consider change through a unified process of rethinking, revisiting, and reinvestigating. And in reevaluation…all sides are considered.

Reevaluation may also help a congregation realize that the only new really essential to worship health may reside in the revitalization of the attitude and resolve of the leader…which wouldn’t require blowing up the existing structure or practices of the congregation. Assisting a congregation through worship transition with minimal pain is accomplished by continuing to accent what a congregation does best and by reclaiming lost worship focus with a deeper congregational involvement.

Reevaluating worship offers a congregation the opportunity to consider again how they can add to rather than take away from where they have been, ultimately impacting what they hope to be.

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Modern Worship Lexicon

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lexiconA new lexicon has evolved in response to the advent of modern worship.  You may want to add some of these selections to your worship vocabulary:

Worshipappens – Standard response to congregants who constantly complain about worship change.

Worshapparition – The belief that what and how we sing or play it will determine if the Holy Spirit shows up.

Worshapathy – for definition see:  Middle School boy or Senior Adult man.

Worshapologetics – Theological, Biblical, and Doctrinal defense of worship traditionalism.

Worshtip – The offering.

Worshtipulations – Stylistic pre-conditions to determine if worship will/won’t/can/can’t occur.

Worshapex – The loudest, fastest, and highest point of the song set before beginning the worshapproach.

Worshapproach – The final song descent in volume, key, and tempo before landing the worship set plane prior to the sermon.

Worshapolitical – Loving all worship styles, genres, tempos, and also the various instruments with which they are accompanied.

Worshapnea – spontaneous response from the diaconate to body piercings and tattoos in the worship band.

Worshapocalypse – Reducing hymnody.

Worshapocryphal – Increasing non-hymnody.

Worshapostate – The individual who permanently removed the hymnals from the pew racks.

Worshapostle – Worship team groupies or wannabe’s.

Worshapparel – Platform attire that could include:  French cuffs and sequined dresses; Sport coat and khaki pants; or Skinny jeans and shirttails.

Worshappalling – Any worship that is not what I prefer, deserve, like, or have earned.

Worshappeal – Entreaties at various service times to announce the Zumba class; remind about the offering; or extend an altar call.

Worshappease – Also known as Blended Worship.

Worshappendage – Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, or Drum stick.

Worshappetizer – A stand-alone opening song.

Worshappraisal – Post worship service evaluation that occurs in the halls and parking lots.

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What Does Worship Renewal Look Like?

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new growthWorship renewal will begin when congregations move toward a deeper awareness of the biblical precedents, historical practices, and theological tenets foundational to worship understanding. Much of the conflict that occurs as congregations consider worship renewal is the result of too much focus on the style of our worship instead of the content of our worship.

If worship leaders agree that these foundational elements are necessary why do they continue to depend on song selection and stylistic change alone to negotiate the worship impasse?  The need for worship renewal must be determined first by considering worship principles before then trying new worship practices.

The Worship Renewal Grants Program of The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship fosters well-grounded worship renewal in congregations and worshiping communities throughout North America.  This grant program provides funding assistance to those organizations developing projects that encourage worship renewal.

Betty Grit, Worship Renewal Grants Program Manager posted an article in November, 2010 titled “Worship Renewal: What We Have Learned.”  Betty has given permission for me to repost her article below.

The article is based on responses from congregations that developed projects for worship renewal funded through the Worship Renewal Grants Program.  It is interesting to note that some basic principles of worship renewal were common to all projects in this broadly ecumenical, multicultural, and multigenerational search for worship renewal.  The bulleted items in the article are taken directly from the Worship Renewal Grants Year-End Reports.

The findings recorded in this article by Betty Grit can offer great insight as your congregation considers what worship renewal might look like.  The information provided is extensive but rich in foundational worship principles.  It is lengthy but will be well worth your time to read and digest.

The language, comments, and responses may not all be consistent with the doctrines and practices of your faith community.  You are encouraged, however, to view the foundational principles in light of your culture, giving consideration to their value for your congregation and the entire ecumenical faith community.

For more information about the Worship Renewal Grants Program follow this link: http://worship.calvin.edu/grants/ or email Betty Grit – Worship Renewal Grants Program Manager: worshipgrants@calvin.edu.

 

WORSHIP RENEWAL: WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED – by Betty Grit

PROVERB 1: Worship renewal cannot be produced or engineered by human ingenuity but is a gift of God’s Spirit.   Renewal is a gift for which we pray, rather than an accomplishment we achieve.

  • Worship renewal is achieved only through the Holy Spirit-the divine favor from above.  The common theme was the need to pray diligently, be patient and expect the unexpected.
  • We learned that the most important element of worship and worship renewal is the exponential element that the Holy Spirit brings; His work supersedes any human effort.
  • Comment from a pastor: “God is shaping us at this Church in His own way and on His own schedule.   Any renewal that happens here is not based on human genius.  The Holy Spirit is at work.”
  • Everyone comes to the table with a wealth of ideas and opinions and while that makes coming to a consensus difficult, we felt the Holy Spirit was there in the process.
  • We have learned that God is faithful and that we can be led by Him to places and opportunities beyond our own imagination.
  • Any new approaches to scripture presentations in worship includes risk and requires a certain amount of courage to step out in faith.   We are constantly needing to be reminded to prayerfully discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in all of our actions related to worship.
  • Communication among worship leaders has gone from adequate to excellent.  As a worship committee, we have learned to prayerfully explore new ideas and to carefully review the more traditional worship methods. The congregation has been very cooperative in the process.

PROVERB 2: Worship renewal mines the riches of scripture and leads worshipers to deeper encounters with Christ and the gospel message.

  • Participants have spoken of a greater spirituality and growth of personal faith life and the connection between and need for both personal prayer and communal worship.
  • Congregants are more knowledgeable, more involved, more connected with each other.  Many members who were faithful but not as active are now more actively engaged.  Members, especially the children are praying some powerful prayers.  There are visible evidences of spiritual growth.
  • Group members sense a heightened energy in worship and an appreciation of the ways we have incorporated some of what we have learned into the services.  We have involved more laity in discussions of worship.  People are reporting a deepening prayer time in worship as well as more attention to the Word.
  • I am very certain that this process has little to do with the money, and so much more about commitment, connections and conversation with God and each other!
  • As we grow closer to God, we grow closer to each other.  And close community leads us back to God.  It is a circle of intimacy that lies at the heart of corporate worship.
  • Confession and Assurance of Pardon are not optional areas of worship – they are necessary.  Confession and receiving forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ is a regular part of following Christ.  Confession is not driven by guilt as much as a desire to experience God’s grace and freedom.
  • We learned that common ground in worship is much more abundant and available than our differences.  As we examined each element in our order of worship we were able to share our understanding of the meaning and purpose of each element and relate our experiences with each element.  We learned that renewal happens when people begin to have serious discussions about the nature and purpose of worship.  This process began with the discussions about applying for the grant and continues even today as we have completed the project and are moving on.
  • The grant helped us to understand a fuller meaning of the word “worship.”  We now look at worship as something that goes from an inward state to an outward state. We also now understand that there are many variations in how a congregation can express worship. Our discussion left us feeling that we have more work to do in educating our people and ourselves.

PROVERB 3: Worship renewal arises from, and leads to, the full, conscious and active participation of all worshipers – young and old, the powerless and powerful, newcomers and lifelong worshipers.

  • Worship is more spontaneous and provides more avenues for participation by the congregation than before.  We have made changes and added variety.  It has made worship more authentic.  Format changes and other intangibles have occurred.  One partnering congregation is a recent creation in our community.  Three congregations merged just a few years ago and moved into a newly built structure.  Changes that were a result of this project helped the congregation make a significant move from being “three combined churches” to becoming ONE church.
  • We created opportunities to experience a “full, conscious participation” in worship.  Those words now mean something to the group and to individuals in the group.  Worship has a new feeling to it.  Experiencing it in many ways is new and brings a new level of understanding.  Worship is not a spectator sport!  We need to find ways to gradually bring the worshippers into even more involvement.
  • It has convinced us that we don’t have to change our style, because style is not the issue. We can and must focus on passion and participation.  Our other findings have convinced us that our worship must take place in the midst of a church culture that is filled with a sense of belonging.
  • Our children who participated in the project are excited to be involved in worship planning and practice. This eagerness is matched by helpful and guiding leadership as these young people grow in grace and confidence. The participatory nature of worship has been elevated: getting more people involved as actors, both in pulpit and pew, and not simply spectators. Worship can be creative, not limited to the segmented approach that seeks to appeal to the various generational tastes.
  • Overall, our discussions have shifted from a survey or our “preferences” in worship to a focus on the presence of God in worship and worship as our response to God’s gift to us.  Though worshippers might not be able to name it, they are describing an increased impact of the service in their lives.
  • Our project discovered that worship is experiential, and needs to be the very basic elements of Christianity when shared with children with special needs.  We learned that training the congregation to be more welcoming of special needs children and their families takes time and a longer time frame than we anticipated.
  • Our grant has given both the participants and directors the incentive to be more proactive in thinking about worship practices. We also have become more intentional about finding ways to continue nurturing family worship at home during the week.
  • We enter worship shaped in part by our culture.  Transforming worship challenges the culture’s pattern we bring with us and presents the Divine patterns against which we should live our lives.
  • How do we move people of faith from being spectators to participating in worship?
  • An unplanned yet delightful surprise was that children are by far some of the best teachers of how to worship.  We discovered that the best pathway to teach adults about the dialogical nature of worship on a congregation-wide level was through the children.  Through messages, songs and postures tailored to their age and formation level, the children proved to be the best practitioners of dialogical worship in a multi-sensory/multi- experiential way.
  • Persons of all ages want to share their faith with others and need to do so to grow in their own faith.
  • Listening to persons with disabilities share their stories is a great source of instruction; disabilities and mental illnesses impact the entire family and congregational “system”; inclusion is not our project but God’s gift through Christ.
  • Our Generations Banner and Family Poster projects have enabled children, youth and adults to work cooperatively to improve the visual impact of our corporate worship and has resulted in meaningful conversations between generations and the sharing of talents and expertise of which we were previously unaware.
  • Children and youth are often leaders in worship renewal, both in their own homes and in the church.  We should never underestimate the spiritual awareness and understanding of children.
  • Intergenerational worship is counter-cultural.  When children are regularly separated from adults and families separated from singles or adults, forming a community that values the contributions of all its members requires constant explanation and vigilance.  Intergenerational worship requires planning and persistence.  We seek to build a community, which enhances the spiritual growth of all its members by including all.
  • We kept the children’s participation very diverse so the adults would get to see far ranging ways in which the children could be involved in congregational worship and so the children’s participation would not be put into a ‘liturgical’ box.
  • Young adults stay connected to a community in which they feel involved.
  • Worship renewal occurs at every age and stage of life.
  • Different cultures face different challenges in worship renewal.
  • We learned that focusing energy to foster the participation of those who are more on the edges of our assembly requires ongoing challenges.  We learned that including different elements in worship (the artistic talents of children or the cultural gifts of Hispanic members) is a celebration of God’s gifts among us that leads us to long for more.
  • We learned that a family’s home worship practices help prepare both children and parents to become more active worshipers during corporate worship.  We learned that lasting renewal comes as a result of study over time; being patient in prayer, open to ideas, changing one heart at a time.  Collaboration and communication are vital.

PROVERB 4: Relationships (Christian fellowship, trust, forgiveness and grace) are essential for worshiping together.

  • We have come to understand that there are indeed a variety of gifts but the same Spirit.  Before the grant process we would speak of two separate cultures of worship.  We have developed a new culture with shared core values and this culture and these core values we have found to be in tune with our tradition.  We worship now as a true expression of who we are as a multi-cultural, bilingual community of believers.  We have found our common ground by spending time together to talk and share our experiences.
  • Working as a group in a worship project can build bonds that withstand the mundane frictions that inevitably occur in an organization.  After the Advent season, one member said that the congregation felt more energized than it had for a long time.  As a worship committee, we are continually aware of the need to focus our worship planning, remembering what we learned from the various opportunities provided as a result of the grant.  We find ourselves energized and hopeful as we seek to enhance the worship life of our community.
  • Because we care about each other, we do not allow our different assumptions and opinions to form rifts and barriers.  On the contrary, those differences have helped us broaden and deepen our understandings of the nature of worship.  Worship renewal may require programs and meetings but its basis is in a relationship of care and trust.
  • We have learned that technology is a tool for communicating, but nothing replaces relationships in effectiveness at communicating the Good News.
  • Team work is essential – and takes intentional work (& work & work & work…)
  • We have experienced worship renewal to be a dynamic, engaging and mysterious process.  We have gained a more comprehensive understanding of worship, of styles/modes/languages of worship and of the power of increased planning and training on the flow and impact of the worship service.  We have learned that worship renewal needs concentrated time and effort and that it is on going.  We have also become more aware that the planning of worship in this large church can be challenging and needs deeper involvement by laity.
  • We discovered the importance of the linkage between the activity of worship and the sense of community throughout the church.  Worship style isn’t nearly as important as a widespread sense of belonging.  Participation in worship is a key to passion for God in worship.  Mere onlookers are more likely to be distracted by style.  We learned how difficult worship renewal can be.  Congregational buy-in is essential if renewal is to work.  Otherwise, you’ll simply have revolution and reaction.

PROVERB 5: Worship involves all the senses.

  • We have learned that worship can involve all the senses including handling clay, the movement of dance, observing a story in stained glass, and singing an ancient hymn.
  • To lead a reading in worship involves more than to make audible what is printed.  Whether we’re intentional about it or not, we supply an interpretation to that reading.
  • Besides simply allowing individuals to just see or experience different forms of artistic expression within worship, it has opened doors to new conversations among members about worship itself.  These conversations were not very prevalent prior to this grant project.
  • People are more comfortable with new visual elements when the theological reasoning is presented to them.
  • Our liturgies tend to be so full of words that we sometimes neglect other, non-verbal or non-rational aspects of our humanity.
  • Physical actions are a powerful gateway for spiritual growth and renewal.  God uses our senses to communicate His loving presence to us as we share bread and wine.
  • Sometimes it’s not easy to talk about worship because it’s difficult to put our thoughts about God into words.  Pictures, symbols, or movement often convey what words cannot.
  • Artwork that is integrated into the goals and meaning of worship amplifies the emotion of the experience, making it more vital, more personal.  It can help direct our focus and help us pray.
  • The place in which we worship influences how we worship and what our worship experience is like.
  • No matter the type, style or source of congregational song, there must be strong leadership.  In every congregation and community God gives people the capacity for musical expression in worship.  The gathering and use of these gifts may require creative choices and reframed expectations.
  • Our view of worship has certainly been expanded and enriched throughout this grant process.  Through working with leaders from various church denominations we have learned to embrace the variety of worship expressions (dance styles, music, costumes, etc.) that flow from the Body of Christ.

PROVERB 6: Learning about worship is essential for renewal

  • Conscious, active and fruitful participation only happens when meaningful education about worship has first taken place.
  • We have learned how much we as a congregation did not know about the history, theology and practice of Christian worship through the centuries and in various settings.  “We’ve always done it this way” may not be a statement of resistance to change as much as an admission of our limited knowledge and experience.
  • Worship renewal cannot come arbitrarily – for the sake of change alone, or even for the sake of keeping worshipers interested.  It must come as a result of a congregations’ understanding between the connection of its worship practices and the way in which that body lives out God’s purposes for this world.
  • Whether teaching children, seekers, new or mature Christians, clearly explaining in a life-giving way why we are doing what we are doing -whether it be praying a lament, lifting our hands, giving our offering, bowing in repentance or receiving a blessing – has a direct affect on people’s increased passion for and awareness of worship.  Simply going through the motions of worship – stand-up, sit-down, sing now, not talking – without letting people know why they are engaged in these practices rob worshipers of a deep and meaningful experience of God.
  • We have asked ourselves, “How can we foster more vibrant, intergenerational and participatory worship while still maintaining a high standard of theological integrity?”  We have a genuine need to educate our congregation in the richness, beauty and intentionality of worship.
  • I learned different ways to pray, like the Lord’s Prayer (age 5).  I’ve seen the power of praying together and opening yourself before God and others (age 68).  I liked studying the phrases of the Lord’s Prayer every week and seeing them on the banner up front; now, when we pray at the table, it means a lot (age 16).  Prayer: so vital to worship, so accessible to people of all ages, such an integral part of a Christian’s life.

PROVERB 7: Worship renewal often takes place around the sacraments

  • There is renewed emphasis and study of the sacraments of baptism and communion.
  • The project brought many people to a greater awareness of Communion and how it can be received/served in different ways.  Younger adults and young people seem to be drawn to the mystery of the sacrament and thus it engages them in worship on a regular basis.
  • The more we studied the sacraments, the more we discovered how deep and complex their meaning and recognized a need to make continuing education on the sacraments part of our church culture.
  • “Communion” comes from the Greek word of Christian fellowship (“koinonia”), life shared with God and with each other.  Communion binds us together as the body of Christ.
  • We have asked, “How can we increase our understanding and appreciation of confession/assurance of pardon in light of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?”

PROVERB 8: There is a hunger for worship renewal.

  • Those who are seeking God appreciate worship that is inviting and experiential, imaginative and inclusive.
  • We did not anticipate fully the eagerness of the congregation to explore worship renewal.  Everybody had varying ideas of what this meant.  We learned that the pastor was instrumental in keeping the idea of renewal before the congregation.  We also learned that much of what we had been doing was simply from habit and did not increase our communication with God.  One thing that surprised some team members was a small segment of the congregation that was very resistant to the idea of making any changes.  They saw the whole idea of renewal as unnecessary.  However, the increased vitality in the worship service served to quiet most of their fears and doubts.
  • We learned that there is much eagerness for worship renewal in the life of our congregations.  Our focus on educating and involving children in worship has been received as a welcome effort.  Most people think of worship as a personal experience to be rated for “how much they get out of it.”  Our task as educators, as well as pastors, is to promote worship as what we do in response to God’s love and grace.  We continue to learn and develop worship habits throughout our lives.

Practical Tips:

  • It only takes a few thoughtful, deliberate and discrete changes to create far-reaching effects.  Numerous or sweeping changes can easily be counter-productive.
  • Worship renewal is a much longer process than we thought – actual, tangible change is incremental.  Perhaps worship renewal is mustard seed speed.
  • Worship renewal is a marathon and not a 40-yard dash, and as a result, we must remain focused, fervent and faithful in continuing this journey of worship renewal.
  • We have learned that planning a worship service is hard work and being creative at it is time-consuming.  But, offering creative worship to God is exhilarating and renewing, calling forth unrecognized gifts.
  • Those who minister are sometimes starving for an opportunity to be ministered to.  Those in leadership sometimes are hurting and need others.
  • How does a congregation regain its call to active ministry and not just say: “That’s the Pastor’s job”?
  • Small Group Dynamics – How developing small group ministries can enhance worship and how worship can enhance small group ministries.
  • Leadership awareness to the culture and place where their congregation is.  How to introduce new ideas without appearing to be dictator or destroyer of tradition.
  • Thinking beyond self – Moving congregations to a new vision of worship and life that extends past its doors.
  • Overcoming the “if it’s not happening in my church, it is not happening” mentality of small member congregations.  Helping move people to experience worship in different settings than in “their church.”
  • Pastor identity – Role of the Pastor in the life of the congregation, i.e. avoiding the over-functioning Pastor/under functioning Church that happens in many small member congregations.  The role of Pastor in teaching and worship – developing an understanding of what a Pastor is and does and whom the congregation is as ministers (priesthood of all believers).
  • Do everything by team.  If you can’t get a team of people together, reevaluate!
  • We have learned the importance of planning ahead.  This grant gave us a manageable way to incorporate more people in planning an overarching theme for a set of services.  Our worship has been more experiential, more creative and more unified than ever before.
  • The participants at the final seminar learned that change is not a bad word.  They also learned some ways of helping people be more open to change in their worship life and empowering them to have a sense of participation in moving towards change.
  • Giving up individual ownership of a vision or project allows others to embrace it.  Allow a vision to be shaped and room to grow through the joyful dialogue of interested believers.
  • You cannot have too much promotion for a project.  Promotion is too big a job to do by yourself.  The best promotion is done from the ground up by those who share your vision.
  • Because we are a young church, we had assumed that habits of worship for our congregation were not really developed.  We found out that every church has habits.  As worship became more interactive, people became more involved.  As our worship involved all ages, we felt more like a family and learned ways God interacts with us in our different life stages.
  • We are all aware of a new energized attitude about worship in our community.  There is a renewed attentiveness toward the elements within our worship service.  Fortunately, the congregation has learned over the year how to provide feedback in a useful and positive manner!
  • We have learned to plan ahead and meet often for vision, strategic planning, prayer and fun!  Worship planning and leading is an exceeding joy!

 

 

 

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Is Worship A Drug?

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Worship DrugThe Religion News Service posted an interesting article last month on the phenomenon of the megachurch and why churches of 2,000 congregants or more continue to grow in size and popularity.  According to this article and accompanying articles, more than half of all American churchgoers now attend the largest 10 percent of churches.  The article was in response to a presentation at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association on August 19 in Denver.  (A link to the Religion News Service article is available below)

The presentation was from the paper, “God Is Like A Drug: Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Megachurches.”  The author, James Wellman, associate professor of American Religion at the University of Washington; and co-authors, Katie E. Corcoran and Kate Stockly-Meyerdirk, University of Washington graduate students in sociology and comparative religion based their research and paper on a 2008 study by the Leadership Network on 12 nationally representative American megachurches.

“Membership in megachurches is one of the leading ways American Christians worship these days, so, therefore, these churches should be understood,” said Wellman.  He continued by stating, “Our study shows that – contrary to public opinion that tends to pass off the megachurch movement as consumerist religion – megachurches are doing a pretty effective job for their members.  In fact, megachurch members speak eloquently of their spiritual growth.”

In a parallel article, Daniel Fowler from the American Sociological Association wrote, “Megachurch services feature a come-as-you-are atmosphere, rock music, and what Wellman calls a ‘multisensory mélange’ of visuals and other elements to stimulate the senses, as well as small-group participation and a shared focus on the message from a charismatic pastor.  The researchers hypothesized that such rituals are successful in imparting emotional energy in the megachurch setting, ‘creating membership feelings and symbols charged with emotional significance, and a heightened sense of spirituality,’ they wrote.”

Wellman said, “That’s what you see when you go into megachurches — you see smiling people; people who are dancing in the aisles, and, in one San Diego megachurch, an interracial mix I’ve never seen anywhere in my time doing research on American churches. We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug.”

I would value reading your response to the entire article linked below.  Please respond by clicking the comments tab under the post title above.

Click to read the Religion News Service Article: Does Megachurch “High” Explain Their Success

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Leading Worship Change…What Are You Reading?

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changeWorship change is sometimes necessary as congregations consider the culture and context of who is present and who is not present…yet.  Available resources such as books, websites, and trusted leaders from outside the organization could offer assistance in facilitating healthier change.

In an effort to initiate worship change, leaders often push to do something…anything different than what is not working now.  The lack of planning and reflection often causes unnecessary transitional pain.

It can be just as painful, however, when a congregation is hesitant to change even when it is obvious that change is necessary.  Failing to initiate change when change is inevitable can cause a congregation to get stuck and force them to drift out of control for an undetermined season.  Craig Satterlee wrote, “Any change can be approached as either a threat or an opportunity, either a cause for celebration or a reason to despair.”[1]

Since change is often necessary for organizations to progress, the automatic assumption is that change will always require incorporating something completely new.  It is possible that the only new necessary is for the organization to do what they are already doing…better.  Chip and Dan Heath remind us that, “We rarely ask the question:  What’s working and how can we do more of it? What we ask instead is more problem-focused:  What’s broken and how do we fix it?[2] Leaders must also consider that the only new really essential to organizational success may reside in the revitalization of the attitude and resolve of the leader… not with the structure or practices of the organization.

Leaders often plunge into the stream of change without reflecting on the past and present circumstances that frame the structure and practices of their organization.  In their rush to do something fresh they rarely consider the consequences that could occur as a result of ignoring those circumstances.  Andy Stanley challenges leaders with the understanding that, “Designing and implementing a strategy for change is a waste of time until you have discovered and embraced the current reality.  If you don’t know where you really are, it is impossible to get to where you need to be.  What you don’t know can kill you.”[3]

 

The following book suggestions offer valuable insights into leading worship change with benevolence.  Please add your favorites to the list by clicking on the comments link under my article title above.

carsonCarson, Timothy L., Transforming Worship (St. Louis: Chalice, 2003).

“What we understand correctly is that the immediate past century may indeed take the gold cup for being the historical period of the greatest rapidity, volume, and complexity of change.  People of great longevity who lived for a hundred years between 1900 and 2000 witnessed an almost unbelievable breadth of change.  Many of them sat in our pews.  They were the ones who finally stopped saying, ‘Now I’ve seen it all.’”

“What we misunderstand, however, is that earlier centuries of Christians faced equally shocking and shaking developments.  We forget the innovative and sometimes heroic ways in which they adapted and often flourished.  By remembering, we can avoid the inclination toward either excessive self-congratulation or undue self-pity.”

SatterleeSatterlee, Craig A., When God Speaks Through Change: Preaching in Times of Congregational Transition (Herndon: Alban Institute, 2005).

“As living organisms, congregations are by definition in a constant state of change.  Whether the changes are in membership, pastoral leadership, lay leadership, the needs of the community, or the broader culture, a crucial mark of healthy congregations is their ability to deal creatively and positively with change.  The fast pace of change in contemporary culture, with its bias toward, not against change only makes the challenge of negotiating change all the more pressing for congregations.”

“During a congregational transition, faithful preaching ensures that the gospel – and not a program or agenda – is proclaimed and heard.  Effective preaching leads the congregation to experience God’s presence, grace, power, and direction amidst the transition.  Faithful and effective preaching illuminates the mystery inherent in the transition, rather than seeking to eliminate it, so that God provides orientation and direction as the congregation moves into what is still unknown.  Faithful and effective preaching models and declares that God speaks through change.”

Trouble at the tableDoran, Carol and Thomas H. Troeger, Trouble At the Table: Gathering the Tribes for Worship (Nashville: Abingdon, 1992).

“Sometimes in the effort to avoid the pitfalls of acting autocratically and in hope that the conflict will disappear, leaders abdicate their role.  Their denomination has supplied them with hymnals and liturgical resources that are rich with materials for revitalizing their worship, but the threat of conflict and resistance is enough to paralyze them.  It is easier to keep choosing from the same limited selections of congregational songs and to keep the same ritual form than to invest the time and energy required to introduce and lead new material effectively.”

“A great deal of tribal warfare results from people using the power of liturgical leadership to impose forms and methods of worship that have at best a tenuous relationship to the depths and demands of faith. The internal pluralism of the congregation and the quickly changing values and fashions of popular culture make it harder to be ‘cohesive’ and to maintain a clear sense of ‘religious identification.’”

ByarsByars, Ronald P., The Future of Protestant Worship: Beyond the Worship Wars (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002).

“What, other than a pioneering spirit, drives these changes?  In some cases, it seems to be a passion for evangelism, and particularly for reaching out to generations largely missing from traditional churches.  In other cases, it seems to be an attempt to hold on to church members who are bored and reluctant worshipers.  Sometimes, it may be an attempt to duplicate the fabulous numerical successes of single-generation congregations.  But behind those various motivating factors, there is the inescapable fact of dramatic cultural change.  What used to work just fine (or seemed to) doesn’t work anymore.”

“Is anything really essential to Christian worship?  Or is worship simply a blank page, an empty hour or so to be filled with whatever seems religious?  Is it possible to worship in the idiom of popular culture without oversimplifying and even distorting the gospel?  Or, by turning its back on contemporary cultural forms, does the church become elitist, inaccessible to large numbers of people?  Should these questions even be addressed without at least some minimal consultation with Scripture, theology, and history, as well as sociology?  Interested parties have answered all these questions differently.  Since a great deal is at stake, it’s no surprise that passions rise when dealing with them.”


[1] Satterlee, Craig A., When God Speaks through Change: Preaching in Times of Congregational Transition (Herndon: Alban Institute, 2005), 6.

[2] Heath, Chip and Dan Heath, Switch:  How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (New York: Broadway Books, 2010), 55.

[3] Stanley, Andy, The Next Generation Leader (Sisters: Multnomah, 2003), 75.

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Challenging Your Worship in 140 Characters…Worship Quotes

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140 Characters

A sincere desire for worship renewal often challenges individuals and congregations to ask different questions if they expect different results.  With its limitation of 140 characters, Twitter allows us to ask and answer in a concise and sometimes pithy manner.  Consider some of the tweets below that I posted over the last few months.  I would love for you to follow me on Twitter @dwmanner.

 

 

  • When your horse dies…stop riding it. Great wisdom when considering worship change.
  • I can’t wait for tight jeans to go out of style so worship leaders will be able to lead songs in lower keys.
  • Worship tradition gives freedom to select another route when the road is closed. Worship traditionalism is a perpetual cul-de-sac.
  • Believing musical inspiration stopped with the hymnal is like believing medical inspiration stopped with bloodletting.
  • Arrogant worshipers believe they know just what God likes since He likes just what they know.
  • If the presentational music in your church is special does that mean the rest is ordinary or does it mean special as in peculiar?
  • How often do you worship when you are not the leader?
  • Worship Leader…You will never teach enough new songs to make up for relational and leadership failures.
  • Music talent may help you secure a worship pastor position but developing leadership and relationship skills will help you keep it.
  • If you lead worship just because you are not trained to do anything else your leadership is convenient not a calling.
  • If God Is Hosting the Party Why Do We Keep Asking Him to Show up and Show off?
  • A Worship Tourist visits a location for pleasure. A Worship Traveler is on a journey toward a destination.
  • Worship Leader wisdom is pre-emptively initiating Worship Evaluation instead of having to respond to critics who initiate evaluation for you.
  • How congregants treat their Worship Leader and those with whom they congregate is also an act of worship.
  • It is an act of worship when one generation loves another generation more than they love their own musical preferences.
  • I know guys like to blow stuff up but maybe your worship just needs a re-evaluation instead of a revolution.
  • Successful worship verbal communicators know the flight plan and how to land the plane before leaving the runway.
  • Why are we willing to sacrifice traditional and cultural preferences to travel around the world but not across the aisle?
  • Churches that won’t take the risks to provide a venue for creatives to express their art will lose them to places that will.
  • Allowing songs about God to supersede the actual Word of God in our worship services is idolatry.
  • Are We Singing Them In Or Singing Them Out?
  • Worship leadership success is never completely realized until we can say, “Worship Has Left the Building.”
  • To reduce teenage loitering, some Seattle businesses started playing classical music loops. Some churches figured this out decades ago.
  • Congregants will never surrender to your mission and worship will never be truly participatory if everything is done for them.
  • When one side or the other continues to rain on your Worship Leadership Parade, remind yourself that it is not your parade.
  • A worship service Call to Worship can often feel like the Indy 500 announcement, “Gentlemen, start your engines.”
  • If singing worship songs you dislike is the only sacrifice required of you to further the cause of Christ…consider yourself blessed.
  • What if predictable, scripted, explainable, and rational weren’t always worship prerequisites?
  • If music is the only emphasis in worship preparation it will also be the only point of contention in worship presentation.
  • Depending on music as the only incendiary device to elicit spontaneous worship combustion often results in a flash in the pan.
  • Designing worship to replicate the Good Old Days usually succeeds in getting it half right…It is Old.
  • Are Christian Colleges and Seminaries Preparing Worship Leaders For A Church That No Longer Exists?
  • Congregational health will not occur until we break bread together on our knees. Healing begins at the Table.
  • Have you noticed that worship music volume complaints are higher when the musical style is one the complainant doesn’t like?
  • Just changing our songs will not impact culture but changing our singer’s will. It’s not just what we sing but who we are.
  • If the church longs for the way things were instead of the way things could be it will continue to flounder in the way things are.
  • Maybe if worship leaders, like physicians took the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm”…churches would be healthier.
  • We spend so much time leading church services as an act of worship that we neglect to lead the church in service as an act of worship.
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Does Your Worship Leader Wear Skinny Jeans?

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skinny jeansWho is your worship leader?  Most of us immediately picture the platform personality who leads the music portion of our service in skinny jeans with guitar, business casual with worship team, or coat and tie with choir.

Scripture tells us, however, that Jesus as our high priest sits at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and serves as a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man (Heb. 8:1-2).  Earlier in the book of Hebrews, the author writes that Jesus sings God’s praises and declares His name to His brothers (Heb. 2:12, Ps. 22:22).

So who is your worship leader?  Jesus Is! He is our minister, our leitourgos (Gr.)…our liturgist.  He is the high priest, the worship leader who is holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens (Heb. 7:26).  He sits at the right hand of the throne of Majesty and mediates worship from us to the Father and to us from the Father.

If our understanding of worship leadership could begin here…maybe we could stop drawing lines in the sand over style and preference.  Maybe we could end the expectation that platform attire and song selections determine if God shows up since Jesus, as our mediator has already settled that for us.  Maybe congregants would no longer need to fight for their perceived musical rights since Jesus lives to intercede for them with a plan superior to their own…a covenant founded on better promises (Heb. 8:6).

Jesus as our liturgist gives us worship confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by His blood, by a new and living way that allows us to draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (Heb. 10:19-21).  Embracing Jesus as our worship leader is a lofty goal. It is, however, a biblical one and also could be a healing one.

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What Does It Take to Be A World-Class Runner?

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runnerMy goal is not just to be the best runner I can be where I live. No, I want to be recognized, revered, and emulated as one of the best runners in the world. I do have degrees from some of the most prominent running schools and have attended all of the most famous running conferences. I read all of the leading running guides, books, magazines, websites, blogs, and tweets. I also make it a habit to imitate world-class runners as much as possible.

I regularly buy the hottest equipment recommended by the most elite runners and even sport their running attire. I put in the same amount of training each week as they do, including mimicking their long runs on the weekend. It is not always easy, but I continue to follow their running guides and model their running regimens even when it doesn’t always resonate with my running partners. My group just needs to learn how much sacrifice is actually required to achieve world-class running status.

My running ability has opened some doors for opportunities to lead and coach other runners. I have even written some of my own running guides with moderate local success. These accolades continue to give me hope that I am on the most expedient path to world-class running status. I am encouraged that my preparation is in fact on target when I hear how my running inspires and influences others.

It is true that some have indicated that the pressure of running at this tempo has taken their joy out of running. I am not oblivious to the rumors that some would like to consider looking for a new coach, while others have just drifted off to run in other places. But, world-class running requires sacrifice! I have to continually remind others and myself that losing runners who constantly complain each time the mileage increases or the course varies is not that great of a loss. Anyone not up for the challenge should probably connect with a slower group anyway.

Sometimes running ahead of the pack can be lonely, but slowing down to look over my shoulder and wait for others to catch up will never allow me to reach world-class status. Besides, if I am asked to slow the pace too much I can always just look for another place to run. I am sure there are other running groups who would be more progressive, more appreciative of my abilities, and more supportive of my goals.

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Worship Old and New…What Were We Thinking?

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thinking

Worship practices evolve. What may have initially seemed like a good idea didn’t always turn out that way when it was actually implemented or time tested. Consider the following practices and feel free to add to them since this is not an exhaustive list.

Special Music: The person who originated the moniker Special Music probably lifted the idea from 1950’s movie theatres that used subliminal suggestions of popcorn and coke in previews to encourage moviegoers to buy more concessions. It was obvious in many of our churches that just continuing to suggest the choir song or instrumental/vocal solo right before the sermon was special did not automatically make it so. Maybe if we had referred to all other music in the service as ordinary or common or defined special as different or peculiar we could have lengthened its shelf life.

Baptism: Whoever determined white baptismal attire inspired thoughts of purity should have market tested them for transparency in water first.

Offering: Passing the offering plate as a communal act of worship has devolved into the church version of the 7th inning stretch. Although many are faithful stewards, they have exercised the option of giving by monthly check, direct deposit, pre-pay, or on-line credit card. Creative giving options have proven to be successful but even so have contributed to the passivity of this element as a corporate worship act. Consequently, children and youth no longer get to observe or even know if their parents are faithful in financially sacrificing as a spiritual act of worship unless those parents somehow involve them during the week. Is it time to stop passing the plate or has your congregation developed a strategy for participatory worship during the designated offering time that would benefit us all?

Call to Worship: This service element is the spiritual version of the Indy 500 announcement, Gentlemen Start Your Engines! If Christian worship actually starts at the beginning of the service when we call it to start and stops at the end of the service when we call it to stop…is that an indication no worship occurs the other 167 hours of the week?

Hymns: In what setting was the Charles Wesley hymn text, To me, to all, Thy Bowels Move ever appropriate? Now that was Special Music.

Announcements: Have we added up the number of minutes spent in the worship service promoting the women’s Zumba class and the men’s Shoot to Grill Wild Game Dinner; and then compared that with the number of minutes spent in Scripture and prayer in the same service? Maybe announcements could contribute to rather than detract from worship if we spent as much time praying over and rehearsing them as we spend praying over and rehearsing songs.

Ordinances: The two ordinances prescribed by Jesus and practiced by the church are often forgotten in-between observances because the icons symbolizing those ordinances (baptismal font and communion table) have been completely removed or at least hidden with curtains/screens or cornucopias/memorial flower sprays. It is obvious we are not averse to all symbolism since we use props and stage sets to symbolize and remind the congregation of our current sermon series. Could it be that removing those two symbols which visually remind believers not only of what God has done in their lives but what He promised to continue to do has contributed to the monotony of those ordinances when they are actually observed?

We would all benefit from your responses to these comments and additions from your own experiences and cultures. To respond, left click the COMMENTS link at the end of the Posted by section under the post title.

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When Do You Know Your Worship Is Multigenerational?

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generations

When do you know your worship is multigenerational?

When…

• The worship center coffee bar serves hot chocolate; decaf, half-caf, and regular coffee; and Red Bull.

• The attire for ushers is a double knit sport coat, Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and flip-flops with black socks.

• Your worship song set includes Gaither, Gungor, Bach, and Baloche.

• Instrumentation includes a Chet Atkins f-hole guitar, Taylor acoustic electric, Dobro, Wurlitzer organ, iPads with bass guitar and drum machine apps, accordion, mouth harp, and djembe.

• The liturgical dance troupe costume closet includes leotards, flowing white tunics, square dance petticoats, and gingham dresses.

• The projection scenic background slide images include Chuck E. Cheese, the Mall, and Branson.

• Congregational singing text/tune format includes projected text with or without a follow the bouncing ball option, hymnals with standard and/or shaped notation, or smart phone/iPad apps.

• Platform furniture includes wing-backed chairs surrounded by greenery; and chrome stools surrounded by props.

• Choir members can choose to wear a robe and stole, just a robe, business casual, casual, or just the stole (with business casual or casual of course).

• Your choir sings Toby Mac’s The Slam as a choral arrangement with a fourfold amen; and There Is A Balm in Gilead with a “Lincoln Brewster-esque” lead guitar bridge.

• A variety of descriptors such as amped, blessed, freakin’, joyful, stoked, wonderful, relevant, anointed, and authentic are used interchangeably to introduce songs.

• Earplugs are distributed to older generations to take the edge off the lead guitar riffs; and to younger generations to take the edge off the southern gospel quartet first tenor riffs.

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Are You Critical of New Worship Practices? Maybe It’s Time for A Wardrobe Malfunction!

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David DancingIf the initiation of new worship practices in your congregation has caused you to adopt a critical attitude…

If you are intentionally keeping your distance from those new worship practices as an act of defiance…

If you are more concerned with the outside appearance of worship practices than you are with the inside attitude of the worship participants…

Then maybe it is time for you to experience a Wardrobe Malfunction.

When King David and his men brought the Ark of the Covenant (the symbol of God’s presence) back to Jerusalem, He was so focused on responding to God’s blessings (worship), that he danced right out of his robes. With complete disregard for what tradition called for or what others might think, David’s full participation allowed him to dance with all his might in complete humility before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14).

David’s wife Michal was not nearly as enthusiastic about his new worship practices. In fact, Scripture indicates that Michal “looked down from the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16). Michal’s passive, critical, and distant observation caused her to miss participating in a profound response to God’s revelation.

When Michal sarcastically confronted David and criticized his worship practices, He admonished her with the conviction that it wasn’t for her he danced. Instead, he danced with reckless abandon to celebrate before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:21).

You will never realize worship with all your might as a critical outsider. Worship in spirit and truth is worshiping as an insider with full participation, with unconditional humility, and with complete abandon…even when it might mean dancing right out of your worship robes of tradition, expectation, and preference.

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Are You Leading Worship Change with A Wrecking Ball? Try Deconstruction!

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wrecking ballDemolition is the most expedient method of tearing down an existing structure in order to ensure that the ensuing structure bears no characteristics of the original structure.

Does this sound like worship change in your congregation?

In an effort to initiate worship change, leaders often use the finesse of a wrecking ball to swing wildly at existing practices. The consequence is often the complete destruction of the relational foundations of a community that may have taken decades to build.

Deconstruction is the systematic and selective process of taking a structure apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for re-use. Deconstruction focuses on giving those materials within an existing structure a new life once it is determined that the existing structure will require change to continue functioning successfully.

Deconstruction is the realization that many of the components within an existing structure still have value. Healthier worship change is taking the time to recognize those components and harvest them in order to reclaim their value for useful building materials in the new structure.

Worship demolition causes destruction and requires invention. Worship deconstruction allows for renovation and encourages innovation. Both processes agree that worship transition is necessary as a congregation considers its culture and context. But worship deconstruction at least offers hope of a foundation on which to rebuild.

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Are You Burned-Out? HOLD FAST

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Hold Fast God never promised that in worship ministry we would always be happy, revered, loved, encouraged, appreciated, followed, and successful. He did, however, promise that He would never leave us or forsake us. So we can say with confidence…
The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Heb. 13:5-6; Deut. 31:6)

18th and 19th century sailors superstitiously believed that certain tattoos brought good luck and somehow averted disaster. The H-O-L-D F-A-S-T tattoo with one letter tattooed on each finger was originally derived from the Dutch phrase “Houd” (hold) “Vast” (fast). The tattoo was believed to protect a sailor whose life depended on holding fast to a rope on the ships deck or while working aloft in the ships rigging.

The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote the same words not as superstitious chance but with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith when he wrote, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb. 10:22-23)

Hold Fast…the God who calls us will also sustain us. Hold Fast…He remembers where we are and where He called us. Hold Fast…in full assurance that He knows what we are going through. Hold Fast…since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God. (Heb. 10:19-21) Hold Fast…our ministry life depends on it.

Hold Fast – Mercy Me

VERSE 1
To everyone who’s hurting
To those who’ve had enough
To all the undeserving
That should cover all of us
Please do not let go
I promise there is hope

CHORUS
Hold fast help is on the way
Hold fast He’s come to save the day
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp so hold fast

VERSE 2
Will this season ever pass
Can we stop this ride
Will we see the sun at last
Or could this be our lot in life
Please do not let go
I promise you there’s hope

©2006 Simpleville Music, Wet As A Fish Music, Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Jim Bryson, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, Robby Shaffer

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Is Multigenerational Worship Even Possible?

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Multigenerational

In an effort to appease multi-generations and minimize conflict, leaders either attempt to seek stylistic and musical common ground or they divide themselves along age and preference lines.  Except in rare instances, it appears from both efforts that the worshiping community suffers and all generations lose.  The impasse is a result of trying to accommodate the musical tastes of a congregation made up of both 20th and 21st century leaders, learners, and worshipers.

Gary Parrett and Steven Kang wrote, “Churches must realize that it takes the whole community of faith to raise the children of that community in the faith.  But, many American churches have moved with fierce determination to separate the generations from one another to provide more generation specific ministry.  Tragically, such an approach to ministry can easily have the effect of encouraging the segregated ‘generations’ to be unduly absorbed with their own needs and to have little concern for others.  This runs both ways – from older to younger and younger to older.  But it is the younger who suffer most in such an arrangement.  And it is the older who will have to give account for shirking their God-appointed duties toward the young.”[1]

Differences between 20th and 21st century worshipers:

  • 20th century worshipers are linear, written text, and physical; 21st century worshipers are multi-sensory, hypertext, and virtual.
  • 20th century worshipers are independent…independent is owned; 21st century worshipers are collaborative…collaborative is shared.
  • 20th century worshipers are stationary…for a lifetime; 21st century worshipers are mobile…for a season.
  • 20th century worshipers are deductive…deductive is top-down; 21st century worshipers are inductive…inductive is bottom-up.  Note:  The weakness of inductive is its limitations in building doctrine.  The weakness of deductive is its susceptibility to being infected with dogma.
  • 20th century worshipers are local; 21st century worshipers are global.
  • 20th century worship is routinized…it has worked for generations…why change? 21st century worship is creative…it has been around for generations…why not try something new?  Routinized is predictable; Creative is often unpredictable.

Obviously, the previous list is a generalization.  If however, even a few of the differences are evident in the cultures of our congregations how can we ever hope to find common ground?  The answer is…we probably can’t…at least not in those differences.

Multi-generational worship is only possible if our common ground is deference instead of preference.  Deference is a learned and practiced submission based on conviction…preference is based on feeling and tradition.  Deference encourages worshipers to respond in spite of the circumstances of the tradition and embedded theology that previously influenced their thinking and actions.  Deference offers a common ground that style and musical preferences never will.

Deference is the agreement that although we may not always love the music of our children and grandchildren…we love our children and grandchildren.  Deference is the willingness to set aside our preferences for the good of and future of those children and grandchildren.  Multi-generational worship will occur when the only battle is over who can offer/give the most instead of who deserves/demands the most.


[1] Parrett, Gary A. and S. Steve Kang, Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity, 2009), 152.

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Worship Conflict…for Whom or What Are You Dancing in Your Boxers?

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King David danced in his boxers at least twice.

The first account is recorded in 2 Samuel 6 when David and his men brought the Ark of the Covenant (the symbol of God’s presence) back to Jerusalem.  David was so overcome that he danced before the Lord with all his might in reckless worship.  His complete abandon caused David to dance right out of his clothes, completely disregarding how he was dressed or what others might think.

The second account is found in 2 Samuel 11 when David observed a beautiful woman, Bathsheba bathing on her roof and summoned her to his house.  David was so overcome that he danced before Bathsheba with all his might in reckless worship.  His complete abandon caused David to dance right out of his clothes, completely disregarding how he was dressed or what others might think.

Both dances were profound acts of worship.  In both instances David was so focused on the object of his affection that his clothes inadvertently fell to the ground.  The only difference in the two dances was who or what was being worshiped.

Worship conflict occurs when the object (for whom or what we are willing to dance) is anyone or anything other than God the Father through His Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The subject (how we dance) can be varied as long as the subject never becomes the object of our affection.  Dancing to the tune of what I want, what I deserve, what I prefer, what I like, and what my tradition calls for is one of the dances David danced…and one we continue to dance thousands of years later.

Dance, dance, wherever you may be

I am the lord of the dance, said he

And I lead you all, wherever you may be

And I lead you all in the dance, said he

“Lord of the Dance” Sydney Carter

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Worship Service Prayer…Why Is Spontaneous Superficial?

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Worship service prayer has been relegated to the role of a worship service utility infielder.  It is plugged into worship service holes as a jack-of-all-trades transitional service element. Instead of a profound conversation with the Father as an act of worship, prayer is used to allow a final breath of fresh air before a long service section, to break up a song set when keys or styles are not relative, to assure senior adult deacons that they still have value in the new worship format, or to discreetly move the worship band to the platform.

Our desire for prayer spontaneity has evolved into a routine of predictable leaders leading predictable prayers at predictable times.  When trite prayer clichés cause the minds of the pray-ers as well as the pray-ees to wander…it is no wonder that spontaneous prayer seems superficial.

Hughes Oliphant Old wrote, “For many generations American Protestants have prized spontaneity in public prayer.  One has to admit, however, that the spontaneous prayer one often hears in public worship is an embarrassment to the tradition.  It all too often lacks content.  It may be sincere, but sometimes it is not very profound.  One notices sometimes that the approach to prayer that these prayers reveal is immature, if not simply misleading.  Spontaneity needs to be balanced by careful preparation and forethought.  It needs to be supported by an intense prayer life.  One must be well experienced in prayer to lead in prayer.  One can hardly lead if one does not know the way oneself.  Spontaneity has to arise from a profound experience of prayer.”[1]

Eugene Peterson wrote the forward for the new book, Dumbfounded Praying, written by Harold Best.  Peterson wrote, “Prayer is a natural and authentic substratum of language.  But there is an irony here: prayer, language at its most honest, is also the easiest language to fake:  We discover early on that we can pretend to pray, use the words of prayer, practice forms of prayer, assume postures of prayer, acquire a reputation for prayer, and never pray.”[2]

Harold Best writes, “I believe more than ever that the age-old craft of writing prayers should be re-visited by all of us, for it accomplishes three things. First, the writer is literally forced into levels of thought, scriptural usage, and architectural cogency that are not possible in the kind of spontaneous praying that one usually does in private, and sad to say, is often found in the typical pastoral prayers in corporate worship.  Second, even though writing prayers takes time, time is the very thing we need and must take to bring prayer into a greater sweep and cogency.  But third, what goes around comes around:  the more we tackle and work through the really tough issues and the more we force these into thought-out and written form, the more skilled we can become in extemporaneous prayer.”[3]

If we spent as much time understanding and teaching the profundity of prayer as we presently spend trying to teach new songs or protect the old ones could worship conflict be abated?  If experience and preparation expectations were just as stringent for leading in public prayer as our requirements for a worship service soloist or choir anthem, could our worship be radically impacted?  This new book by Harold Best can serve as a great companion tool to help leaders figure that out.


[1] Hughes Oliphant Old, Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Worship (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1995), 5.

[2] Eugene H. Peterson, as quoted in Harold M. Best, Dumbfounded Praying (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011), xii.

[3] Harold M. Best, Dumbfounded Praying, xix.

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Worship Leader…What Do You Wish Your Pastor Knew About You and Your Worship Ministry?

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The relationship rift between senior pastors and worship leaders has escalated to epidemic proportions.  Ironically, it seems that this impasse rarely occurs in response to song selections and worship change.  Most of the conflict is a result of leadership deficiencies and a lack of communication.  Many worship leaders do not have the freedom to start the conversation as it relates to this communication gridlock.

I recently asked the following question through email and other social media outlets:  “Worship Leader…what do you wish your senior pastor knew about you and your ministry that you’ve never had the freedom to discuss and doubt he will ever ask?”  This question was posed in an effort to begin a dialogue that is not happening in most churches.  The intent is not as an anonymous forum just to criticize senior pastors.  In fact, a similar question could also have been asked of senior pastors in response to their relationship with their worship pastor.

Numerous worship leaders responded from multiple states.  The responses below have been compiled, consolidated, and edited to protect the confidentiality of the respondents.  Additional confidential responses or comments are encouraged and can be added to this post by emailing me:  dmanner@kncsb.org.  I will edit additional comments to protect privacy before adding them as responses to this post.

  • Worship and preaching are partners, not competitors.  I wish my pastor would see me as a partner in ministry who respects his leadership and honors his role of authority and responsibility.  When I am doing my job well it should not be viewed as a threat to his leadership…it should affirm his leadership.
  • The number one problem in our ministry relationship is the lack of communication.  His response has not been favorable when I have requested better communication.  It appears to me that my pastor doesn’t want to communicate or doesn’t see the need for it.  I do…and don’t feel the freedom to initiate that without jeopardizing my position.
  • My pastor never challenges my worship leadership or the direction of our worship but also is never a promoter of it.  Ignoring worship issues conveys a lack of interest or fear of conflict and minimizes its value for our congregation.  More people will join the choir, sing in the worship team, and play instruments when the senior pastor publicly and privately affirms these areas of ministry and sees their value for our congregation.
  • I view my pastor as the primary worship leader in our congregation.  If he has an unhealthy view of worship the church will emulate his unhealthy view despite my encouragement to consider healthier worship practices.
  • Just singing catchy, rhythmic tunes should not be our response to all worship issues and is not always a healthy biblical view of worship.  Musical changes in our worship will not heal the internal ministry and relationship deficiencies that exist in our relationship and in the relationships of our congregation.
  • Preparing musical and technical worship elements often requires weeks and even months of rehearsals and meetings.  Last minute sermon adjustments will usually impact the pastor only.  However, when those last minute sermon adjustments or creative ideas also require service changes it impacts dozens of people in our music and tech ministries.  Spirit led creativity can occur before Friday or Saturday.  A constant culture of last minute changes can destroy relationships with leaders and volunteers.
  • The Word of God is also proclaimed through singing, Scripture, testimonies, drama, dance, and video…not just during the sermon.  If more time is needed for the sermon it is too easy to assume we can just cut some other elements of the service…usually the music.  People have prayed and prepared for those elements.  It conveys that what they are doing and have prepared for is insignificant and therefore expendable.
  • Most worship leaders have a good grasp of worship service dynamics.  We understand keys, tempos, vocal ranges, song themes, technical aspects, and the logistics of moving people on and off the platform.  Trust us when we say something won’t work musically or logistically.  If we can figure out a way…we will attempt to make it work.  However, there are times when great ideas are impossible to implement.
  • I believe God has called me to this worship ministry position, yet I never get the sense that my pastor actually respects that calling.  He has indicated to me that he wants me to lead with confidence and yet doesn’t instill confidence in me through his words, actions, and micromanagement.
  • I often don’t find out that my expectations and the expectations of my pastor are misaligned until it is too late.  My approach to ministry becomes a process of guessing about ministry direction and expectations.  I don’t always know what questions to ask or even feel the freedom to ask questions to clarify direction until after the fact.  By that time I am in hot water.  I occasionally need affirmation that I am moving in the right direction not just criticism when I am not.  The first question I now catch myself asking of our worship is, “Will my pastor be pleased?” instead of “Will God be pleased?”
  • Sometimes I am discouraged and overwhelmed.  I do not want to come across as a grumbler or complainer.  I don’t feel the freedom to bring this up with my pastor unless he initiates it…and he rarely if ever does.  I wish my pastor would ask me questions such as, “How do you feel about…what are your thoughts on…and are you feeling overwhelmed with?”
  • Our personalities and gifts are very different.  Since we don’t ever communicate, those differences contribute to conflict.  If we could communicate and champion our differences we could leverage them for better ministry success.
  • It would be helpful for my pastor to visit with me regularly about how God is leading him in his preaching and how my worship planning could enhance what he is learning and sharing from God’s word.  I wish we could pray together, read and study together, dream together, and collaborate together.  It is impossible to have a relationship like this when we rarely even talk.  The key to a healthy relationship is agreeing that there will be nothing he doesn’t know about me and nothing I will not know about him.  A relationship like this requires a tremendous amount of trust, respect, common purpose, and shared vision for where we minister together.
  • I defend my pastor privately and publicly and wish he would do the same for me.  If someone has a concern with my leadership I would appreciate it if he would defend me and then discuss the issue in private with me instead of always siding with those who have concerns.  How effective could we be if we had permission to question and even disagree behind closed doors for the purpose of being unified and affirming in public?
  • I constantly sense through his words and actions that I am really not the person my pastor wishes he had in this ministry position.  It is obvious he has a model or template for what a worship pastor should look like, how old he should be, how he should lead, and how he should act.  I don’t fit that model or measure up to his expectations.  His discontent is manifested in a passive resistance to things I initiate.
  • Why won’t my pastor take the time to get to know my family and me on a more personal basis?  We have a very limited relationship inside our ministry and no relationship outside of our ministry.  It is difficult for my family to follow his leadership on Sunday when they know how he treats me during the week.
  • I understand that a healthy relationship requires work from both parties and that some of my deficiencies have contributed to our communication failures.  I am willing to work on those deficiencies and would welcome healthy communication, mentoring, and guidance.
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Isn’t Worship Conflict Really Just the Result of Conversational Narcissism?

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NarcissismConversation is interactive communication involving two or more participants.  Even though conversation is not often scripted it may revolve around a central theme or subject.  A healthy conversation includes a balance of discussion and response, listening as well as speaking.  Meaningful conversations usually occur as a result of relationships built on familiarity achieved through repetition.

God’s revelation and our response to that revelation is a great model of meaningful conversation…we call it worship.  Robert Webber’s assessment is that, “Worship proclaims, enacts, and sings God’s story.”[1]  If you agree with Webber’s understanding then you will also realize that the conversation does not begin with us.  What we do and how we do it is a response to, not the initiation of the conversation.  God started the dialogue and graciously allows and encourages us to join Him in it.

Conversational Narcissism is what sociologist Charles Derber calls the constant shifting of the conversation away from others and back to us and our personal interests.  Derber writes, “One conversationalist transforms another’s topic into one pertaining to himself through the persistent use of the shift-response.”[2]  Shift-response is taking the topic of conversation initiated by another and shifting the topic to focus on our selfish interests. 

Conversational Narcissism is manifested in worship when we take the topic (God’s story) and shift its focus to a topic of our own choosing (our story).  When the worship conversation continues to point to self instead of the story of God, we become narcissistic.  Instead of focusing on God and God’s story, our worship conversation focuses on me and my story.[3]  Shifting the topic of our worship also shifts the object of our worship.  The conversation is no longer initiated by or focused on the worshiped but on the worshiper.

Worship conflict begins when I constantly point the conversation back to me…what I need, what I prefer, what I like, what I want, what I deserve.  This worship conflict which occurs as a result of my narcissism is a great example of a one-sided, selfish, and unhealthy conversation.  I call it worship preferences…God calls it sin. 


[1] Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 39.

[2] Charles Derber, The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1979), 26-27.

[3] Webber, The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 231.

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What Is Wikiworship?

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Wikipedia is a collaborative online resource of quickly editable encyclopedic information.  The name originated from the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, which means quick, hurry, or fast.  The founder of this informational resource, Jimmy Wales stated that Wikipedia exists to bring knowledge to everyone who seeks it.  And yet, in most high school and university academic circles its entries are not accepted as reputable references.  The reason…Wikipedia consists of user-generated content that is not always verified as accurate, not always appropriate, and is often accused of being systemically biased.     

What does this have to do with worship? 

Worship is not our attempt to be with Jesus, it is our response to having been with Jesus.  Depending on worship actions to connect with Jesus is user-generated, not always accurate, and not always appropriate Wikiworship

Wikiworship is…

  • The belief that what we do or how we do it will determine if God shows up.
  • When we reduce worship to music…and not just any music, but the music I like.
  • The belief that if we sing or play it in a certain style…worship will automatically occur.
  • When each one of us believes that true worship began with the music of my generation and will probably end with the music of my generation.
  • The belief that my favorite is also God’s favorite.
  • Asking God to enter our user-generated story.

Worship which begins with Jesus is entering and doing God’s story.[1]  It is speaking, praying, singing, dancing, playing, telling, preaching, teaching, listening, reading, and living God’s story.  Worship in Spirit and Truth is the realization that worship begins with a relationship with Jesus and the response to that relationship is manifested in our worship actions.  Worship which begins with Jesus is the understanding that God has already shown up and is initiating a relationship with us.  Our response to that relationship which cannot be contained in a single expression is…Worship. 

Robert Webber wrote, “Reflection on the incarnation and its connection to every aspect of God’s story is the missing link in today’s theological reflection and worship.  The link is found in these words:  God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.[2]   

 

 


[1] Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 29.

[2] Ibid., 35.

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What Style of Music Does God Prefer?

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The psalmist points out that God takes pleasure or enjoys the praise of his people through music…”Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.  For the Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149:3-4).  Are there certain musical styles he takes more delight in than others?  Are we arrogant to assume that he can’t stand certain styles because we can’t stand them?

As long as we see our worship music with the linear eyes of “we know what he likes and he likes what we know” our worship conflict will continue.  It is obviously more convenient when my favorite is also God’s favorite and therefore a more appropriate and spiritual expression of worship.  “Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear” (Ezekiel 12:2).  God sees our worship music from a multi-dimensional God’s-eye view.  Reggie Kidd wrote, “It is amazing to me what odd sorts of people Jesus loves and how oddly many of them sing.  Yet he seems to be fond of all this strangeness.”[1]  May the apostle Paul’s prayer be our prayer as we consider viewing worship from God’s perspective:  “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19). 

Does God enjoy our belief that relevant worship music began with and will probably end with my generation?  Or…have we so focused on our own delight that we aren’t really even considering what God prefers.  Will the preferential divide ever allow us to realize that God doesn’t really care how our music is offered to him…just that it is offered to him?  The scripture never tells us what style of music God prefers.  However, the book of Isaiah does tell us what style he doesn’t prefer when the author writes,  “The Lord says:  These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13).  Reggie Kidd also wrote, “It has to matter to me that Jesus hears harmonies that sound cacophonous to me.  It has to matter to me that he dances to rhythms that do not move me.”[2] 


[1] Reggie Kidd, With One Voice: Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 120.

[2] Ibid., 129-130.

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What Is the Relationship of Mission and Worship?

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Congregations considering worship renewal (which might also include radical change) usually look first at what they do and how they are doing it.  The prevailing thought is “if we sing new songs/bring back the old hymns; incorporate visual stimulants/actually hold the hymnal; dress down/dress up; or simply mimic those congregations we view as successful then worship renewal will occur.”  All of these worship elements may be culturally appropriate for individual congregations.  However, those congregations will continue to struggle with worship renewal and worship conflict until they focus on worship not just as what they do in the church but also who they are in the world.

In his book Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal wrote, “The missional church is not a what but a who.  When we think of church in what mode, we focus on something that exists apart from people, some ‘out there’ that people join and attend and support.  We try, then, to build great churches, believing that this is God’s primary strategy to engage the world.  Inevitably, this pre-occupation leads to discussions of how we can ‘do church’ better.  Thinking about the church in who mode focuses on what it means to be the people of God.  The central task is developing great followers of Jesus, believing that God has created people to demonstrate his redemptive intentions to the world in and through them.  This perspective frames an agenda so that the community of faith may encourage all its members to be faithful to God and to his mission as they live out being the church in the world.[1]

If worship is not just what we do but who we are can it ever occur outside of mission?  Check out the following video featuring Fuzz Kitto:

 


[1] Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009), 20.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUN3IybCWRM

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What Are You Reading About Worship?

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What are you reading about worship?  Are you reading about worship is probably the more penetrating question.  The words of Eric Hoffer are profound as congregations consider worship renewal and potential change that might be required for that renewal.  Hoffer stated, “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”[1]  When those who lead worship stop learning, they stop leading.  Leaders who lead solely on what they know instead of seeking insights and wisdom from what others know are coasting.  It is much easier to coast…but is it what we are called to do?  A lifelong learner is one who understands that it is never too soon or too late to learn.  So, what are you reading about worship? 

Below is a short list of worship renewal must-reads.  For additional resources please open the Worship Evaluation Reading List link above.  Your responses to this post with additional resources will also help us all. 

 

Berglund, Brad, Reinventing Sunday:  Breakthrough Ideas for Transforming Worship (Valley Forge: Judson, 2001).  “One of the ways to develop creativity is to experience creativity.  Worship leaders who do not experience worship outside their own environment are limited to their own designs, traditions, and personal church experience.”

Best, Harold M., Unceasing Worship:  Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003).  “But everything that worship is on the human side is an outpouring of what it means to be created in the image of God.  Worship, in this initial and final sense, is human outpouring to the outpouring of lordship.  Thus, if our theology of God and our theology of imago Dei are correct, our theology of worship will likewise be correct, and we can link continuous outpouring to continuous worship.”   

Byars, Ronald P., The Future of Protestant Worship:  Beyond the Worship Wars (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002).  “The church can exist without denominational bureaucracies, without hierarchies, without buildings, without public approval, and even without degrees granted and official screenings of its future officers, but it cannot exist without worship.”

Carson, Timothy L., Transforming Worship (St. Louis: Chalice, 2003).  “Worship wars may actually be about worship; people do have legitimate concerns and convictions about the way people worship their God.  Just as often, however, these skirmishes reflect a more generalized struggle for power.”

Cherry, Constance M., The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010).  Note:  I have this book ordered and have only read excerpts.  However, anything written by Constance Cherry is a valuable resource.

Clark, Paul B., Jr., Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace: Worship Renewal through Congregational Singing (Nashville: CrossBooks, 2010).  “Congregational song reflects the communal nature of our worship and our oneness in Christ.  The act of such singing serves to sensitize us to the ministry needs and concerns of those in our midst as well as to others for whom we as congregation need to play our role as a royal priesthood; a bridge between God’s truth and hard realities of life.”

Doran, Carol and Thomas H. Troeger, Trouble At the Table:  Gathering the Tribes for Worship (Nashville: Abingdon, 1992).  “The patterns that we encounter in revitalizing worship are symptomatic of a culture that honors feeling more than belief and commitment.”

Frame, John M., Worship in Spirit and Truth:  A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practices of Biblical Worship (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1996).  “When we substitute human ideas (whether past traditions or contemporary notions) for God’s word, the result is bondage to human wisdom.  God’s yoke, though binding, is much easier and lighter.”

Kidd, Reggie M., With One Voice:  Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005).  “Authentic Christian faith is not merely believed.  Nor is it merely acted upon.  It is sung – with utter joy sometimes, in uncontrollable tears sometimes, but it is sung.”

Nouwen, Henri J.M., With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1994).  “Communion makes us look at each other and speak to each other, not about the latest news, but about him who walked with us.  We discover each other as people who belong together because each of us now belongs to him.”

Van Dyk, Leanne, Ed., A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2005).  “Worship is, for Christians, both ‘primary school’ and ‘graduate school’ – a place where we are always learning the basics of how to be in true relationship to God and yet also reaching for the advanced skills we need for obedient and faithful Christian lives.”

Webber, Robert E., Ancient-Future Worship:  Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008).  “One crisis of Scripture is that we stand over the Bible and read God’s narrative from the outside instead of standing within the narrative and reading Scripture as an insider.”

Witvliet, John D., Worship Seeking Understanding:  Windows into Christian Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003).  “For comfortable North American worshipers and worship leaders today, the great temptation is to slip into expressions of petition, thanksgiving, and proclamation that are nearly exclusively focused on the present moment.  Perhaps this is an inevitable result of lives and churches that are content with the status quo.”

York, Terry W., and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation:  Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005).  “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas.  If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”

 


[1] Hoffer, Eric, Reflections on the Human Condition (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), 32.

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Why Is Worship Evaluation Essential?

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Worship renewal will only occur when congregations prayerfully consider the biblical foundations, theological tenets, and historical precedents of worship.  If worship leaders agree that these foundational elements are necessary why do they continue to depend on song selection and stylistic change to negotiate the worship impasse?  The need for worship renewal must be determined first by considering worship principles before trying new worship practices.

Intentional, consistent evaluation can provide “a constructive way to articulate what a congregation has learned about itself and its worship practices, as well as to help prioritize which goals are most important to address in the future.”[1]  Unless an organized plan of evaluation of the deeper issues of worship is implemented, the tendency to focus on style and mechanics consumes the energy of worship planners and leaders.  Worship leaders could feel threatened by the prospect of an evaluation of service mechanics and personalities.  Reassurance can be found when reminded that “the purpose of evaluation is not to give a grade to the musician or preacher or worship leader, or to provide a ready-made forum for resident critics to explain what is wrong with worship.”[2]  Instead, it is a process of determining if our liturgy is truly incarnational.  The liturgy, instead of the individual becomes the evaluand.  This removes the focus from personalities or preferences and returns it to its biblical foundation.

Internal Evaluation

Internal worship evaluation is a valuable instrument once a framework for a deeper understanding of worship renewal has been established and practiced.  The danger of internal evaluation without a deeper understanding is the perpetuation of ideological evaluation based on likes and dislikes, mechanics and styles.  Some advantages to internal evaluation to assist in worship renewal are:

  • There is a greater likelihood that the evaluation will be tailored to the information needs of organization members.
  • There will be greater access to data.
  • Organization members can develop evaluation expertise.
  • There is a greater chance of evaluation becoming a sustained, institutionalized practice that is integrated with other work tasks and strategic planning.
  • The evaluation results have a greater probability of being used for decision making and action.
  • Knowledge of the organization and its members may provide greater insights into the evaluation’s design, implementation, and results.[3]

Disadvantages lie in the realization that since the evaluators have a more personal interest, there is a danger of organizational politics entering into the evaluation process thereby impeding the validity of the evaluation.  Internal evaluation should be an ongoing method of determining if a congregation is remaining faithful to worship renewal once the initial parameters have been established.   

External Evaluation

External evaluation offers a process of evaluation from an outside source providing a greater degree of objectivity.  The hope through this process would be an unbiased or unprejudiced evaluation of the worship depth of a congregation.  Again, the focus of this evaluation would not be on mechanics or style.  External evaluation should precede internal evaluation and be executed much more infrequently.  External evaluation provides the ‘big-picture” worship renewal areas of concentration, where internal evaluation determines how consistently a congregation is implementing those areas.  Advantages to enlisting an external evaluator may include:

  • Increased evaluation expertise.
  • Greater independence.
  • Ability to see the whole picture and provide a different perspective.
  • Less susceptibility to cooptation.
  • Evaluation may be completed in a more timely way.
  • Organization members may be more honest with an outsider.[4]

 Embedded Theology

A successful external evaluation could be hindered by a limited understanding of the theological culture of a particular congregation.  Discerning the generally accepted beliefs of a congregation will allow an evaluator to assess them in light of these convictions.  This accepted understanding of faith “disseminated by the church and assimilated by its members in their daily lives”[5] is called embedded theology.  This rooted understanding of faith and practice permeates the entire life of the congregation, including its worship.  The challenge for an external evaluator is the balance between understanding a congregation’s embedded theology and still remaining objective during the evaluation.  External evaluation within the same faith culture or denomination will allow some implicit insight of a congregation’s faith and practice.  Since the practices of a congregation so often reflect its understanding of theology, a challenge to those practices are where we find ourselves in conflict as we strive for worship renewal.  The realization that this embedded understanding began for some at birth gives additional credence to the significance of external evaluation.

Don S. Browning gives insight to this understanding of embedded theology when he explains, “We come to the theological task with questions shaped by the secular and religious practices in which we are implicated – sometimes uncomfortably.”[6]  When a congregation comes to the place of a crisis in practice it begins to question the theory of that practice.  Browning points out that theory and practice are related.  All our practices are in response to theory, even though we might not recognize the theory.  Our practices are such an embedded part of who we are as a congregation that we often fail to extract and understand the theory behind those practices.  When congregants come to a crisis such as the worship wars, they begin asking questions about their practice.  If worship renewal is to occur they must look at the deeper understanding of the theory.[7]  External evaluation can give a perspective outside of a congregations embedded understanding to help facilitate the process of evaluating these theories.  Browning additionally proposes that this view “goes from practice to theory and back to practice.”[8]  Not all embedded theology is flawed.  The hope is that through evaluation a congregation would take a second look at its embedded practices to determine if they are theologically sound.  

Deliberative Theology

The theological discernment that emerges through careful reflection on embedded understanding is referred to as Deliberative Theology.  This second thought reflection is sometimes called second-order theology.  Previously taken for granted understandings are set aside or evaluated along with additional relevant information in an effort to discover a deeper theological awareness that a restricted personal understanding might not allow.[9]  The danger with this deliberative theological reflection is that it could become too academic or insensitive in its approach.  As a congregation begins reflection for the purpose of worship renewal, it must take into consideration the deep-seated emotional connection congregants have with their embedded understandings.  A sensitive and judicious approach in the reflection of these divergent views will help ensure a more palatable transition and ultimate transformation.

Collaborative-Participatory

Involving congregation members in the evaluation process helps to eliminate the potential for an insensitive and mechanistic approach to change.  A collaborative-participatory approach assumes that those involved can engage in healthy dialog to reach understandings about their deliberative theology.  Caution must be implemented so that this approach does not allow for ideological or political influence.  Undue influences or influencers could potentially manipulate the reasons for the evaluation, persons selected as evaluators, and the way in which the evaluation is executed.  Darlene Russ-Eft and Hallie Preskill offer the counsel that the collaborative and participatory approach is particularly useful when there is a desire to increase the likelihood for using the evaluation’s findings and to obtain buy-in and involvement from key leaders.[10] 

An organized plan which involves worship leadership through external evaluation and congregation members through internal evaluation will ensure the inevitable dialog will not turn to secondary concerns.  The Worship Sourcebook offers insight that “Discussions on these matters takes practice and intentionality.  Over time, congregations and leaders can learn how to engage at this level.  One important result of this is that gradually the attention of both leaders and worshipers is drawn to deeper matters.”[11]

 


[1] The Worship Sourcebook, (The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Faith Alive Christian Resources, and Baker, 2004), 763.

[2] Ibid.

[3]Darlene Russ-Eft and Hallie Preskill, Evaluation in Organizations: A Systematic Approach to Enhancing Learning, Performance, and Change (New York: Basic, 2001), 35. This volume was written to develop more efficient evaluations in secular organizations but has profound implications for congregations.

[4] Ibid., 36.

[5] Howard W. Stone and James O. Duke, How to Think Theologically (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006), 13.

[6] Don S. Browning, A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 5-6.

[7] Ibid., 6.

[8] Ibid., 7.

[9] Stone and Duke, How to Think Theologically, 16.

[10]Russ-Eft and Preskill, Evaluation in Organizations, 92.

[11] The Worship Sourcebook, 763.

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Is Corporate Prayer Causing Worship Conflict?

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If prayer is the act of communicating with God and worship is a conversation…wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) every act of corporate worship also then be an act of prayer?  Is it possible that departmentalizing worship elements away from this singular unifying act of worship as prayer has contributed to worship conflict and passivity of worshipers? 

In the seventeenth century, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, an uneducated brother who served as a cook in a French monastery found himself in the presence of God even while pealing potatoes as well as when he was kneeling in prayer.  “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God:  those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive; it is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because God would have us.”  -Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Fifth Letter)

The departmentalization of worship elements has relegated prayer to a stand-alone act where predictable leaders lead predictable prayers at predictable places in the worship order.  Prayer becomes a worship service selah to transition worship elements, offer the congregation a breath of fresh air before a long section, or discreetly move the worship band to the platform.  Robert Webber in Ancient-Future Worship wrote that a crisis exists in the neglect of public prayer.  He stated, “The neglect of prayer is the failure to conduct all of worship as the prayer of the church for the life of the world.  This failure to grasp all of worship as a cosmic prayer has several underlying causes.  The most fundamental reason why worship is not seen as prayer is the failure to grasp that corporate prayer arises from the story of God.  We think of corporate prayer as arising within ourselves.[1]   

Webber pointed out that prayer arising from God’s story is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving “directed, not to the people, but to God.  This approach is a paradigm shift from the current presentational notion of worship.”[2]  He continued by stating, “Today worship is frequently seen as a presentation made to the people to get them to believe in the first place, to enrich and edify their faith, and to bring healing into their lives.  But the ancient church did not design worship to reach people, to educate people, or to heal people.  Yet in their worship, which was a prayer of praise and thanksgiving offered to God, people were indeed led into contemplation of God’s mighty acts of salvation and stimulated to live a life of participation in the life of God in the life of the world.  The point is, of course, that how we pray shapes who we are.”[3]

Would the worship of your congregation be radically different if worshipers viewed the unique elements such as the gathering together, congregational singing, verbal prayers, preaching, the Lord’s Supper, the reading of Scripture, and the Offering as the single unifying worship act of communicating with God in prayer? 

 


[1] Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 150.

[2] Ibid., 161.

[3] Ibid., 161-162.

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Can Worship Occur without Sacrifice?

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In his search for the roots of violence that could lead to war, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi drafted a list to give to his grandson titled the “Seven Blunders of the World.”  Number seven on that list is Worship without Sacrifice.  Worship wars have occurred as factions within congregations have drawn lines in the sand in response to worship preferences, traditions, perceived relevance, and as a response to culture.  Gandhi shared this list with his grandson in what would be their last time together not long before he was assassinated.

To sacrifice is to surrender for the sake of something or someone.  It is the act of giving up, surrendering, offering up, or letting go.  The antonym of sacrifice is to hold on to.  A bunt in baseball is designated as a sacrifice for the purpose of advancing a runner to assist in the success of the team.  Executing this sacrifice is called “laying down” a bunt.  What an interesting word picture for the church as it gathers in community for worship.

In the book of Romans, Paul focused on the divisions by which we segregate ourselves.  In the twelfth chapter he wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.”  Paul used body to represent the whole person…which would also include traditions and preferences.  The Old Testament sacrifice required the shedding of blood and a slain sacrifice.  Living sacrifice signifies an ongoing, constant dedication.  Charles Thomas Studd, an English missionary who served in China, India, and Africa had this statement at his motto:  “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”

Those who have read stories of Mount Everest expeditions will know the names of Hillary and Mallory.  These men have been recorded in history as some of the greatest climbers.  The Sherpas from Nepal, however, are the climbing guides who have made the most trips and the fastest ascents to the peak of Everest.  Those outside the climbing community do not even know their names.  The Sherpas job is not just to reach the summit but to lead others to the summit.  Their responsibility is to assist those with less skill, less experience, and less knowledge of the mountain.  Reggie Kidd said, “Despite every attempt we make to pare his song list down to a manageable repertoire, Jesus is constantly expanding it.  In defiance of congregations’ insistence on dividing themselves along age and affinity lines, Jesus teaches his people to defer to one another.  Thus he blends the songs of generations and nations and families and tribes and tongues to make sweet harmony to the Father.”[1]

Worship Sacrifice Is…

  • The understanding that I may not always like the worship preferences of my daughter but I am willing to make concessions because I love her.
  • The realization that worship did not begin and will not end with the worship preferences of my generation.
  • Realizing that I have been arrogant to assume my favorite worship style and God’s favorite worship style are the same.
  • Having the attitude that 6 days and 23 hours of the week I can choose my worship preferences but as my worshiping community gathers for worship I am willing to sacrifice my preferences for the unity of the body.

 C.S. Lewis in Answers to Questions on Christianity shared the following account of his early days after becoming a Christian:  “When I first became a Christian, I thought that I could do it on my own by retiring to my room and reading theology, and wouldn’t go to churches and gospel halls.  I disliked very much their hymns which I considered to be fifth rate poems set to sixth rate music.  But as I went on I saw the merit of it.  I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off.  I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew,  and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots.  It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”[2]

“We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas.  If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”[3]

 


[1] Reggie M. Kidd, With One Voice: Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), 178.

[2] C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 61-62.

[3] Terry W. York and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 108.

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Blended Worship: In Our Attempts to Please All Are We Pleasing None?

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BLEND:  To combine or associate so that the separate constituents or the line of demarcation cannot be distinguished.

Has blended worship become a watered down musical expression reminiscent of the ‘80’s pop style of Air Supply?  Has this generic approach to the mixing of musical genres contributed to a worship expression where neither side of the musical spectrum is ever really happy?  Has our desire for worship relevance created a bland mixture of worship elements that no longer resembles what it started out as?

Most congregations define blended worship as the mixing of traditional hymns, praise and worship songs, and possibly a few visual elements such as drama and video.  Churches have chosen to move to a blended service in an effort to reach multi-generations or to stave off the exodus of younger church members to congregations with more lively music.  In an effort to remain relevant, these moves are sometimes based on the observed success of congregations considered more contemporary in their musical approach.

Robert Webber recognized that there are three predominant group responses to this uncertain worship culture.  The first group wants worship to be as it was.  Their response is to resist change and the incorporation of new.  The second response is that traditional is irrelevant and new is significant.  Webber offered a third option that respects tradition, while implementing worship styles formed by contemporary culture.  This convergence worship begins with a willingness to reopen all discussions related to worship.[1]  Webber continued with the explanation, “convergence worship is an alternative worship that is concerned for order and freedom, the historical and the contemporary, the verbal and the symbolic.[2]  How much more profound is this understanding of convergence worship as opposed to blended worship which becomes an exercise of balancing musical selections in an effort to please everyone and in reality never completely pleasing anyone?  Convergence worship is the occurrence when Kairos (God’s time) meets Chronos (chronological time).

Webber outlined the following characteristics of Convergence Worship:

  • Worship is constantly in the process of reform.
  • The entire worshiping community has much to teach us.
  • The past has much to contribute to the present.
  • Convergence is committed to a broad range of musical content and style. 
  • It is committed to a recovery of the arts in worship.
  • Affirms an acceptance of the Verbal and Symbolic Word.
  • Understands that worship is both rational and mystical.
  • Worship is personal and corporate.  God meets the church but he also meets me.
  • Worship is both giving and receiving.
  • Convergence worship is also both comforting and disturbing.
  • Discourages passive and encourages participative worship.

Instead of believing true worship began and will end with my generation we must be reminded that worship is portrayed in the scripture as being cumulative.  We seem to have forgotten that “earlier centuries of Christians faced equally shocking and shaking developments.  We forget the innovative and sometimes heroic ways they adapted and often flourished.  By remembering, we can avoid the inclination toward either excessive self-congratulation or undue self-pity.”[3]  Webber reminded us that our past led us through the present and will continue to lead us into the future.  Worship reform will commence when we agree to regularly evaluate our liturgy in light of biblical and theological parameters, not on the basis of feelings, style, or mechanics.  Since we are not the first to experience this clash of culture and generation we must be reminded that “worship is not created; it is discovered and recreated.”[4]  Worship renewal is a continuation as well as a modification.

Moving beyond the simple formula of blending a few praise songs and hymns is a difficult and painful process.  Worship renewal through a deeper understanding of biblical and historical foundations must occur to curb random sampling of various styles.  Considering the deeper issues of convergence worship instead of the secondary stylistic and mechanistic elements of blended worship will help encourage worship renewal in our congregations.  Transition is often a painful process but if the ultimate gain is transformation, it will be worth the effort.  We have forgotten that “what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas.  If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”[5]

For additional understanding of Webber’s Worship Convergence see “Ancient-Future Worship” and “The Complete Library of Christian Worship.”

 

 


[1] Robert E. Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship Vol. 3, “The Renewal of Sunday Worship”  (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993), 122.

[2] Ibid., 124.

[3] Timothy L. Carson, Transforming Worship (St. Louis: Chalice, 2003), 1.

[4] Berglund, Reinventing Sunday, xvii.

[5] Ibid., 112.

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Are We Missing Worship in the “In-Between?”

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Worship renewal is a time of transition requiring biblical understanding, prayer, sensitivity, discernment, preparation, and even sacrifice.  The fusion of congregants steeped in post-modernity with those longing for the comfort of modernity is reflected in the uncertainty of worship preparation and implementation.  It is logical to assume that the desire for culturally relevant worship will parallel the nature of that culture.  Since many congregations are made up of individuals who still live in both worlds, which do we choose?  The transition to post-modernity was a comfortable progression for some, while others strain to hold onto the familiar tenets of modernity.  The conflict arises as congregations attempt to find common ground between the two worlds in corporate worship practices.  This impasse has precipitated the practice of multi-venue congregations in an attempt to meet the needs of all.  Conflict arises as congregations come to terms with the various comfort levels associated with this lack of stability.  Has the longing of one generation for what worship was and the hope of another generation for what worship could be caused us all to miss worship in the in-between?

Anthropologist Arnold van Gennep identified and examined patterns of transition and renewal within communal systems.  Through his study, van Gennep identified this genre of social transition as the Rites of Passage.[1]  As a living organism, a community of faith also passes through developmental transitions as a natural progression of the life of that congregation and a reflection of the surrounding culture.  Victor Turner continued van Genneps’ study by further outlining the rites of passage as a separation from what was known to a transitional or liminal stage, ultimately leading to a reaggregation or reincorporation.[2]  This word liminal originates from the Latin word, limins, meaning threshold.[3]  “Liminal reality is that space and time that has broken with prevailing structure, whatever that may be.  Precisely because it is positioned between the structures of life, it holds latent power for future transformation.”[4]  Liminality is the place where we find ourselves in our present culture of worship in the in-between.  The danger of liminality as it relates to worship renewal is in balancing the desire for complete abandonment with the desire for holding onto foundational touchstones.  Worship renewal begins when a congregation embraces transformation as developmental rather than rejecting it because of hesitancy to change…while welcoming its rich worship history as formative to present and future practices rather than viewing it as archaic.  For this to occur, transformation must be viewed as a Renovation of the Heart rather than just a change in worship practice. (see Dallas Willard)

Although the liminal stage can be a time of uncertainty, it could also be a time of hope, expectation, and even unity.  Turner refers to a special camaraderie which sometimes develops among those sharing a liminal stage as communitas.[5]  The spirit expressed in the understanding of this Latin noun is harmony within a community based on its common purpose, not necessarily on its common practice.  Encouraging a spirit of communitas enables those who are sharing a liminal stage to develop a community of the in-between.  This relationship “creates a community of anti-structure whose bond continues even after the liminal period is concluded.”[6] 

Is it possible that reaggregation leading to worship renewal will not occur until we figure out how to do it during the in-between?  Or, is it even possible that the liminality we are experiencing in worship is the almost but not yet and that reaggregation will not occur until eternity?  If either one is true, we better get after it.  Robert Webber recognized that there are three predominant group responses to our uncertain worship culture.  The first wants worship to be as it was.  Their response is to resist change and the incorporation of new.  The second response is that traditional is irrelevant and new is significant.  Webber offers a third option that respects tradition, while implementing worship styles formed by contemporary culture.  This convergence worship begins with a willingness to reopen all discussions related to worship.[7]  Next weeks post will explore how convergence worship could help encourage worship renewal in the in-between.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Arnold van Gennep, The Rites of Passage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960); referenced in Timothy L Carson, “Liminal Reality and Transformational Power: Pastoral Interpretation and Method,” Journal of Pastoral Theology 7 (Summer 1997): 99.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Victor Turner, “Betwixt and Between,” quoted in Carson, “Liminal Reality and Transformational Power,” 100.

[4] Timothy L. Carson, Transforming Worship, (St. Louis: Chalice, 2003), 60.

[5] Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (New York: Aldine, 1969); as referenced in Carson, “Liminal Reality and Transformational Power,” 101.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Robert E. Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship Vol. 3, “The Renewal of Sunday Worship”  (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993), 122.

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Have Free Church Worship Leaders Become Protestant Priests?

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The priesthood of the believer is one of the foundational doctrinal tenets of congregations in the Free Church culture.  Our belief is that in the new covenant Jesus became our mediator and serves as the intercessor for the people of God.  An earthly priest is no longer required; the sacrifice was complete; Jesus’ blood was offered; the veil was torn in half; and the way was now open for all to worship him.  We adhere to this precept but do we really practice it?  Have congregants abdicated their responsibility and have worship leadership designees guarded that territory as a place reserved only for those called and trained? 

The attitude that worship will occur when leaders create worship flow has consigned the accountability of the individual worshiper to the leadership of an earthly high priest reminiscent of the old covenant.  The new covenant outlined in Hebrews 9 and 10 offers Jesus as “a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man” (Heb 8:2).  In this place of ministry, Jesus has become our Liturgist and serves as our mediator in worship preparation and implementation.  As the tabernacle and its elements are described, the author points out that the old covenant limits access to God.  Only the high priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies one time a year with a blood offering (Heb 9:3, 6-7).  The place where God’s presence was most realized was not available except through the high priest and only at certain times of the year.  The new covenant through the blood sacrifice of Christ gave and continues to give believers access to the presence of the living God.  The earthly high priest was no longer needed for access to God since “Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come” (Heb 9:11).

Additional justification for passivity of the untrained worshiper is often found in the feeling of unworthiness, which contributes to the relinquishment of responsibility to others more qualified to perform the functions of worship.  Have worship leaders unwittingly or perhaps intentionally perpetuated that understanding?  Is there anyone who should feel more unworthy than the one God has trusted with the responsibility to lead?  The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we can enter the presence of God with boldness not available in the restrictions of the old covenant.  He writes, “Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19).  Who reads, speaks, prays, testifies, leads, sings, exhorts, offers communion, baptizes, encourages confession, blesses, offers thanksgiving, and mediates in your services of worship?  Can we expect participative worship when the only participation available is observation?  Can some of these elements traditionally presented by leaders be presented by the people?  The new covenant has provided access to all who follow Christ.  Genuine participation is limited when worship is done for us by a select few.

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Did Inattention to Discipleship Start the Worship Wars?

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When Jesus initiated the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, he began by talking to her about her spiritual condition (John 4:10).  In an effort to divert his attention from her personal life and character, the woman brought up the ongoing worship argument between the Jews and Samaritans about which temple was in fact God’s dwelling place (John 4:20).  Does that argument sound familiar?  Instead of joining her where and how worship argument; Jesus stretched her thinking by addressing the spiritual nature of the worshiper.  He said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23).  Those who worship in spirit and truth are not those who know about worship but those who know of worship. 

Did our intense focus on how we worship instead of why we worship start and perpetuate the worship wars in our congregations?  Our response to what is occurring on the inside (discipleship) should be manifested in our actions on the outside (worship).  Have we so minimized our focus on discipleship that we have it backward?  Have we misplaced so much of our energy and effort that we are depending on our outward worship actions to determine what occurs on the inside?  Has this singular focus caused our worship to become our discipleship and the sole measurement of what it means to be a Christ follower?  If worship was an intrinsic response to our having been with Jesus instead of our sole effort at being with Jesus, would we continue to fight these battles?  Agreeing this has occurred is much easier than trying to determine what can be done to rectify it.

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