John D. Witvliet

John D. Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of music and worship at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also teaches in the religion department at Calvin College.

Articles by this author:

Blogs by this author:

  • Learning What Tenderness and Hope in Response to Jesus Feels Like

    One the most tender moments in the entire Bible is Simeon's joy at the presentation of Jesus (Luke 2:29-32). His serene and hopeful song is a model response to the revelation of the Lord: 

  • Insights from My College Students About What Helps and Hinders Worship

    I recently taught a class on worship and theology to an insightful group of 30 undergraduate students. They came from churches all over the stylistic spectrum, from eight denominations, twelve states and provinces, and three countries. 

    As part of the course, I asked them to submit brief written reflections to these open ended questions: 

  • When an international student moves to the United States, and starts watching American football or baseball, they are often perplexed. When a North American student explains the game, they start to appreciate it. But when they hear a true fan of the game respond to a brilliant play by exclaiming “now that was amazing,” then their attention is focused in a new way. That exclamation—a testimonial, really—becomes an invitation not just to understand the game, but to fall in love with it.

  • Drills and Scales as Building Blocks

    Every good soccer or basketball team does drills to practice basic skills. Every good pianist or saxophonist practices scales. Drills and scales are the building blocks of success any time our bodies and minds are involved in an activity we love.

    Scales and drills shape how human nerves and muscles work together seamlessly in real time. They get us ready to respond to whatever a game or musical performance brings our way. They make doing the right thing instinctive, like second nature.

  • Portuguese

    Remembrance: An Incomplete Truth

    Every year, I ask my college and seminary students to tell me how they think 8 and 9 year olds in their congregation would summarize the point of the Lords’ Supper in a sentence. Invariably, the vast, vast majority say “the Supper is about remembering Jesus’ death.”