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Perspectives

Growing Pains: What happened when one congregation introduced major changes

In 1990 the congregation of Southern Heights Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan (a thirty-year-old, largely white-collar congregation) had reached an important point in its history. By the members' own admission, the congregation had "stalled" for a number of years and needed to clarify its direction and begin moving forward. Some questioned whether it was good stewardship to continue paying the bills for a less-than-effective ninety-family congregation.

Don't Get Hung Up On Style: A conversation

Editor Emily Brink met with Robert Webber one afternoon last fall on the campus of Wheaton College in Illinois, where he has taught in the theology department for the past twenty-eight years. We spoke together in his office in the Billy Graham Center, an impressive museum and office complex.

Look Before You Leap! Second thoughts on adding a contemporary service

George Barna says you have to. Lyle Schaller says you ought to. Evangelists say you need to. The idea of creating a new worship expression, "contemporary" in character, alongside your present worshiping community is racing like wildfire through congregations all across North America.

Mixed Motives

Come, Let Us Bow Down: Reflections on kneeling

In most Reformed and Presbyterian churches people do not kneel during prayer. Should they?

About one hundred years ago Abraham Kuyper, renowned Dutch theologian and prime minister of the 'Netherlands, addressed this question. His firm answer: Yes.

In the paragraphs that follow, Kuyper explains that kneeling was still customary as late as 1618, at the Synod of Dort. Various reasons and circumstances led to a change soon after that. But not very good reasons!

Looking Back, Looking Ahead at Changes in Worship: An interview with James F White, one of North America's foremost liturgical scholars

Dr. James F. White is currently professor of liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, where he has supervised nearly twenty Ph.D. dissertations on worship-related topics. His sixteen books on worship include A Brief History of Christian Worship, An Introduction to Christian Worship, and Protestant Worship: Traditions in Transition, all texts that are frequently assigned in college and seminary courses on worship.

Two Betrayers: Reader's theater: a conversation between Judas and Peter

In some ways, Judas and Peter were not that different: They both sinned. One could argue thatjudas's betrayal was worse than Peter's denial. But Jesus' words in Matthew 10:33 indicate that Peter's sin was deadly serious too: "Whoever disowns me before others, I will also deny before my Father in heaven."

Have You Seen the Angels? A series of Advent and Christmas services: a series of Advent and Christmas services

It's fall. You are already noticing the Christmas catalogues showing up in your mailbox. Though school has barely begun, your calendar tells you it is time to plan for Advent and Christmas. And the very thought of it makes you tremble just a little.

Will All the Children Please Come Forward?': Uses and abuses of the children's sermon

Preaching to children is nothing new. It's been | happening—in one form or another—as long as children have been part of the church. Even some of the older sermons in print include occasional invitations to the "boys and girls" to listen carefully because this is "especially for you." And as early as the 1800s publishers found a market for collections of children's sermons.

Standing on the Lord's Side: A drama about Joshua, Caleb, and the other spies (Numbers 13,14; Joshua 7,24)

Cast

Storyteller
Child, sitting with storyteller
Moses: a very old man
Joshua
Caleb
Ten other spies (one spokesperson)
Crowd 1, with three spokespersons (for scene 1 the crowd could be the entire church school or the entire congregation)
The Voice of God

Introducing Songs for LiFE: A new hymnal and worship education program

Have you noticed the new "kid on the block," or, more accurately, the new hymnal reference in all the service resources in this issue of RW? Those of you who check out the fine print for the sources of songs used in the various services and drama, will notice a new set of letters. SFL stands for Songs for LiFE, a new children's hymnal just published by CRC Publications. A leader's edition is scheduled for release this summer.