Video: Ancient-Future Worship: A Model for the 21st Century

led and narrated by Robert Webber with a live congregation. Wheaton, Ill.: Institute for Worship Studies, 1999. Available from IWS, (630) 510-8905; fax: (630) 510-0601;

Robert Webber, who has been offering numerous one-day workshops around the country (see current list below), has pulled together many of his ideas in a six-session video course. The videos include segments of actual worship services that model what he teaches.

Webber is known around North America as a tireless promoter of blended worship, or what he now calls convergence worship: “Convergence worship will draw together the substance of traditional worship and the relevance of contemporary worship,” resulting in worship that is liturgical, culturally relevant, participatory, holistic, and expresses a variety of moods.

The six video segments range from ten to twenty-five minutes each: “Understanding Worship,” “The Ministry of Hospitality,” “Gathering in God’s Presence,” “Listening to God Through the Word,” “Offering Praise and Thanksgiving at the Table,” and “Going Forth to Love and Serve the Lord.”

Accompanying the video is a discussion guide for group study with questions to help a leader in a small group setting. A study guide includes the entire text, along with suggestions in the margin for further study. Those suggestions are all taken from Webber’s eight-volume work, The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993-1995). At least some volumes of that expensive but very informative encyclopedia of worship resources would be worth getting if the worship leaders in your congregation are interested in further study.

I recommend this video for study by a group of worship leaders, including the pastor. Yet, as good as this video is, it will probably raise more questions than it answers. Webber talks about the many different ways congregations can apply the same principles. Whoever watches, and particularly whoever leads a congregational group in study of this video, will need discernment as to how to apply the good principles presented in an appropriate way in their own context.

Emily R. Brink ( is Senior Research Fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and former editor of Reformed Worship.


Reformed Worship 54 © December 1999, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.