In the previous article (Campus Notes) I outlined some of the features of online web logs (blogs) that make them an intriguing new communication tool:
- blog content is multimedia and hyper-linked
- blog content is persistent and searchable while also fresh with each new post
- the blog’s content comes not just from an authoritative source, but can be interactive through comments, and even collaborative through communal posting.
These characteristics hold promise for the blog as a tool not only for pedagogy, but also as a source for sharing worship planning resources and reflection on worship planning. In this column, I will look at a handful of brand-new blogs that are attempting to realize this promise.
Bob Kauflin is a well-known and respected worship leader. His blog is designed less as a communal space and more as a forum for Bob’s wisdom. (But it does not turn—as it might have—into a disguised advertisement for Sovereign Grace Music Ministries.) It’s designed “for those who lead corporate praise (pastors, musicians, small group leaders).” He posts a weekly devotional on Monday and on Friday answers questions posted in the comment areas. The regular posts lean toward reflection rather than resource.
This interesting blog has three culturally savvy contributors from Australia who post weekly reflections keyed to the Revised Common Lectionary. The blog posts links to other Web content and offers song suggestions, children’s message suggestions, and more. Especially helpful are the biblical and lectionary search tools and the list of links to other lectionary blogs.
Many preachers will be familiar with the exhaustive homiletic-helps resources at textweek.com. That site and this blog are run by Jenee Woodward. Also keyed to the lectionary, it sends visitors to other locations on the Web to stimulate sermonizing. Here too the collaborative potential of the blog is under-realized (one cannot even leave comments), but the insights and pointers are worth a look.
Jonny Baker is one of the leaders of the “emerging church” movement in the U.K. His book Alternative Worship has been reviewed favorably in these pages (see RW 77, p. 41). This blog site, like textweek above, is not particularly interactive, but it is full of creative (and sometimes edgy) ideas for worship, including links to video meditations, songs, and ritual activities.
The website at the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship has all sorts of resources and reflection (for a review, see RW 77, p. 42). The site also includes a blog to which a number of CICW staff post regularly and thoughtfully. As above, the posts are less week-to-week resourcing and more a combination of education, information, and inspiration. Comments are welcome, but moderated.
This site professes to be a “collaborative collection of resources and commentary for those who plan and lead Christian worship.” It is run by a host of contributors, some of whom may be known to readers of RW, including Chip Andrus, Karen Ward, and—full disclosure—this author. And perhaps you. The site’s goal is to be a “first-stop” bookmark for folks when they begin their worship planning sessions each pressure-filled week—a place to find something that can be used right away. But is also a place where all are encouraged to comment and converse, and also to post items describing worship ideas they’ve seen or heard or participated in that are fodder for education and emulation.
Those resources include music and musical arrangements of songs, sometimes keyed to the lectionary, including links to pdf music files and MP3 files where available and appropriate. In addition, there are dramas, litanies and prayers, and photos of worship spaces and artistic installations. Particularly interesting is the daily prayer podcast and an eclectic list of recommended reading and other worship-related links. You’ll find plenty of material along the way that is fuel for more long-term, relaxed reflection.
Check out some of these blog sites to glean insight from others, to stimulate your own imagination, and to share your own wisdom.