Book and Video: How We Seek God Together: Exploring Worship Style

Linda Clark, Joanne Swenson, and Mark Stamm. The Alban Institute, 2001. Book (137 pp.) and video.

Many books and articles are written about worship today, especially about the style of worship. But these three authors and the Alban Institute have found a way to deal with the issues in a very compelling way.

“The style of a congregation’s life together is the face of its soul . . .” the authors say. But words are inadequate to explain and “see” the face of the soul. So they have accompanied their book with a short video. The book tells; the video shows.

According to the authors, each congregation has its own local custom that shapes style. They believe that a congregation’s style of worship shapes its images of God. While some worship creates a “breakout” so that worshipers experience the transcendence of God, other worship produces “breakdown” and becomes a barrier to such experience.

With these basic convictions, the authors study the worship, make-up, and behavior of three different congregations for a year. Their analysis is written in the book; what they saw is captured on the video that accompanies the book. The two make an excellent pair.

Howard D. Vanderwell was the Resource Development Specialist of Pastoral Leadership for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the author and editor of The Church of All Ages and Caring Worship: Helping Worship Leaders Provide Pastoral Care through the Liturgy, and co-author of Designing Worship Together.

Reformed Worship 69 © September 2003 Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church. Used by permission.