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Staying the Course and Moving Forward

I despise change! That may be an odd statement coming from someone who has moved repeatedly, attended four post–high school institutions, and worked as a high school teacher, youth pastor, research assistant, and editor, not to mention the biggest change of all—adopting an infant. Regardless of all that change in my life, I am no fan. Change destabilizes, creates tension, and requires us to adapt. Frankly, it is often uncomfortable, at least for a while.

I suspect that the change of editors at Reformed Worship after twenty years could create some of those same feelings for our readers. Some of you may be wondering about the future of Reformed Worship without Emily Brink. Others may be wondering what kind of new-fangled ideas a new editor might bring in. Will the content of RW change? And of course I have my own questions too: Will I make the right decisions for the journal? Will people continue to subscribe now that Emily is no longer at the helm? What in the world was I thinking when I accepted this responsibility?

The good news is that Reformed Worship has a solid foundation and its future does not rest in any single person’s hands. RW is shaped by an experienced group of discerning staff, a diverse advisory council—and especially by you, our readers. Reformed Worship has always relied on practitioners in the area of worship to provide the bulk of its content: pick-up-and-use worship resources, creative ideas for music and visual elements, and theological reflections. That core relationship will not change. RW is able to offer four issues of worship resources each year in part because of the contributions of people in real worship situations, from churches urban and rural, large and small, and of varying denominations. Churches just like yours.

For twenty years Reformed Worship has had the same statement of purpose: “to provide worship leaders and committees with practical assistance in planning, structuring, and conducting congregational worship in the Reformed tradition.” That vision has not changed. But throughout the last twenty years the content has varied as RW has sought to address the current questions and needs worship planners were facing at the time. For example, as worship planners began to include more visual elements and employ technological tools in their services, the resources included in RW began to address these challenges. I suspect that there will be similar changes in the future.

You may have already noted some changes. The biggest change is having the print resources of RW available online. This was a huge undertaking—but worth every effort as it provides resources for the ministry and worship of churches around the world. You may also note design changes in the printed journal created by art director Dean Heetderks. Although much of this work has been going on behind the scenes for some time, we decided to coordinate the changes with the change in editorial leadership.

Another change is the addition of “Reflections,” a new column that features a devotional article to minister to you, our readers. But the other departments remain with authors you have come to know and appreciate: Dean Heetderks, Ron Rienstra, John Witvliet, and yes, Emily Brink. Emily Brink will still have a presence in Reformed Worship as editor of the column “Songs for the Season”; she will also serve as an editorial consultant.

Since each person has distinct gifts and perspectives, each leaves behind a unique imprint on the work they do. I imagine that it will be no different for me as the new editor of RW. However, though there may continue to be tweaks here and there, the overall plan is to make this transition as seamless as possible and to move forward while we stay the course set by the original visionaries of RW. May God grant all of us wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we seek to enable the worship of God’s people.