Chris Schoon lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where he serves as lead pastor of First Hamilton CRC, an urban church rooted in the Durand and Kirkendall neighborhoods. He has a ThD in missional theology (Wycliffe College/University of Toronto) and has taught courses at Redeemer University College and Calvin Theological Seminary. His worship-related interests explore how worship as a gathered people intertwines with the life of God's people outside of worship. Chris is the author of Cultivating an Evangelistic Character: Integrating Worship and Discipleship in the Missional Church Movement (Wipf & Stock). He occasionally blogs at www.christopherjschoon.com and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @chrisjschoon.
Articles by this author:
- Based on 1 Chronicles 16:8-36By Chris Schoon
This litany is adapted from one I wrote for our worship gathering on the Sunday of Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The litany draws from the 1 Chronicles 16 account of David arranging musicians, priests, and others to praise God after the ark of the covenant had returned to Jerusalem. The celebratory context and the involvement of a wide range of voices and instruments encourages us to include multiple voices and instruments in our own thanksgiving celebrations.
(Note: All Reader parts come from 1 Chronicles 16:8–36, NIV)
- A Worship Series Planned by YouthBy Chris Schoon
One of the more subtly challenging aspects of worship planning that our team faces is how to develop a sense of cohesiveness from week to week. How does the worship we facilitate this week relate to what we experienced the previous week or to what we will encounter next week?
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Mission unfolds in our homes and backyard gardens. Mission extends across generations and welcomes new people into our families. Mission seeks the well-being and shalom of the whole city. And this day-in, day-out mission of being God’s people includes praying for the city in which we live.
Tiffany. Sherman. Webster. Albion. Devil’s Punchbowl. Over the last 8 years, these and several of the other 100+ waterfalls in Hamilton, ON, have become my friends. Admittedly, I feel a bit weird describing these locations as friends, as if my social relationships now include inanimate objects. But quite honestly, I know these waterfalls better – and likely have more pictures from my time with them - than I do with 90% of the people I’m connected to via my social media accounts.
One evening 15 or so years ago, as I stepped out onto our front porch, I encountered a surprise guest, or I should say, several surprise guests. An adult opossum with a few much younger ones sat quite comfortably in a row on the 3-feet high concrete ledge that wrapped around our porch. They were down on the right side, at the opposite end of where I had come out. They stared at me and I stared at them — all of us frozen in the uncertainty of what to do next.
On January 6 (at least in the Western Church), we celebrate Epiphany, marking the revelation of Jesus Christ to the whole world. The central biblical story is Matthew’s account of the magi (astrologers) coming from the East to worship Jesus.
I am struck that Matthew includes this story of the broader world being led to Jesus. Perhaps, I should not be surprised. After all, Matthew opens his gospel by naming Jesus’ family history, including several of his grandmothers who came from other nations.
The Importance of Preparation
We would see Mr. Tony out on his front porch early on those summer holiday mornings scraping the grates on his large grill, pouring in the fresh charcoal, and starting up the fire that would run throughout the day. He would tend the coals all morning, making sure the flames were just right and that all the coals would get a turn in the middle. He would turn them over, scoot them around, and occasionally pick up a couple that had fallen to the side.
Last August, Zac Hicks posted on the Reformed Worship blog about a few metaphors related to mission and worship that have been meaningful to him. He referenced a couple metaphors from Ruth Meyers’ book Missional Worship, Worshipful Mission and then offered a metaphor of his own.
Throughout church history and across denominations, God’s people have given a privileged place within worship to the reading of the Ten Commandments. In my experience, the Ten Commandments have usually been included as a Call to Confession or as a Call to Holy Living. In the first instance, our attention is drawn toward how we have fallen short of God’s expectations. Our sin is exposed. In the second, we are called to live more faithfully in response to God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
I knew it would be an emotionally heavy week. Recently, I participated in a Mental Health First Aid training offered by Mental Health Canada. In a similar way to a Red Cross first aid course, this course is designed to equip first responders with information, skills, and resources needed to identify and provide care to someone experiencing a mental health crisis. I highly recommend this course for those who are in the Canadian context and can access it.