Nathan Bierma

Nathan Bierma ( is Communications and Research Coordinator for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and adjunct professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also a contributing writer to the Chicago Tribute and a contributing editor to Books & Culture  magazine.


Articles by this author:

  • Celebrating the Arts

    For a mid-sized city with a thriving downtown arts scene, the annual Celebration of the Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, may seem like just one more art show on a busy cultural calendar. But art lovers are often taken aback when they learn who’s behind this event. The Celebration is entirely hosted, promoted, and run by a church—First United Methodist Church, a Gothic church building on Fulton Street in the heart of the city.

  • Even here, people come for a church service,” says Pastor Rob Knol, standing at the back of the gym of the Boys and Girls Club in Valparaiso, Indiana, where Daybreak Community Church has just completed its worship service.

  • A colleague was asked point-blank at a workshop recently, “Have changes in worship in the last generation been good or bad?”    

         The short answer may be yes.

    A longer answer was given at a day-long seminar at the Calvin Symposium on Worship 2006. The seminar featured a panel of prominent worship leaders who had probably never been together in the same room before. They reflected in very different ways on one of the central topics in twentieth-century North American religion: changes in worship practices.

  • Planning worship for a special church celebration calls for a tricky blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary. On the one hand, you want the occasion to feel special and festive, to involve former members and special presenters. On the other hand, you want worship to represent your church’s regular worship life—which is what you’re celebrating in the first place.

  • Kristy Ruthven has two titles at Princeton Christian Reformed Church: youth director and director of worship and music. In the eyes of Ruthven and her congregation, the two jobs are integrally linked. Princeton worships with a vision for intergenerational unity, and the task of reaching out to youth cannot be separated from the practice of worship.

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