The following is a collection of building blocks for a series of worship services based on key themes from the Belhar Confession. This series is adapted from the longer version available on the website of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (worship.calvin.edu.) A few notes:
Articles by this author:
- Five Services on Joyful Living
Philippians has been the focus for Bible study groups on the campus of Calvin College and Hope College in Michigan during this past year. More than 1,500 students participated in small-group Bible studies, which often included a combination of faculty, staff, and students. A number of churches across the country also joined the study.
I can’t imagine worship through the cycle of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany without music. Through the centuries, composers and arrangers have offered the church a wealth of music that is consistent with the themes of worship for these seasons.
Music and weddings go together hand in hand—in fact, music gives voice to the celebration in ways no other medium can! While the church considers weddings to be private family events, the gathered guests, who function as the congregation, can and should have opportunity to praise God joyously, pray for the bride and groom’s new life together, and encourage them with Scripture. Much of this can happen in song!
Norma de Waal Malefyt (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Howard Vanderwell (email@example.com) are Resource Development Specialists at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This article is adapted from their new book (see box) based on many years of fruitful collaboration as senior pastor and music director at Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church, Hudsonville, Michigan.
From time to time all of us who plan worship need some new ideas and triggers that will spark our creativity. Using handbells in worship can be such a spark. I like to think of bells as a seasoning to the “meat and potatoes” of the liturgy. Used with discretion, bells can be an outstanding asset to engage the congregation’s senses in worship.
A copy of this article, complete with graphics, is available at the end of the article.
This series of messages was prepared for the worship life of Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church for Lent 1999. Our intent during this season was to help members of the congregation to slow down the pace of life, to think reflectively and devotionally about their relationship with God by focusing on the person and work of their Savior.
WE APPROACH GOD IN GRIEF AND SORROW
Prelude: "Duet No. 2 in F Major," Beethoven unaccompanied flute and bassoon
The Call to Worship
Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" PsH 460, PH 263, RL 7, TH 38
Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Church worship can easily be destroyed by extremes. The same is true for the worship planning process. One extreme occurs when no one is ultimately in charge; the other occurs when everyone is. Establishing a worship committee can help churches avoid these extremes.
Carol Doran and Thomas H. Troeger. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1992.160 pages.
Tell Your Children
September is a month of new beginnings for many churches. After a summer of travel and vacation, the community returns and seeks to be renewed through a new season of education and enrichment programs. "Tell Your Children/' a contemporary hymn that calls us as families and church family to retell "the Story" in the context of our covenant commitment with our God, is therefore very appropriate for September.
The moment is charged with excitement and anticipation—the beginning of the most important hour of the week. The council has had their time of prayer for this worship service. The prelude is well underway. The worshipers are in their seats, and the pastor is seated on the platform. Everything is planned and prepared and ready for worship.
Many churches send out the message that the morning worship service is the most important one by including most special events in that service. We do the opposite. Baptisms, professions, and our choral music ministry are usually part of the evening service. In addition, every six to eight weeks we try to schedule a special service of praise that focuses on lifting the congregation into a celebration of joy.