Blog

  • The global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed centuries-old, unresolved racial disparities and injustices that are groaning for the reconciling grace of the gospel. Amidst this reality, what is the shape of honest worship in your context? 
  • These Sonnets are written to follow the order of worship and can be used by individuals for personal reflection, or in worship with households, small groups, or full congregations interspersed throughout worship or as a poetic offering.

    While these days we readily associate the word Corona with the COVID-19 virus, in English literature it has another meaning entirely. Bethany explains:

  • During this Advent season, are you the one knocking or the one invited to express God’s love and mercy and open the door?

    My daughter and I took a road trip one summer and because I wanted some scheduling freedom we didn’t book campsites ahead of time. Given just how many campgrounds there are I naively thought we would have no problem securing a site each night. How wrong my assumptions were and as place after place said they were full I felt my anxiety rising.

  • The anti-idolatry response [to worship’s “de-Christianizing of God’s people] is to make sure that our worship leaders and planners from pastors to musicians, artists, tech, liturgists and elders, and yes also those gathered, understand that it is God who calls us to worship, it is the Holy Spirit who enables our worship, and it is Christ who perfects it. 

  • We love weekly communion. And we love how the Epiclesis reminds us of our dependence on the Holy Spirit.

    During Lent a few years ago, our congregation began celebrating the Lord’s Supper weekly. At last, more than twenty years into our church plant-turned mission-oriented congregation, we became truly Reformed and truly ecumenical, honoring the best wisdom and practice of the global church.

  • Is it ever OK to…?

    Is it ever OK to be intentionally exclusive in worship? 

    I’ve been having this internal argument of late about whether or not it is ever OK to make a worship decision that you know will result in some demographic being left out when it is within your power to be more inclusive? In other words, is it ever OK to be intentionally exclusive in worship?

    Think through these scenarios with me:

  • The creational nature of the garden-kingdom metaphor can help build visuals and object lessons for preaching, enrich the worship environment, and shape how a congregation walks through the big movements of the biblical story.

  • Since we invite people of all ages to receive baptism as a sign of God’s never ending grace-filled love for them, why not also let people of all ages also receive communion as a sign of God’s never ending grace-filled love for them?

  • The array of worship services during the Holy Week is meant to be, as described by some Millennials, an “embodied practice of faith—a liturgy that shapes our stance toward heaven more than our intellect about heaven.”

  • Sound and light in worship services excite our God-created sensory systems. While some worshipers welcome them, they could make others feel uncomfortable. Barb Newman shares some ideas on “sensory friendly” worship environments.

  • Even in the midst of falling steeples, in the face of the crucified Messiah, in our own baptismal drowning we are assured that the church won’t fall.

    Like many people around the world, my social media feed has been filled with images of the burning Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France. Knowing its history and having been privileged to visit it many years ago I was saddened by its partial destruction and can understand the grief of those with closer ties. As I watched the video of the falling cathedral spire the words of this hymn came to mind:

  • Choral music itself will never be a thing of the past, but impoverished are the congregations who are forcing their people to experience singing in secular settings.

    How important are church choirs? How vital are they to a healthy ministry? Why have them at all?

  • Epiphany might not be on every congregation’s calendar. But perhaps some simple frames can enable worship leaders and worshipers—veteran and novice—to add it to theirs.

  • Death is a very real word and a very real reality. For followers of the One who defeated death, it is the next logical step in our eternal trust walk with triune God.

  • 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.

    Though not prone to proof-texting, the missional church conversations in which I often find myself do have a few favorite passages that are often employed with a mic-drop emphasis. Jeremiah 29:4-7 is one of those go-to texts: