Q We hear a lot about people “giving things up for Lent.” What implications might this practice have for corporate worship?
A Individuals often go without a certain food or activity as a way to make Jesus’ journey toward the cross more prominent in their life. But perhaps congregations could consider similar practices or emphases communally.
Q My church sings contemporary music, but with piano accompaniment rather than guitar and drums. It doesn’t sound very contemporary. Why can’t the music be led by a band, like it was designed to be?
A There are a lot of layers to this question. Some churches don’t have a praise band because they don’t have people with the necessary skills. Others prefer piano or organ or have discerned that in their context piano or organ accompaniment leads to the best possible singing. All of those judgments need to be made contextually.
Q Is it really legitimate to treat some psalms as if they refer to Jesus?
A Christians have long interpreted several psalms (16, 24, 72, 110, and others) as referring to Jesus. This is very similar to Christological readings of other Messianic prophecies, such as Isaiah 7, 9, or 40.
- Our church has a part-time worship coordinator and rotating worship teams, but everyone is feeling burned out. What advice do you have for restructuring our work?
- Our music director is retiring, and we want to revise the job description. We want to involve more people in worship.
This year I have enjoyed participating in events celebrating John Calvin’s five hundredth birthday in Pittsburgh, Toronto, Grand Rapids, and Montreat. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the keen interest in Calvin’s approach to worship. Here are brief answers to some of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received during these celebrations.
Q What are some of the biggest differences between being a Christian in Geneva in the sixteenth century and being a Christian in North America today?