The Worship Place

I am a frequent lurker — and occasional participant — in an online discussion group on Facebook. It is comprised of worship pastors and other people responsible for the liturgical life of their gospel communities. We ask each other questions. Not ivory-tower abstract questions, but real-life theological/worship-leader questions.

On the following pages Chris Stoffel Overvoorde, a professor of art at Calvin College and a member of Grace Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, explains how his congregation developed a meaningful environment for worship. The congregation, which began as a mission chapel in 1949, has grown into a multicultural congregation of roughly one hundred families. Through the use of a church symbol, banners, liturgical color, and sculpture they have created a worshipful and meditative.

Symbols are an important part of Reformed worship. We use light and darkness, crosses, doves, shepherds and sheep to help us see God, who in Christ and through the Spirit is redeeming us. We do this because as Reformed Christians we believe that life and worship are one. A variety of media is appropriate in the Reformed worship service. Increasingly, wood and glass, architecture, inspiring banners, paintings, musical compositions, and liturgical dance are being used to touch our hearts and to help us sing God's praise.