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Content about Public worship -- Style

June 1, 2007

At a summer planning meeting on her back porch, Laura Smit, Dean of the Chapel at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, mentioned a Psalm Festival she had done with her church in Boston—all 150 Psalms in one night. That sounded like a great project for Calvin College.

June 4, 2004

RW 71 introduced a new column on Technology in Worship, asking basic worship questions that should precede technical questions about using presentation technology. If your church has decided to use computer projection, its time to ask the next question: How do we start?


June 4, 2004

Five years ago, our church decided to use a projection machine and screen in worship. We discovered that the appearance of projection-screen technology was forcing us to provide some answers to questions we had not even begun to ask. For example,

March 4, 2004

In RW 69, we announced a new column on technology issues in worship, to alternate occasionally with the column “What’s on the Web.” This first article concentrates on the worship questions that precede the technical questions in using visual images.


September 3, 2003

There’s a lesson for worship leaders in a famous scene in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and company are meeting with the Great and Powerful Oz, whose voice and visage have them shaking in awe and wonder. Meanwhile, the dog Toto pulls back a drape, revealing an ordinary fellow frantically pushing buttons and pulling levers, desperate to conceal his role in the spectacle of sight and sound. He bellows, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

September 3, 2003

Q: What do you get when you are asked to take part in an event for which you are remarkably unprepared?

A: Butterflies in your stomach.

Q: What do you get when you realize that the majority of participants in that event are as unprepared as you?

A: The false assurance of safety in numbers.

Q: What do you get when the leadership of that same event begins to realize what’s going on?

A: Frustrated and disheartened leadership.

March 1, 2001

It is 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning. About forty teenagers have assembled in the choir rehearsal room at Islington United Church in west Toronto. Most of them look sleepy; many look as though they just stepped out of the shower. But they’re here, and as they warm up their voices and begin to sing, I’m reminded of newborn butterflies drying their wings and getting ready for flight. A parent checks attendance and solves last-minute problems.

March 1, 2000

Recently I heard of a pastor who was trying to bring life and vitality to his medium-sized congregation's worship. He had become intrigued with "blended worship" and had experimented with adding some "contemporary" instrumentation and eliminating worship practices that might be considered too "high church." lie liked the concept of blended worship and was beginning to implement it, yet he still had reservations.

September 1, 1999

This service was planned by Alistair Drummond, pastor, Amy Mendez, associate pastor, and Jorge Lockward, minister of music, along with members of a worship planning team at The West End Presbyterian Church, New York City.


Introit: “Live in Charity” (Music of Taizé, vol 1; GIA) (1)

Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.
Donde hay amor y caridad. Donde hay amor, Dios tambien está.

September 1, 1999

I got off the subway and walked a couple of blocks to the big brick church on the corner of Amsterdam and 105th in New York City. West End Presbyterian Church has been on that corner for over a hundred years and has seen many changes, especially in the past generation.

March 1, 1999
  • Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, has grown in fifteen years from six couples meeting in a living room to a congregation of three thousand that holds seven weekly worship services in its six-hundred-seat auditorium. Despite the fact that it has planted twelve daughter churches, it continues to grow. Twenty percent of its new members are recent converts. “I’m seriously praying about going to an eighth service,” says founding pastor Steve Sjogren, “because it would make room for more seekers.
March 1, 1999

Our thanks to the thirty-nine members of the Calvin Theological Seminary community (students, spouses, staff, faculty) who responded to an open invitation to participate in this pro/con feature. Respondents were from the U.S., Canada, Korea, and Romania.


Using overhead projection of songs in worship is helpful for the following reasons:

December 1, 1998

These two Easter services were submitted by Charlotte Larsen, director of music at the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Like many growing congregations, Ann Arbor CRC holds two morning services that are distinct in style and flavor but grow out of the same Scriptures and include the same sermon. The different character of the two services is designed to address the diverse university community.

September 1, 1998

Got time to browse through this editorial before heading straight for the service helps? Great! Let's take a quick tour of heaven together. Yup, heaven—not Sioux Center, not Vancouver—but heaven, the real thing. Will they let us in? Yes, but not to stay. Not yet. Not quite dressed for the occasion? Don't fret. The clothes we received when we took on Christ are whiter than we know. No wrinkles, and not a trace of starch either. So let's take a peek. See that elderly gent over there? That's our tour guide. Name's John.

March 1, 1998

By some accounts, the worship situation in churches today has reached an all-time low— "the worst of times." Others disagree. They think that the church has broken out of encrusted habits and is yielding to the working of the Spirit. We are finally worshiping "as God wants us to"—"the best of times."

Who's right? Although there's no easy answer to that question, dipping into a few recent articles and books and mixing in a bit of commentary and history may help us evaluate our liturgical situation.

December 1, 1997

This past year was one of the most invigorating enjoyable, and exhausting years I have spent for a long time. In the March 1997 issue (RW 43:2) T wrote that I was on a partial study leave to deal with a number of questions:

September 1, 1997

Fragmented and alienated, individualistic and competitive. Those are words people use to describe our society. Can they be used to describe our churches as well?

June 1, 1997

"Why sing songs written by fallen mortals when Almighty God has inspired 150 of his own hymns?" That kind of thinking made choosing music for worship a moot point for many of our Reformed forebears. You sang the psalms. No wrestling over hymns versus praise choruses. How things have changed over the centuries!

March 1, 1997

Last summer Pastor Anduwatju was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the site of the 1996 meeting of the Reformed Ecumenical Council a group that includes thirty denominations in twenty-one countries. During a break in the meetings, I had the opportunity to meet him and learn something about worship in his Indonesian setting.

—Emily R. Brink

RW: Please describe your church in Indonesia.
March 1, 1997

When congregations think about changing their worship service(s), they usually start by asking two questions: "What are we going to change?" and "How are we going to change it?" Those are fair and logical questions. Yet, because of their focus on the future, they do not represent the healthiest beginning point. As strange as it may sound, the first principle of healthy worship change is to begin with the past. We need to ask, "What aren't we going to change?" In other words, what don'twe want to give up?

March 1, 1997

This past June, my home congregation learned that we would be losing one of our two pastors, the adult choir director, and the organist. They all left for good and different reasons. But the joy of Pentecost Sunday was muted when I heard that day that all three would be leaving.

September 1, 1996

A few weeks ago, Bruce Klanderman, organist at the Rochester (N.Y.) Christian Reformed Church, sent me a chart of the number of Psalter Hymnal songs that have moved in his congregation from "red" to "green."

Now for the translation: Two other organists in western Michigan prepared a color-coded chart of the entire 1987 Psalter Hymnal when it first came out.

They marked every song either

June 1, 1996

Worship has played a big role in my life. For more than sixty years I have attended church services. Often, I confess, I was no more than a spectator— sometimes fascinated, sometimes bored. But I also remember services that moved me and even changed me. In those services I felt addressed by God, and I offered my worship with all my heart.

June 1, 1996

When RW interviewed John Bell in 1993, we described him as a "modern-day John the Baptist. From his piercing eyes down to his sandal-clad feet, he projected the intense charisma always associated with that desert prophet" (RW 27:23).

He still does. Many of you were able to hear and meet Bell this past summer at COLAM 95, the Conference on Liturgy and Musk held at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan), where he was a keynote speaker.

June 1, 1996

I still clearly remember the day the idea for Reformed Worship was born—Friday, May 10, 1985, somewhere on the New York Thruway. Harvey Smit, Dave Vanderwel, and I were traveling from Toronto to Midland Park, New Jersey, during a fifteen-stop tour across North America to introduce a draft of the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal, Toronto had been our tenth of fifteen "Psalter Hymnal Study Conferences."