Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Essentials of Worship

My MWS 501 week intensive at the Institute for Worship Studies has come to an end. Part of my final project for the class is a paper entitled "Essential of Worship." Basically, we have to take all that we will read/have read, learned and discussed, and synthesize it into what we believe to be the essential points of Christian worship. This small outline is nowhere near finalization. There is a lot going through my heart, soul and mind right now. However, I feel that this outline is going to be a good place to start – we shall see what develops…oooooo….How exciting

Worship must be:

-A Narrative

-Corporate worship must bring us into, and help tell, God's Story. The corporate worship experience should be a narrative that represents God's meta-narrative in a four-fold pattern. God's story can be defined as Creation, Fall, Redemption – or – Orientation, Disorientation, New Orientation (Unfettered Praise). The four-fold pattern is a holistic worship structure defined by: Gathering, Word, Thanksgiving, and Sending.


-We worship one God – But, what is the difference between Christian worship and Jewish worship?

-We worship a Triune God: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.

-We worship the Father, in the Spirit through the Son (The difference between Christian worship and Jewish worship?

-We worship in community when we live in community with the one who fulfills community with himself. (Basically, God doesn't need us. He doesn't need our worship to be God. However, he wants us to be a part of his story ((meta-narrative)) for the world.

-Ceremonial Celebration

-Reverence for a Holy Lord

-Joyous in what our Holy Lord has done.


-We cannot worship in a vacuum

-As lead worshipers, we have a duty to draw upon the rich heritage of Christian history - (Robert Webber's Ancient/Future worship)

– We need to be culturally relevant as well as relevantly cultural.

-An outpouring of thanks for what God not just for what he has done, but for who he is.

-Not for blessing in return but because of who he is.

Again, these are just some thoughts in a loose outline.. more to come... be sure of that!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


One of the great aspects of my MWS 501 class is that at the end of every day, each student gets a chance to lead the class in a time of worship and reflection. It is a time where we can put our individual spin on and put into practice some of the concepts that we are learning. We have 6 students in class, so it really works out for each of us to have a chance to lead. Tomorrow is my turn!

Honestly, IWS has given me new eyes. I am looking at everything in a more sensitive and clearer light. It's like scales are slowly being peeled away from my eyes, one thin layer at a time.

A main theme across campus this winter session is the Psalms. So, for part of my worship project, I decided to integrate a Psalm and a song (say that 10x fast…). After some reading and thinking… this combination came to mind: the classic/renewed hymn, All Creatures of our God and King, and Psalm 148.

Take a look, and if you feel like using it, please do! Or even better, contemplate on the Psalms and write your own!

(p.s. It is important that we don't start with a song and read our interpretation into a Psalm. The Psalms are so rich on their own, read the Psalms, pray the Psalms – and see where God leads you.)(p.p.s – during the Psalm readings, the chords that are played are basically what you would play during the verses.)

And for copy writing sake - Words: Francis of Assisi, 1225. Music: 17th Century German. Revised melody and new chords: David Crowder Band. Arrangement: Me.

All Creatures/Psalm 148

All creatures of our God and King Lift up your voice and hear us sing

O Praise Him Alleluia

Thou burning sun with golden beam Thou silver moon with softer gleam

O Praise Him O Praise Him

Alleluiah Alleluia Alleluia

1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.

2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.

Thou rushing wind that art so strong Ye clouds that sail in heaven along

O Praise Him Alleluia

Thou rising moon in praise rejoice Ye lights of evening find a voice

O Praise Him O Praise Him

Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created,

6 and he established them forever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,

9 you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,

Let all things their Creator bless And worship Him in humbleness

O Praise Him Alleluia

Praise, Praise the Father Praise the Son And Praise the Spirit Three-in-One

O Praise Him O Praise Him

Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

10 wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds,

11 kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth,

12 men and women and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Praise, Praise the Father Praise the Son And Praise the Spirit Three-in-One

O Praise Him O Praise Him

Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

14 And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart.

ALL: Praise the LORD.

Alleluia (repeat)

Friday, January 8, 2010


I wish I could just comprehend what is going on right now. My body is tired, my brain is in a state at the cross roads of melting and enlightenment, I have come to moments of anger, fits of discouragement, and times of tremendous, overwhelming, joy. I guess that is the best way to describe it: overwhelming joy.

I am beginning a journey that has been planned for almost three years now. I am beginning my Masters of Worship Studies (MWS) at The Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies. After two and a half years of trying and coming short, I am finally here.

Robert Webber was one of the greatest thinkers in the world of Worship. He was an expert in theology, sociology, culture and the forerunner of Ancient-Future worship. He fought at Wheaton College for many years, saying that Worship should be taught along side Theological Studies. His point being, that the way we worship and our view of worship affects everything else.

But they said no.

Robert Webber wrote many books on culture, worship, theology and such, and in 1999 started the Institute for Worship Studies where people could come and learn about worship – not music, but worship.

It was a bit surprised (but at the same time, not really surprised) to find out that most all of the staff is lacking in the areas of musical education. In fact, while much of the faculty members are accomplished musicians, former pastors and worship pastors, none of them have high degrees in music.

These people are theologians, historians, cultural critics, people who have seen that when it comes to who we are, they see that we are a part of a grand story, a story beginning with God's desire for us to enjoy and take part in his love. This is worship; communing with the one who communes with himself. If you can believe it, in my class MWS 501: Biblical Theology of Worship, in two days of in class lectures (6 hours a day…) we have covered as much as Gen. 1:1, and Gen. 1:2. But I am learning that these two verses are so critical to the story, the narrative, of scripture. I would go into it, but not tonight… as I have said before my brain has gone through many states in the last few days and right now it is more on the side of melting.

I am learning about community, love, culture, experience, relationship, history, the story of the world – these are the ingredients that make up the stock of worship soup (if you will…).

I have met wonderful people from all over the world. My small cohort made up of Thom, Jennifer, Maggie, Dan and Bret has become my family, and we will continue this little family in each class until graduation. What an amazing way to build up and encourage one another while we take on the stretching information and the challenging implication it brings.

Honestly, I can't type anymore today (sorry for the randomness). Honestly, IWS is an amazing place. You should be here: