"Almost every congregation in North America experiences tension over worship .... in today's radically changed environment, many people in our society do not understand liturgical worship; thus, the church must find language, music, themes, and images that speak to the unchurched, spiritually seeking people. How have churches responded to this collision of forces ? In his new book, Thomas Long addresses these issues by looking at a wide range of `third way' congregations and discusses nine characteristics of the ways they worship: Experiencing mystery; practicing hospitality; recovering a sense of drama; emphasizing excellent, eclectic music; creatively adapting worship spaces; connecting worship and local mission; developing a repertoire of worship responses; moving the close of worship toward a joyous festival; and employing strong, charismatic pastors -- all of which make for vital and faithful worship". -- inside front cover.
Contents: Preface -- Acknowledgements -- Worship Wars: A Report from the Front Lines -- Why Do People Come to Worship ?: A Sense of Belonging -- All the World's a Stage: and Heaven, Too -- O For a Thousand Tongues: The Challenge of Music -- Tents, Temples, and Tables: The Space for Worship -- Serving in This Place: Neighborhoods and Mission -- Come to the Joyful Dance: Memory and Celebration -- In the Spirit of the Lord's Day: Leadership -- Epilogue: Can Revitalized Worship Happen Here ? -- Notes -- Selected Bibliography.
Author quotes and endorses a definition of liturgy which stresses that "liturgy is a standard and not a contrived ritual. We do not make it up as we go along. It is not a celebration of the individual but for the whole Christian community. Good liturgy is ritualistic. The ritual activity is formal, uses sacred symbols, and is traditional. It carries over time and is similar from place to place. Liturgy is a celebration of the community and is not based on one individual's personal philosophy". "Music is key in a worship service. ... Yet it is around the area of music that unfortunately most expressions of dissatisfaction occur. Certainly within our setting, the common source of discontent among church music lies in the generational gap". "It may be that we have already paid the price. The steady decline in worship attendance is no fiction. It may be in chasing the latest fad, we have contributed to that decline. It is our role as stewards to craft a liturgically sound worship service. Do that and the people will come to worship. The evidence, if we look for it, exists and astonishingly the generational divide disappears".
The author was "Lutheran Chaplain to the University of Western Ontario and Associate Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, London, Ontario when she wrote this article".
"I shall focus on two issues which I believe to be particularly important. They both have to do with models of liturgical leadership: one with regard to music and its relation to local culture, and the other with issues related to liturgical presidency. Both of these, I believe, bring into clear relief the potential impact of the shift from a clerical to a baptismal ecclesiology (p. 133)". To implement these changes the author states "would require two very important changes in the life of the Church (p. 146)." The first of these is adequate liturgical catechesis, defined as programs "to enable people to participate in the signs of faith and to come to perceive the riches which lie beneath the surface of a rite (p. 130)". The second change would involve "a transformation in our understanding of what education of future priests for liturgical ministry must involve .... What is required is that liturgical leadership, whether lay or ordained, lead to an understanding of the spirit of the liturgy: what is it that the liturgy is doing, expressing, signifying in the life of the Church (p. 146) ?"
Author describes the effect of introducing carpeting into the sanctuary in a church and how that "change in acoustics did not only affect choral singing, but indeed all music that is part of the worship service -- and in particular congregational singing" (p. 13). Speaking of "good acoustics" the author says "the Protestant church is functionally an `auditorium' -- a room where one hears -- but also a room where everyone is involved in performing music, where all present corporately make a joyful noise unto the Lord in song. The acoustics of the church building must, therefore, aid the sound to carry throughout the building" (p. 13).
The author is co-organist at Grace Lutheran Church in Camrose, Alberta. This article was first published in 1995 in `Reformation and Revival Journal', 630 Paxton Pl., Carol Stream, IL 60188.
"During our pastoral ministries we came to see the value of careful worship planning, but found that few tools and guidelines were available for our work. Many were written about the theology of worship, the styles of worship, and the issues of music. Few were providing the practical nuts-and-bolts materials that worship planners need weekly. We had to develop as we went along, and providentially, our ministries spanned enough years that we could field-test them, revise them, and try again. We have not addressed issues of style. But you will find insights, guidelines, and tools that will aid worship planners regardless of what styles they choose. We aim also to provide materials that can be used in either a free or a liturgical tradition". -- Preface, p. xiv.
Contents: Series [Editor's] Foreword / John D. Witvliet -- Foreword / Robert Webber -- Preface -- The Case for Collaboration -- Structuring the Planning Process -- Writing a Congregational Worship Statement -- Weekly Worship Planning -- Worship Evaluation -- Appendix A: Resources for Group Study -- Appendix B: When You Worship With Us.
Norma deWaal is a director of music and Howard Vanderwell an ordained pastor in the Christian Reform Church.
Includes bibliographical references and bibliography, p. 133-143.
"In retreats and seminars devoted to Christian liturgy and life, I often focus on three 'heresies': when worship is done TO the congregation, when worship is done FOR the congregation, and when there is little or very casual preparation of the assembly and the leadership for faithful participation. .... This down-to-earth book sketches and opens for us a process that addresses these issues. The key is found in the quality of partnership in the leadership team -- but especially in the relationships between planning, ordering the service of worship, and the qualities of leading and of pastorally informed reflection on the community's worship experience over time. .... At the heart of these pages is a hope (and a blueprint) for a new kind of conversation in planning and assessing Christian worship. Along the way this model, known here under the acronym POWR [Planning, Ordering, Worship, Reflection] recaptures something of the ancient practice of mystogogy -- an intensified affective attention to what has actually been experienced in common worship." -- Foreword.
Contents: Foreword / Don E. Saliers -- Preface -- Acknowledgements -- Worship and the People: Gathered in God's Presence -- Formed by the Practice: Introducing the Planning Model -- The Planning Team: Inviting the Conversation Partners -- Planning: A Conversation with the Biblical Texts -- Ordering: Decisions and Details -- Equipping Volunteer Leaders: The People in Ministry -- Worship: The Work of All the People -- Reflecting: A Conversation after Worship -- Musicians: Leading the People in Song -- The Pastor: Initiating the Conversation -- Epilogue -- Appendix A: Worship Survey -- Appendix B: Leader's Guide for Planning -- Appendix C: Leader's Guide for Ordering -- Appendix D: Sample Customaries for Worship Leaders -- Appendix E: Leader's Guide for Reflecting -- Notes -- Bibliography: Resources for Planning and Leading Worship.
Author is "an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church". -- back cover.