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For over 35 years, the Calvin Symposium on Worship has annually gathered together worshipers from many Christian traditions across Canada, the US, and beyond, bringing together people from a variety of roles in worship and leadership, including pastors, worship planners and leaders, musicians, scholars, students, worship bands and teams, organists, visual artists, preachers, chaplains, missionaries, liturgists, council and session leaders, and more. Cosponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary, the Symposium aims to encourage leaders in churches and worshiping communities of all sizes and settings.

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A View from Latin America: An Interview with Gerardo Oberman

Jorge Lockward, United Methodist Church
Gerardo Oberman, Reformed Churches in Argentina

This multilingual interview with Gerardo Oberman is hosted by Jorge Lockward and discusses Oberman's experiences in Latin America revolving around Christian worship.

Abundant Life Around the Table

Dorothy Bass, Valparaiso University
Susan Briehl, Valparaiso University

We will be discussing way of life that is a gift to us from Jesus Christ, a way of life and life abundant, which is God's love for us, made known in Jesus, and lived out in our lives and communities. Today we will be looking at the way we break bread together, the way we share food, gathering around any number and type of tables every day. It is our deep belief that when we gather around word and sacraments on the Lord's day, to hear that Word that cleanses and renews and guides us and to receive that presence of Jesus Christ in that bread and wine, we are being shaped for a way of life to serve God.

Advanced Vocals and Vocal Arranging

Vikki Cook, Metro Life Church

"Consider an excellent football team and you realize several things: first, they study the same plays, stretch and work out together, do pregame warmups together, and are basically on the same page. They also care a great deal about the outcome of the game, it's personal. Put all that together and you have a team. Study, stretch, work out, warmup, care. A perfect formula for singers." All those things combined together make for a great team who are working together, not just individual vocalists coming together to sing together on the same team or same stage, but you're coming together as a team, putting egos aside, putting pride aside, and allowing each other's gifts to blend with yours so you are no longer just an individual singer.

America's Emerging Religious Landscape: An Interview with Richard N. Ostling

Nathan Bierma, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Richard N. Ostling

An interview of Richard Ostling, a freelance journalist who spent eight years as a religion writer wtih the Associated Press. He was the religion writer and a traveling correspondent with Time magazine for twenty-nine years. Ostling also broadcasted religion reports for CBS Radio and PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Liturgical Dance

Shelley Marinus, Pine Rest Christian Hospital

A note taking document for liturgical dance - exploring its purpose (worship, prayer, communion with believers, expressing the story of scripture) and basic elements (music, clothing, props, imagery), as well as scripture references.

An Invitation to "The Liturgy of the Hours"

Pat Zandstra, Calvin Theological Seminary

The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as Fixed Hours of Prayer, Divine Hours, Daily Offices, or Common Prayer teaches us to pray, immerses us in Scripture, unites us with all believers who have gone before us and believers around the world, makes us aware of the passing of time in the liturgical year, provides words for us in tough times, and regularly draws our attention back to God throughout the day.

Beauty Will Save the World: Jonathan Edwards and Abraham Kuyper on Glory and Beauty

John Bolt, Calvin Theological Seminary

This workshop focuses on worship and social transformation in Jonathan Edwards and Abraham Kuyper. There is a shift taking place in the Christian Reformed Church in the last 75 years, a shift towards this world. The CRC has shifted from being afraid of worldliness to a kind of nervousness about being otherworldly. It is possible to phrase these in the opposite way, where our devotion of Christ has us hate the devil and his works to shifting towards our appreciation towards God as a creator, and we are upset about all forms of greed, exploitation, and abuse.

Beyond Bullet Points: Creative Uses of Visual Technology for Preaching

Mary Hulst, Calvin Theological Seminary

The central question is "does it serve the Gospel?" The temptation to add cute or cool videos or anecdotes should be reflected upon and these should only be added if they serve the Gospel. Preaching is incarnational - we are listening to human beings out of a human experience. Visual aids cannot be used to make up for a weak sermon. The emphasis should always be on the sermon, not on the visual aids.

Blended Worship: Good for the Body

Ron Man, Greater Europe Mission

A fantasy paraphrased, with apologies to Acts chapter 2: "So then those who received his word were baptized and there were added that day about three thousand souls and they were continually devoting themselves to one of the four electives offered: the apostles' teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, or prayer. And half of those who believed were together gathering in the temple court at the hour of prayer for traditional worship. And the believers rejoiced in the way things had always been done and the general sobriety of the proceedings. And the other half of those who believed were breaking bread from house to house, engaging in new, exciting, and culturally relevant forms of worship with an upbeat heart. And they all praised God in the form most comfortable to them, and they had favor with some of the people. But others wondered what they truly had in common, since they were divided in what should have been their central unifying activity."

Children and Youth Learn and Practice "Vertical Habits"

Betty Grit, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Young Kim
Tara Macias
Ellen VanSchoiack
Sharon Veltema

A newer church took the concept of teaching our children words that are important to build and maintain relationships with others–like words of thanks and apology–to develop the concept of liturgical words which we use in our relationship with God or during worship. They coined the term "vertical habits" to describe this practice and it as a very effective framework of which to build these terms of growing in our relationship to God and worship. This panel hosted by Betty Grit discusses these "vertical habits." This concept is also being workshopped and implemented in more established churches where most people have grown in the church their entire lives.

Choreography for Worship

Shelley Marinus, Pine Rest Christian Hospital

A handout for note taking during the workshop to review the purpose of the dance as part of worship and review the basic elements needed for dance in worship, and choreography planning considerations.

Christ's Priesthood and Our Praises

Gerrit Scott Dawson, First Presbyterian Church

As the eternal Son of God, our Lord has from before time been offering himself to his Father in perfect love. We might say he has ever been completely obedient, though the human implication of a hierarchy involved in obedience obscures the reality. The three co-equal persons of the Trinity give themselves to each other so absolutely that the most abject human obedience to another is pitifully shallow in comparison to the depths of such offering of one divine person to the other, and yet all of this is done not in servility but in total freedom. The very nature of the relationship between the eternal Son and the Father involves everlasting offering of one to the other.

Concert by Duo Majoya

Marnie Giesbrecht, University of Alberta
Joachim Segger, King's University College

The unlikely marriage of organ and piano, reasons for including this combination in worship: a piano and an organ are found in many or most sanctuaries today, instruments work well together in most situations, when played together either instrument can lead, the piano is a wonderful "stop" or color addition to the organ and vice versa, there is a growing repertoire for piano and organ, it creates great variety of tone colors which helps to draw attention to the words, it can enhance the variety of musical styles of congregational song, it is not difficult to learn this combination provided both organist and pianist are flexible, and it expands and enhances the role of the organ in worship.

Creating a Child-friendly Culture in Your Church

Robert Keeley, Calvin College

We need to walk with and sing to our children. We want to create a culture in our church so that children's faith is nurtured, so that they feel like they have a place, and so that their faith can grow. We want church to be not just our place that they visit, but their place too. By walking with them and singing to them, we can accomplish that.

Experiencing God in Worship

Bob Rognlien, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepard

"Western Christianity went to sleep in a modern world governed by the gods of reason and observation. It is awakening in a post-modern world open to revelation and hungry for experience.... It is one thing to talk about God. It is quite another thing to experience God." - Leonard Sweet, Post-Modern Pilgrims

"Among adults who regularly attend church services, one half admit that they haven't experienced God's presence in the past year." - George Barna

The more complete the experience of God, the greater the response to God! To read the introduction of Experiential Worship and sign up for the free EW Ideas Newsletter, visit!

Finding Stories for Sunday's Sermon

Mike Graves, Saint Paul School of Theology

A talk on finding stories for Sunday's Sermon, including the mp3 file and a note taking template. Adapted from Mike Graves, The Fully Alive Preacher: Recovering from Homiletical Burnout (Lousville: Westminister John Knox, 2006).

Finding Themselves at the Table: Youth Practicing Eucharistic Living in the World

Fred P. Edie, Duke Divinity School

The goal of this session is to address the theme of youth living Eucharistically. I see my task as creating "formationally rich environments." In an ecosystem, all the constituent members of an ecosystem contribute to the richness and vitality of the whole. Imagine a woodland ecosystem with trees, soil, organisms within the soil, certain animals dependent on the cover of the trees, birds, the whole thing works together. All of the pieces fit into the whole. In addition, the constituent members of the ecosystem are interdependent - for everything to flourish, everything is connected. When a member is lost, the whole ecosystem is diminished. The opposite is also true - environments of formation can enhance spiritual formation in youth.

God's Providence and the Problem of Evil: A Challenge to Faith

John Cooper, Calvin Theological Seminary
Scott E. Hoezee, Calvin Theological Seminary

An outline from a workshop focusing on the problem of suffering and evil, responses, sin and evil in Scripture, the limits of our understanding, and nurturing an enduring faith.

How Race Works in Multiracial Churches

Gerardo Marti, Davidson College

Race and Church 101: 94% of religious congregations are one race or ethnicity. Protestant churches are 95 or 96%, and as a church becomes more conservative the number appears to go up. Homogeneity is the standard, and this is part of why I want to be very cautious about those who say you must be diverse in order to be Biblical. If that is true, then 95% of our churches are not Biblical. Social science uses a marker of 20% of the congregation being different from the majority group. This is based on a social-psychological schema that if you have at least 20%, every person will have regular contact with someone who is of a different race or ethnicity.

Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching

W. Hulitt Gloer, Baylor University
Cornelius J. Plantinga Jr., Calvin Theological Seminary

If we do not tend the springs that nourish our lives and give light to our preaching, we soon lose our ability to see the things of God. The good news is obscured by the bad news that surrounds us every day, twenty four hours a day. Any moment of any day you can be confronted by the bad news of this world in which we now live. The bright colors of God's glorious creation fade to a pale shade of grey. The mystery and wonder of God's creative and redemptive purpose vanish behind the ruins and the clutter of this present darkness. We have eyes but we do not see. Imagination can be thought of as the image of God in us. We can no longer see the sacred subtext of life, we may lose the words to preach and even the words to pray.

Imagine... What Has Christ Done for Us?

Paul Ryan

How to plan with images in mind.

One way of planning the service of confession and assurance is to keep in mind an image of the atonement. These can be a catalyst for our words of confession and offer a means by which we might experience the assurance of salvation.

In Spirit and In Truth: The Role of Worship in Christian Higher Education

Tim McCarthy, Trinity Western University

The role of worship in Christian Higher Education is a unifying practice for missional endeavor, a well of missional conviction, a garden of missional practices, a fountain of missional response, and to discuss threats and areas of further development.

Intergenerational Worship: Is It Reasonable? Is It Possible?

Norma Malefyt
Stanley Mast
Howard Vanderwell, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

To end the last ten plus years, there has been an accumulated level of interest in the whole possibility and difficulty of intergenerational worship. It is necessary, it is healthy, and we understand how complex and how difficult it is. There are other answers to this question that would have been easier to implement than say "keep the generations together." In the last ten to fifteen years, a flood of books, journals, articles, and materials have ben written on this subject.

Interview with Dallas Willard

Cornelius J. Plantinga Jr., Calvin Theological Seminary
Dallas Willard, University of Southern California

This interview of Dr. Dallas Willard is conducted by Neal Plantinga. Dr. Willard is an American philosophy professor and author of many books, especially in the area of Christian spiritual formation. His Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (NavPress, 2002), won Christianity Today's 2003 Book Award for books on spirituality. His latest book is The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship (Harper, 2006).

Jazz Vespers - 2008 Calvin Symposium on Worship

Edward Doemland
Rae E. Whitney
Laura Schipper
Susanna Dennis Bratton
Sarah Looman
Joel Schekman
Martha Bowman
Chris Laurence
Erich Peterson
Peter Braswell
Fred Knapp

Music in this service was written, and is being offered, by persons experienced in blues and jazz. However, we ask you not to try to define what particular piece of music is jazz and what is not jazz in this service. Our only goal is hold a fitting Vespers to end the afternoon.

We are not trying to prove any point of view. We are not saying that music from the history of the Church is no longer valid for today's worshippers. Nor are we trying to show that music derived from jazz should be recommended for present-day worship. Indeed we are not even promoting the idea that this kind of music will attract new worshippers.

But since all of us have various skills we can offer to God, our Vespers Service today has been designed to allow musicians who play jazz to share their own gifts, and in so doing, involve the worshippers in a special worship experience.

Leading Congregational Singing from the Piano

John Ferguson, Calvin Institute for Christian Worship
Cynthia Uitermarkt, Moody Bible Institute

A note taking outline for the session offered the 24th to the 26th, including discussion of the leadership role of the keyboard player, musical role of the keyboard player, and ways to prepare oneself each week.

Making Stuff Up: Magically Making Music in the Moment!

Tom Trenney, First Presbyterian Church

In many churches, the only time congregations clearly hear the organ as a solo instrument is during hymn introductions. Frequently, there is talking and movement during the prelude. Often, there is mass chaos during the postlude. Use this opportunity to showcase the many colours of your instrument and to set the tone for the music to follow. Introductions must clearly present the key, the tempo, and the character of the hymn to come. Otherwise, be creative!

One Hundred Years of Gospel in One Hour

James Abbington, Candler School of Theology

The second plenary address given on the first day of the conference.

What today's gospel music is, and what it is becoming, is part of the continuing evolution of African American music. Robert Darden calls it "religion with rhythm." I will attempt to illustrate the evolution of a musical style that only occasionally slows its evolution enough to be classified before it evolves once again. In historical terms, Black gospel music originated in the slave songs, field hollers, and Negro spirituals in the early 19th century that sustained the slaves and perpetuated an African American culture. At the end of the 19th century, this music had incorporated Protestant hymns, sung on Southern plantations, and later at camp meetings and churches. By the 20th century, gospel music had become and is becoming the most dominant music. The singing and instrumental styles across the American popular culture are all represented.

Overcoming Challenges to Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Gerardo Marti, Davidson College

The musical casserole theory says that music matters for diversity because different types of music resonates with different ethnic and racial groups. In order to diversify a congregation, the music of the congregation must include music of various races or ethnicities, particularly in worship. Music is said to touch the heart and is a way of speaking their heart language. The congregation as a whole is encouraged to learn songs that may be unfamiliar to them. The choice of songs matters, but the style matters more.

Planning Worship for the Global Village

Jorge Lockward, United Methodist Church

The goal is to enter into conversation and give very practical ideas about planning worship for a multicultural–if not setting, at least intention. "What church?" is the question. One of the worst expressions is "the great hymns of the church" - what church? What century? East, West? What culture? What makes them great? All of these questions are assumed in the statement.

Practicing Abundant Life Around the Table

Dorothy Bass, Valparaiso University

The Lord's Supper involves sharing real food that comes from Jesus Christ and that knits us together into his body and helps us to share in his life. John Calvin called this food nourishment for the journey of discipleship. In this hour, we will consider the relationship between this table and the other tables in our lives, all the ways we share food together as Christian people. In a sense, the pinnacle of Christian Worship is the sharing Lord's Supper and the proclamation of the Word. We also want to see how this meal can be a central point of the Christian life.

Praying with the Early Church: Crucial Lessons about Intercessory Prayer

John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

When my students and I approach the ancient church, we are on a quest for liturgical wisdom. We depend upon the most rigorous critical studies of the period, drawing on work in intellectual history, social history, and textual criticism, but we are not interested not primarily in developing more of this very important work. Rather, as practical theologians, we are ultimately interested in discovering wisdom to ground and inspire faithful liturgical practice today. Quite unapologetically, we are eager not merely to study this history, but to use it–for the study of materials from times long ago and places far away remains a potent antidote to the cultural captivity of Christianity in this or any other culture.

Preaching Christ from the Gospels

Anthony Carter, Southwest Christian Fellowship

This afternoon we're going to talk briefly about preaching Christ from the Gospels. When we refer to the Gospels, we are referring to the Gospel according to Luke, the Gospel according to Matthew, the Gospel according to Mark, and the Gospel according to John. The idea for this workshop is to understand how we might effectively and faithfully proclaim Christ in our sermons from this genre of literature. It may seem that from all the genres we could choose the Gospels would be the most obvious choice and therefore the easiest, but often we take easy things for granted and then neglect them.

Preaching without Notes

Mike Graves, Saint Paul School of Theology

A note taking document on the brief discussion of the scary side of preaching, how to preach without notes, internalizing the gospel, and personal journey.

Program - Calvin Symposium on Worship: Word, Music, Vision, Action

We hope that this symposium will be spiritually refreshing for all of you. One of the main goals of the Worship Symposium is to be encouraged together by what God is doing in congregations across North America and beyond, and to learn to ask helpful questions about our own worship practices that focus our attention on the deep meaning and purpose of worship. We expect that we will also learn something more about how to preach, pray, and sing with greater understanding for those in our own communities and around the world who suffer for the cause of Christ.

Public Biblical Praying

Lester Ruth, Asbury Theological Seminary

The Berekah, or blessing, occurs several times throughout the Bible. Genesis 24:26-27: Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master." Exodus 18:10-11: "Blessed be the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharoah, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians." There are further examples and discussion included in the handout.

Reclaiming Funerals as Christian Worship

John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship


To encourage each of you to set up a council discussion, adult education sessions about this topic (note: to change, even if to deepen, our practices in the context of the volatile emotions surrounding death is not likely, and may be very counter-productive),

To encourage each of you to select the very best books for your persona and church libraries (one of the best ways to deepen practice is to make the best resources the most available),

To plant the seeds of some constructive questions that can ferment a bit in each of our lives over the next several motnhs.

To gently encourage our reclamation of a) funeral in church, b) use of baptismal palls—or other symbolic acts of baptismal identity, including Rom 6:3-5, c) funeral Lord's Supper, d) public committal services, e) retitling funerals as "A Service of Witness to the Resurrection."

Redeeming the Time: Homiletic Theology for a Pilgrim People

Michael Pasquarello II, Asbury Theological Seminary

The idea for Redeeming the Time has emerged during more than twenty five years of leading worship according to the rhythms of the Christian Year and preaching from its common lectionary. In following these "traditioned" practices, I have often thought there is need for a fresh understanding of the Christian Year that will demonstrate the theological and pastoral wisdom of ordering a congregation's ministry of the Word and its life by means of the narrative of salvation proclaimed in the liturgical reading and preaching of Scripture.

Seeing What is Really There: Preaching and the Imagination

W. Hulitt Gloer, Baylor University

I want to open with a passage from Peculiar Treasures by Frederick Buechner. He takes Biblical characters and writes little vignettes in there. A lot of good preaching can come out of what he says. This is Buechner's take on the famous story in Numbers 22, about Balum's ass. "The legend of Solomon's ring, the adventures of Dr. Doolittle, the attempt to decipher the dots and dashes of dolphins, and to teach chimpanzees to type out their thoughts on computers. All of these reflect humanity's ancient dream of being able to talk with the animals. As fascinating as a message from outer space would be a message from the inner space of a great blue heron, or a common house cat sunning herself on the kitchen linoleum. Their mute gaze suggests a vision of reality beyond our imagining. What do they see in their ignorance that we in our wisdom are blind to? ... "

Seeing Your Congregation with Expert Eyes: Culture, Race, Ethnicity, a panel

Janel Curry, Calvin College
Kathi Groenendyk
Gail Heffner
Denise Isom
Mark Mulder

We are so excited for this opportunity to share with you. We are five of the researchers connected to a larger set of projects all centered around the question of worship and transformation: how does the worship experience connect to the lives we lead outside of the church, how we see the community that surrounds the church, the neighborhood and our connections to it, how we live our lives in those environs, how we think beyond that, even, to the ways in which our faith speaks to nature.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Principles for Renewing Language in Worship

Debra Rienstra, Calvin College
Ron Rienstra, Fuller Theological Seminary

There is a human need for chronological connectivity - being connected to the past and the future, seeing our own stories as part of a larger story. This is especially important to us as Christians. How do our individual Christian lives fit into the larger story of redemption, of the Church?

Spiritual Formation in Worship-Centered Congregations

Jane Rogers Vann

When I talk about spiritual formation, what I have in mind is "being formed in the likeness of Christ." Now, people in every historical period and location have their own understanding of what "the likeness of Christ" might include. So we want to look at these images or assumptions and the ways they went about spiritual formation.

Talking About Worship: How to Start and Sustain Faithful Conversations

Jane Rogers Vann, Union Theological Seminary

I looked for healthy congregations with stable leadership and who had ongoing conversations about worship. I did a similar research project about eight years ago, and it was very hard to find congregations that embodied the kind of congregational life I was trying to describe. When I started this project, it was easy. However, even with the careful selection process, when I asked the congregations about how they talk about worship, they would say that they didn't talk about worship. The next question I asked was why? So, I have reasons to present about why people don't talk about worship.

The Conference Choir

Joel Navarro, Calvin College
Tom Trenney, First Presbyterian Church
Jonathan Velasco, Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music

The Conference Choir were directed by Joel Navarro and Jonathan Velasco, with Tom Trenney at the organ and piano, including sheet music for Kyrie Eleison and O Worship The King (4th verse).

The Crisis of Adult Discipleship

Leonard VanderZee, Faith Alive Christian Resources

To start with the Biblical basis of discipleship. Discipleship was Jesus's method of reaching the world with the good news of the kingdom of God. What's important to understand about that is that, as always, God was reaching out to the world in an incarnational way. Jesus, of course, was the incarnance of God, but how he operated was also incarnational. It had to do with the world in which he lived. In the world of Second Temple Judaism, this relationship of Rabbi and disciple was the ordinary way in which deep religious teaching was done. There were a number of Rabbis with differing points of view on the Scripture, and they gathered disciples around them.

The Cultural Context of American Worship

Mark Roeda, Campus Chapel

This workshop discusses some fairly broad history, as well as inventions and innovations that are very important as we look across the grand pattern of Biblical people and the human race. Twenty-first century Americans tend to be caught up in the moment and look to the future–it is very easy to ignore the past. In pondering culture's impact upon worship–which today is undergoing the most sweeping change, the biggest burst of creativity, the biggest confusion and disruption that we have ever seen in North America–it is important to look back and remember where we came from.

The Holy Spirit and Worship

Mariano Avila, Calvin Theological Seminary

The Book of Ephesians, Acts, and Luke have the Holy Spirit in the most prominent role in the New Testament. Aside from the Psalms, there is no writing in the New Testament that has the theme of worship as prominent as Ephesians. Putting the themes of the Holy Spirit and worship together allow us to understand these two realities and how they interact together.

The Most Used Contemporary Worship Songs: Their View of God and our Love of God

Lester Ruth, Asbury Theological Seminary

We're going to be taking a close look at the lyrics of the most used contemporary worship songs. Some of the songs on the list are very old songs.

The Priest of our Worship, The Priests of Creation

Gerrit Scott Dawson, First Presbyterian Church

Christ now bears the office of priest, not only that by the eternal law of reconciliation he may render the Father favourable and propitious to us, but also admit us into this most honourable alliance. For we though in ourselves polluted, in him being priests (Rev. 1:6), offer ourselves and our all to God, and freely enter the heavenly sanctuary, so that the sacrifices of prayer and praise which we present are grateful and of sweet odour before him. To this effect are the words of Christ, "For their sakes I sanctify myself" (John 17:19), for being clothed with his holiness, inasmuch as he has devoted us to the Father with himself. (otherwise we were an abomination before him), we please him as if we were pure and clean, nay, even sacred. (Calvin, Institutes, 2. 15. 6)

The Renovation of the Heart: Spirituality

Roze Bruins
Sharon Bytwerk
Peter Jonker
Cornelius J. Plantinga Jr., Calvin Theological Seminary
Dallas Willard
Pat Zandstra, Calvin Theological Seminary

We're responding, from a Christian point of view, to the great hunger for spirituality that characterizes our time. I'm not going to talk much about the book, but it was primarily written for a huge need that emerged some time ago, that expressed itself in the church and our culture at large. The spiritual hunger for something more absorbing, strengthening, and directive for how life is supposed to be lived is what is focused on. Of course, this spirituality is entirely flat in terms of diversity, it is a nondescript spirituality.

Thematic Worship: A Rich Feast for the People of God

Ron Man, Greater Europe Mission

The scriptural foundation for doing thematic worship is where it says "Praise Him according to His excellent greatness." He's a great God, and thematic worship is one way to focus in on aspects of His greatness and praise Him accordingly. A definition we might give to thematic worship is "a service where a single aspect of God's nature is focused on and celebrated, with the elements of the worship chosen to support and develop that theme."

Thriving as a Keyboard Player in the Diverse World of Church Music

Cynthia Uitermarkt, Moody Bible Institute

In today's church climate, the pianist or organist will need to be fluent in multiple styles: traditional, contemporary, and ethnic. For the classically trained performer, this can mean stretching well beyond the comfort zone. In this session, we will explore philosophical, spiritual, and practical strategies for surviving and thriving.

Understanding the Battle Between the Flesh and the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18)–and the Way Out

Dallas Willard, University of Southern California

I find that misunderstandings of this prove to be a great hindrance in the spiritual life. Many people take the words that are in Galatians 5, Romans 7, and Ephesians 4 to indicate the impossibility of not sinning. The idea is that the flesh generates a kind of bondage, and so we have a culture which is set up for the recurring disastrous failures that affect individual lives. The greatest problem is the perpetual defeat that many ordinary Christians suffer from. One of the terrible effects of this is that it eliminates transparency, one of the most important things for us to achieve in stabilizing our walk with the Lord and with others.

War and Religion in America: Worship Wars

James Bratt, Calvin College
Lester Ruth, Asbury Theological Seminary

We will be looking at a historical case of worship wars, specifically in the 1830s and 1840s, and the session will close with some current applications onto the present day scene. During this time period, the church and the nation are in a sorry way. Thousands and thousands of people are going into eternity unsaved. The morals of society are degenerating day by day, week by week. Sin and unrighteousness are ruling in high places. And the church stays in the same old ways, singing the same old songs, parsing the tithe and practicing traditional theology.

We Speak Because We Have Been Spoken: A "Grammar" of the Preaching Life

Michael Pasquarello II, Asbury Theological Seminary
Scott E. Hoezee, Calvin Theological Seminary

Writing in the first handbook for preachers, St. Augustine concludes there is nothing more important for a preacher than becoming "a living sermon," a person whose life and speech embodies God's self - communicative goodness and love. Yet only the inexhaustibly generous self - giving of the Triune God, the Word spoken by the Father and the Son in the Spirit, is capable of transforming our human capacities for homiletic excellence that is evinced by keen intellect, deep piety, and virtuous action within the living communion of the Church.

what hath silicon valley to do with jerusalem? technological innovation and ancient practice in worship

Mark Roeda, Campus Chapel

Worship is something we do, not observe. Because technology supplies us with the capacity to program and record content which it will then present on demand, utilizing technology in worship can remove the sense of immediacy (in terms of both time and space) of worship, the sense that this is something we are doing now, together. In short, it risks reducing us to passive observers of the acts of worship.

When the Fires Die: Religious Critiques of Revivalism in the Aftermath of the Second Great Awakening

John D. Bratt, Calvin College
Lester Ruth, Asbury Theological Seminary

A document accompanying a talk on the aftereffects of the Second Great Awakening, including types of critics, common charges, common complaints, and proposed solutions.

Where Can I Find That Song? Researching Hymns Online–Greg Scheer

Greg Scheer, Church of the Servant

There are a few databases that will allow anyone to find sources of particular songs or hymns. The most established (still within the last few years) are geared toward historical hymns, but more recent databases are becoming more comprehensive and global in scope, even to providing sources of different versions/keys, ability to print a song, ideas for performance, etc. Come to learn about the current state of research.

The Hymnary is an online hymn and hymnal database that is collaboration between The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW). The project actually began as a brainstorm to create an online space for those who work in global hymnody. As the idea moved forward, we realized that expanding the focus from just global worship music to all types of congregational song would allow us to serve more people with the same database and increase the critical mass of users needed to make the project successful.

Where the Love of God Goes: Dealing with Disasters

Kathy Smith, Calvin Theological Seminary

As it said in this description, it seems that almost every time we turn on the news there is another disaster wreaking havoc in people's lives. And yet in spite of that, we still see Jesus in our world. Because of all the disasters in the world, and because these disasters often hit close to home, often they are hardest on people of faith who struggle with questions. We will reflect on how disasters affect congregations, and how to prepare for these times of disaster.

Who may and may not participate in the worship life of the church?

Mark Stephenson, Christian Reformed Church

A discussion and reflection on disability in the church, presented by Reverend Mark Stephenson, Director of Disability Concerns, CRCNA.

"Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others." (Article 1: Purpose, "Final report of the Ad Hoc Committee on a comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities," United Nations General Assembly, A/61/611, 6 December 2006)

"Whose Art? Which Church?"

Lisa De Boer, Westmont College

The Stations of Christ's Life generated a series of fourteen images representing moments in Christ's life. Our aim was to produce images that invite more intentional practices of visual piety that are congenial to Protestant sensibilities, yet are rooted in a pan-Christian devotion to the imitation of Christ. The narratives were chosen to represent the full scope of Christ's ministry on earth and to resonate with the experiences of young people in transition to full adulthood.

With Every Good Thing: Calvin Symposium on Worship 2008 Worship Booklet

As we gather for the 2008 Calvin Symposium on Worship, we turn to the Book of Hebrews as a focal point for the worship services at this year's conference. For many in the church, Hebrews is a strange and daunting book. No one knows who wrote it or to whom it was addressed. Many people find the theology and imagery of the book to be complex and at time a little quirky. In more recent times many scholars have concluded that Hebrews is not actually a letter at all but rather an extended sermon.

Worship 101: The Building Blocks of a Biblical Approach to Worship

John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

George Barna: "Most of the church people who fight about their musical preference do so because they don't understand the relationship between music, communication, God and worship. Church leaders foster the problem by focusing on how to please people with music or how to offer enough styles of music to meet everyone's tastes rather dealing with the underlying issues of limited interest in, comprehension of, and investment in fervent worship of a holy, deserving God." ... The Barna study discovered that among the key worship issues is that church-going adults and Protestant Senior Pastors do not share a common perception of the most important outcome of worship. Congregants were most likely to understand worship as activity undertaken for their personal benefit (47%) while Senior Pastors described the purpose of worship as connecting with God (41%) or experiencing His presence (30%). Only three out of ten church-going adults (29%) indicated that they view worship as something that is focused primarily on God. One out of every five attenders admitted that they had no idea what the most important outcome of worship is.

Worship as the Fine Texture of Real Life

Dallas Willard, University of Southern California

One of the two plenary addresses given during the opening of the 2008 Calvin Symposium on Worship. This one was given by Dallas Willard in the College Chapel.

Youth, Formation, and Intergenerational Worship Seminar

Fred P. Edie, Duke Divinity School
Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
Kathy Smith, Calvin Theological Seminary
Jane Rogers Vann, Union Theological Seminary
Anne E. Streaty Wimberly, Interdenominational and Theological Center

The topic generates a lot of passions-among youth, among their parents, among everyone in churches who loves and ministers to youth. This session-which is built largely around panel presentations and group discussions-will work on refining a list of the most strategic questions each local congregation should be asking and a list of the "10 Most Helpful Proverbs" to guide local communities in approaching this topic with insight. This session is especially for those involved in youth ministry and worship, including pastors, youth pastors, high school teachers, and worship team leaders and participants. Youth pastors and high school chapel leaders are encouraged to come with two or three young people form their churches or schools, so that the dialogue includes them as well.