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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Schedule

A New Song. A Skillful Song

Bruce Benedict, Cardiphonia
Ruth Duck
Greg Scheer, Church of the Servant

Those of us who feel Psalm 33's call to write new songs must remember that the Psalm also tells us to play skillfully. In this seminar we will focus on the skills of songwriting for congregations, digging into what it means to balance inspiration and perspiration. Join Ruth Duck, Bruce Benedict and Greg Scheer, three songwriters who also spend much of their time editing the works of others as they discuss their approaches to creating new texts, new tunes, and combining texts and tunes. Participants will be invited (not required) in early January to send two of their own congregational texts, tunes, or complete songs ahead of time for discussion at the seminar. Participants of all levels and all musical styles are welcome.

Alentando la participación congregacional en el culto en las Iglesias hispanas

Maria Eugenia Cornou, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

La participación activa de la congregación en los cultos es clave en la experiencia espiritual de cada creyente y para la vitalidad de las comunidades cristiana. Este taller está diseñado para explorar el significado bíblico de “participación”, diferentes niveles y formas de “participación”, y para compartir ideas prácticas que incentiven la participación activa de la congregación en el culto en el contexto de las iglesias hispanas.

Active congregational participation in worship is of key importance in believers’ spiritual experience and for the vitality of Christian communities. This workshop is design to explore the biblical meaning of “participation,” different levels and ways of “participation,” and practical ideas to encourage more active congregational “participation” in worship in the context of Hispanic congregations.

Art in the Service of the Liturgy

Ellen Phillips

This workshop will present the history, theory, theology, propriety, and need for art in worship allowing plenty of time for those who attend to ask questions, discuss the ideas and present their own thoughts on liturgical art.

Biblical Principles of Worship

Ron Man, Worship Resources International

How do we balance the need for biblical fidelity with the need for cultural sensitivity and relevance in our worship? This seminar will consider some of the unchanging, transcultural, non-negotiable biblical foundations for our worship, which also allow for a tremendous amount of freedom and creativity as we put these principles into practice.

Can the Organ Sound Like a Conga? Leading Cross Cultural Song from the Organ

John Ferguson, St. Olaf College

The organ can lead and accompany an amazing variety of musical styles. John Ferguson will share techniques for leading many nontraditional styles of congregational song from the organ, using his new resource Many and Great: Introductions and Accompaniments for Global Hymns (Morningstar). If you own this resource, bring it to the workshop!

Complementary Prayers: Prayers to Accompany the Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of the New Hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts

Cornelius Plantinga, Calvin Theological Seminary

Worship leaders live off the work of worship planners and add touches of their own, sometimes celebrating in prayer the power of what the congregation has just sung or, in a prayed line or two, anticipating what the congregation will sing in a moment. This workshop will display and discuss prayers that have been composed to complement psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in Lift Up Your Hearts. The idea is to give planners and leaders prayers they may use verbatim or in part—or take simply as suggestions for composing their own prayers, written or extemporaneous.

Dancing through the Church Year

Susan Wilson, Fifth Reformed Church

This workshop will teach examples of liturgical dance to be used throughout the church year, starting with Worldwide Communion and then moving to Advent/Christmas, Lent/Palm Sunday and Easter, and Pentecost. She will also offer ideas for how dance can be used throughout the worship service--in a call to worship, praise, prayer, offering, communion, response to the message and the benediction.

Deepening a Congregation's Ability to Talk about Worship

Dale Cudjoe, Northern Diocese of the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA
Andy Park, Vineyard Fellowhip
Cindy Rethmeier, Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity
Carrie Steenwyk, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Often conversations about worship in a congregation are stymied by the inability to get beyond individual reaction to last week’s service. What if a congregation could find more profound ways of discussing worship by looking at historic examples? We will explore what we can learn from the challenges and gifts of two churches of the recent past, Christ Temple (Church of Christ [Holiness] USA) in Jim Crow racism-laced Jackson, Mississippi, and the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship in the late 1970s.

El culto como discipulado

Maria Eugenia Cornou, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

El culto es una experiencia comunitaria integral, que de manera explícita o aún inconsciente, contribuye a modelar el carácter y la identidad de cada participante. En este taller vamos a explorar cómo las diferentes prácticas culticas repercuten en la formación de los y las creyentes y vamos a compartir ideas creativas para enriquecer la celebración de cultos que apunten intencionalmente a la trasformación y al discipulado cristiano.

Communal worship is a holistic experience which explicitly or even unconsciously shapes the character and identity of each participant. In this workshop we will explore how different worship practices influence believers’ spiritual formation. We will share creative ideas to enrich worship services intentionally aimed at transforming lives and shaping Christian disciples.

Elements of Visual Arts in Action

Ellen Phillips

During this seminar, participants will be invited to create paperlace cut banners such as those which would be used in the worship space. In the process, we will discuss the elements of design (line, shape, direction, size, color) as well as the wealth of Christian symbols that are available for artists to incorporate. This seminar is suitable for all who are interested. Those who are familiar with art and design will have an opportunity to work on their own with minimal instruction, and those who are new to the process will be given plenty of guidance.

Encouraging Every Voice: Effective Song Leadership in Worship

Alison Adam, Iona Community

For those who strive to get congregations singing new songs and want out to bring the best in them. This workshop is aimed at the song-leader, often more enthusiastic than trained. We will explore how to introduce, teach, and lead new songs in worship and how to develop the singing confidence of a congregation. Alison Adam of the Iona Community has wide experience, helping those leading groups large and small to develop a strong and passionate ministry in congregational song.

Eve’s Two Sons: A Case Study for Biblical Drama in Worship

Jeff Barker, Northwestern College

Barker is collaborating with Thomas Boogaart (Professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary) on a Bible study guide: A New Way to Study the Old Book. The Cain and Abel story is one biblical drama the guide explores; this workshop includes three very different performances of the Genesis text.

Five Stages on the Journey of Disability Attitudes

Dan Quist, Elim Christian Services
Dan Vander Plaats, Elim Christian Services

Fresh and New, Tried and True: A Session on Hymn-based Piano Collections for Worship

Norma de Waal Malefyt, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

This session will explore the best in both newly published music and the golden publications of the recent past for use in preludes, offertories and postludes. Particular attention will be given to music based on songs and hymns in Lift Up Your Hearts.

Growing Congregational Health for Teens to Thrive

Syd Hielema, Redeemer University College
Laura Keeley, Fourteenth Street Christian Reformed Church

A congregation is a lot like a garden: there are areas of health, fruit-bearing, and beauty—along with weeds and other things that constantly threaten that health. As congregational leaders we are called to tend the garden, strengthening its health and working to contain the "weeds" so it can flourish. This seminar will focus on our role as garden-tenders as it concerns teens. What can we do to encourage growth? How might we deal with those particular toxins that teens are vulnerable to and/or those that congregations are vulnerable to concerning teens? How does our congregational approach to worship, community, and education affect our teens? We will provide tools and coaching for each participant in developing an action plan for ministry back home. It would be helpful (though not essential) to attend this seminar with at least one other person from your congregation.

Intergenerational Youth Ministry

Lynn Barger Elliott, Calvin College

It's time to pull the youth ministry out of the basement! This workshop will explore ways in which a congregation can integrate its youth ministry into the rhythm of its congregational life.

Jesus Our Worship Leader

Ron Man, Worship Resources International

God has lavished upon us his grace for salvation, and also for living the Christian life; a wonderful liberating truth for worship leaders is to recognize God's grace for our worship: that God accepts and delights in our worship, not because but because of how well we pull it off, but because it is empowered, perfected and led by the living Lord Jesus in our midst.

Leading Diverse Congregational Song From the Organ

John Ferguson, St. Olaf College

The organ can lead and accompany an amazing variety of musical styles. John Ferguson will share techniques for leading traditional hymns as well as many non-traditional styles of congregational song from the organ. A portion of the seminar will feature his new resource Many and Great: Introductions and Accompaniments for Global Hymns (Morning Star). If you own this resource, bring it with you! This seminar will be held at Calvin Christian Reformed Church (transportation provided).

Leading Effective Praise Team Rehearsals

Paul Ryan, Calvin College

Our best praise team rehearsals prepare our hearts, minds, hands, and voices to lead the community in song. In this workshop, we’ll explore the goals and techniques of effective and life-giving rehearsals by considering personal preparation, repertoire, team dynamics, and the pastoral needs of our teams.

Learning from and Praying for the Worldwide Church

Maria Eugenia Cornou PhD, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Elizabeth Hernandez
Carlos Colón, Baylor University

How can a congregation in one part of the world best pray for our neighbors around the world? How can we shape our congregational prayer in ways that respond to Paul’s admonition to the young pastor Timothy, “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? We will listen and learn, with resources from and for different parts of the Church, including stories from natives of different countries and cultures.

Learning from and Praying for the Worldwide Church

Karen Campbell, Kilbride Presbyterian Church
Judith Mosomos, Methodist School of Theology
Jerry Pillay, St. Andrews' Presbyterian Church
Erik Sarwar, Tehillim School of Church Music and Worship
Anne Zaki, Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary

How can a congregation in one part of the world best pray for our neighbors around the world? How can we shape our congregational prayer in ways that respond to Paul’s admonition to the young pastor Timothy, “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? We will listen and learn, with resources from and for different parts of the Church, including stories from natives of different countries and cultures.

Learning to Lead Worship—Forming Worship Leaders in Congregations and Schools

Constance Cherry, Indiana Wesleyan University
Paul Ryan, Calvin College
John Witvliet, South Bend Christian Reformed Church

Every worship leader—every preacher, musician, artist, media specialist, hospitality provider and more—grows into this role over time. There is so much to learn about worship on so many levels—theologically and pastorally as well as technically. This learning happens in many different settings, through trial and error as well as reading and study, through formal courses as well as informal, off-hand comments in the middle of a service or rehearsal. This seminar will explore the process of teaching and learning worship, and is intentionally designed to both address first-time Symposium attendees as well as veteran teachers of worship. Plan on coming away with practical ideas for worship leading and worship teaching to adapt to a variety of settings, as well as a set of generative questions that may well inspire you to come up with even more effective approaches which we can feature in future conferences.

Listening to Your Listeners: A Preaching Preparation Process that Changes…Everything!

Lori Carrell, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

A vast majority of listeners attending U.S. churches have never talked with a pastor about a sermon. And, unfortunately, those listeners report by the thousands that though they expect spiritual growth as they listen to their preachers, it usually does not occur. Preachers who listen to their listeners as a regular part of sermon preparation can expect to change these patterns, increasing the spiritual impact of preaching for individuals, congregations, communities – and culture. During this workshop, participants will discover how diverse congregations have established and maintained pre-sermon dialogue groups (without adding to the preachers’ limited sermon prep time!).

Loving God Intimately: Worship with the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship, 1977-1983

Andy Park, Vineyard Fellowhip
Cindy Rethmeier, Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity
Carrie Steenwyk, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Have you ever wondered where Contemporary Worship came from? This workshop will explore one source for the changes that have swept around the world since the 1970s: the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship and the ministry of its pastor, John Wimber. The heart of the workshop will be interaction with two key early Vineyard musicians, Cindy Rethmeier and Andy Park. What insights might be gained about the future of “contemporary worship” by looking at its past?

Music Style in a Diverse Church

Tom Jennings, Redeemer Presbyterian Church

We desire for our worship to transcend barriers – age, race, economic background. Unfortunately, musical style is often a divisive element. This workshop will explore how we can move beyond the usual church labels (“contemporary,” “traditional,” blended”) by engaging with broader musical traditions to create worship that is both rich in content and diverse in appeal.

Proclamation in the Psalms for Christian Worship

Cornelius Plantinga, Calvin Theological Seminary

A proclamation is a confident and significant declaration. A proclamation does not say “I wish that God were in charge.” A proclamation says, “The Lord reigns.” A proclamation does not say, “I feel that God wants to take care of me.” A proclamation says “The Lord is my shepherd.” A proclamation is a confident and significant statement of what is true of God and the world, and the Psalms are full of them. This workshop will explore trenchant proclamations in the psalms and suggest uses of these proclamations in Christian worship.

Questions Churches are Asking

Moses Chung, Christian Reformed Church
John Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

One of the joys of serving at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Christian Reformed Church Home Missions is the opportunity to listen to so many different local conversations. This session will offer reflections on topics that are bubbling up in a host of local conversations across North America, along with provisional thoughts about what this means for the future of faithful ministry. Come ready to reflect on your context in light of these broader patterns, and to contribute insights from your own joys and struggles in ministry.

Reading for Preaching: the Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists

Cornelius Plantinga, Calvin Theological Seminary

This workshop is for anyone who is interested both in good reading and in good preaching and, especially, in how the first supports the second. Introducing and drawing upon the presenter's new book on this topic, this session will propose ways that a program of general reading is likely to benefit the preacher. For example, well chosen reading is likely to start the preacher's heart, to tune the preacher's ear, and to make the preacher wise. Wisdom is requisite because folly in the pulpit is homiletical malpractice.

Rhythms of Desire

Jeremy Begbie, Duke Divinity
James K.A. Smith, Calvin College

A seminar with presentations by philosopher Jamie Smith and theologian Jeremy Begbie, exploring the theme of desire in worship, drawing especially on music. It will include a dialogue between Jamie and Jeremy, live performance at the piano, and extended time for discussion with the audience.

Saying Grace: Expanding and Exploring the Family Prayer Time

Lora Copley, Woodlawn Christian Reformed Church
Elizabeth Vander Haagen, Boston Square Christian Reformed Church

This workshop is an introduction to Come to Me: A Family Prayer Book. In this time we will talk about and practice prayer as family-friendly extended conversation with God, using samples from this forthcoming book. Come to Me is an experiential, contemplative book for daily use with families with children elementary age and up.

Seven Deadly Sins of Choosing Music for Worship

Greg Scheer, Church of the Servant

The worship music planner plays both a pastoral and prophetic role in the life of the church. Join Greg Scheer in discussing the deadly sins that can derail a healthy song repertoire--and the rules of thumb that can help keep a pastoral, prophetic music ministry on the tracks

Singing Scripture in Worship for the Non-Liturgical Ty;pes

Bruce Benedict, Cardiphonia
Naaman K. Wood PhD, Northwest University

It is often difficult to find resources (beyond the psalms) to sing scripture in worship and even more, how to place them meaningfully in worship. We will examine resources from recent hymnals and various ecumenical perspectives on bringing the riches of scripture to musical worship. To help us in that effort, we will also evaluate and sing a number of different settings of the songs of Moses from Exodus (and Revelation).

Singing Songs from the Global South in a North American Church Context

Debbie Lou Ludolph, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

In this workshop we will sing songs of faith from around the world, share experiences of learning to sing these songs by reflecting together on how to meet the challenges of introducing foreign languages, alternate instrumentation and movement in a predominantly Euro-North American context.

Singing the Lord’s Song . . . In Times Like These: Exploring Worship and music in some English-speaking Caribbean contexts

Nicole Ashwood, United Church in Jamaica

Come join participants from the Caribbean as they lead us in songs of prayer, praise, proclamation and deliverance for such a time as this. Out of many cultures, one song to God.

Story and Worship

Jeff Barker, Northwestern College

Every church has wonderful stories—that are not being told. Barker, author of The Storytelling Church, encourages the church with reasons and ways to tell its story. His Northwestern College students will bring life to his presentation with biblical storytelling (solo and groups), testimonies, enacted prayers, video storytelling and more.

Streams of Living Water

Richard Foster
Nathan Foster
Christopher Hall

Our time together will focus on “streams of living water”—the six dimensions of faith and practice that define Christian tradition. We’ll travel together to see more clearly the enduring character of each tradition: the Contemplative/Prayer-Filled Life; Holiness/Virtuous Life; Charismatic/Spirit-empowered Life; Social Justice/Compassionate Life; Evangelical/Word-Centered Life; and Incarnational/Sacramental Life. We will talk about each of the streams and how they influence our worship. There will also be space to share how we might incorporate each stream into our personal and corporate worship so that we can more fully experience the abundant life of the Kingdom.

Strengthening Gospel-Shaped Prayers of the People: A Spirit-Shaped Agenda for the Next Decade of Worship Ministry

Eric Sarwar, Tehillim School of Church Music and Worship
Anne Zaki, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

The Art and Craft of Creating Texts for Congregational Song

Ruth Duck

Ruth Duck, widely published author of many psalm and hymn texts, including in Lift Up Your Hearts and Psalms for All Seasons, will introduce several of her texts and speak about her process in writing hymns. As a seminary professor of worship, she has many insights to offer about writing, theology, and worship as they intersect in congregational singing.

The In-Between Words

Heidi De Jonge, Westwide Fellowship Christian Reformed Church

Scripture readings, sermons, and songs take up most of the time in a worship service. But it's often what happens in between them that is most telling. Those little words and phrases that welcome guests, introduce songs, and prepare us for prayer make all the difference for encouraging full participation in worship. These phrases are crucial for extending hospitality and for forming congregations for deep engagement with God and each other.

The Street is My Pulpit: Hip Hop, Youth Culture, and the Gospel in Kenya

Mwenda Ntarangwi

"If God had a Facebook page would he accept friend requests from saints or prostitutes?” So asks Juliani, a Kenyan Christian hip hop artist. His music represents a slice of contemporary Christianity in Kenya especially as it is experienced, expressed, and understood among youth, who constitute the great majority of this very young nation. This workshop will explore some of the ways youth express and understand their Christian faith and how it relates to the contemporary social, economic, and political realities facing their generation in Kenya today.

Top Ten Challenges Facing Worship Leaders in 2014

Paul Detterman, Presbyterian Church (USA)

At the 2003 Symposium, Paul Detterman presented a seminar on the “Top Ten Challenges Facing Worship Leaders" that is still sparking conversations a decade later. While some basic realities remain the same, accelerating change in the culture and the church make this a conversation worth revisiting regularly. Come with your challenges!

Trans-Forming Worship

Paul Detterman, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Just as the Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, communal worship of the Triune God is an outward liturgical expression of inner, spiritual life. Explore how parallel movements of liturgical and spiritual renewal from the past offer wisdom and blessing to those planning worship in 2014.

Transformational Preaching: Engaging with Exodus and the Old Testament

Scott Hoezee, Calvin Theological Seminary
Jeff Manion, Ada Bible Church

In this seminar Jeff Manion will help preachers explore the art of building a bridge back to the world of the Bible and then bringing the drama back to our generation. Compelling teaching rests on an emotional connection with the characters in the Biblical drama and so the seminar will ponder first “The Power of Connection” and then next how to explore ways to utilize tension in the telling of the biblical narrative in ways that help listeners wonder “What’s at Stake?” in both the biblical story and its implications for our lives today. The seminar will include conversations with 2014 Symposium preachers on how they accomplished this in their Symposium sermons based on the Book of Exodus.

Transforming Sermon Communication: A Practical Guide to Making Changes that Make a Difference

Lori Carrell, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Hundreds of preachers changed their preaching preparation habits in ways that made a difference in the spiritual journeys of their 30,000+ listeners. What did they do? How did they do it? What can others who speak the Word learn from their experiences? In this workshop, participants will discover practical answers to these questions through the stories of preachers and listeners documented over several years. If you believe that the spoken Word can make a difference for individuals, congregations, communities, and culture, attend this workshop with high expectations.

Vital Worship: A Grants Program for Worshipping Communities

Kathy Smith, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Lisa Weaver, Catholic University

Come to this workshop to learn about a grants program that seeks to foster vital worship in congregations, parishes, and other worshiping communities in North America. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship encourages grant proposals for year-long projects from a variety of worshiping communities that connect public worship to intergenerational faith formation and Christian discipleship, a theme that can unfold in many facets of worship from Bible reading to preaching to baptism and Lord’s Supper, intercessory prayer, congregational song, visual arts, and more.

Wise Church: Learning from the World-Wide Church

Alison Adam, Iona Community
Emily R. Brink, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Marie Eugenia Cornou, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Paul Detterman, Presbyterian Church USA
Jerry Pillay, St. Andrews' Presbyterian Church
Anne Zaki, Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary

Whether in Toledo, Toronto, Taipei, Tehran, or Tegucigalpa, worship of the Triune God has many commonalities, and followers of Jesus have much to learn from one another. This seminar will focus on the wisdom gathered in “Worshiping the Triune God,” a collection of proverbs developed through global consultation and explored in the study guide Wise Church (Faith Alive, 2013). Leaders from around the globe will speak to this wisdom as it is applied in their unique contexts in order to celebrate, challenge, and inspire each participant with ways our worship can more deeply connect us to the heart of God and to one another as the body of Christ.

Worship in Korean Christian Communities

Won Lee, Calvin College

The spread of Christianity in Korea is proverbial since the arrival of Jesuits in 1789 and Protestant missions in 1884. Today, thirty per cent of the nation’s population adheres to Christianity. The Protestant share (19%) is the largest among Asia states, while the Catholic share (11%) is the third largest. Less noted and understood, though, is the tapestry of Korean worship practices that emerged in the context of other religious traditions, war and post-war growth, and a Korean consciousness of struggle and suffering. These influences proffer a distinctive Koreanness of Christian worship that relates closely to God’s liberating intervention for a people who perceive their need to move beyond oppression.

Worship Service on Exodus 20

Heidi De Jonge, Westwide Fellowship Christian Reformed Church

Morning worship service with Heidi De Jong preaching on Exodus 20.