Thursday, January 24, 2008

Worship workshop

Dear friend,

Is your congregation looking to add variety to its worship services or looking to explore ways to use worship as an evangelism tool? Then consider attending WELS National Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts. Whether you’re a pastor, teacher, or lay person, you’ll leave full of ideas to try at your own church. The conference will be held July 28-31, 2008, at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peters, Minn. Workshops include:

Moving Beyond Obstacles and Good Intentions
Proclamation and Praise in Song and Music
Worship and Synod
Worship and Outreach
Building Visions & Futures

There are also workshops on singing, instruments, choirs, organ, history of worship, composers, technology, diversity, art, architecture, and special workshops on Christian Worship: Supplement.

Every attendee at the conference will receive a free copy of the new supplement.
For more information see our Web site http://www.wels.net/jump/worship

37 comments:

Kenny said...

"...looking to explore ways to use worship as an evangelism tool?"

Tautology. Shows that the Wisconsin Synod neither understands "worship" (sic) nor "evangelism."

Kenny

Albert said...

"Is your congregation looking to add variety to its worship services..."

To anyone that answers "yes" to this question, my question is "why?"

Why is it that "variety" is seen as a desirable trait to so many and the opposite of variety is to be avoided? If your goal is to evangelize through worship, don't you think "variety" will just frustrate your guests?

RandomDan said...

As a new father looking at the prospect of teaching my child the liturgy, variety is the last thing that she would need. She needs repetition. How are our children supposed to learn how to worship when even the ordinary is changing every week.

Bespoke said...

Is Leonard Sweet going to speak?

Every traditional liturgical service has variety: hymns, readings, collect, gradual, sermon. Very few elements are exactly the same each week.

Misdirection of the brain, once again. Just like magicians who get people looking one way while using some deft stuff in another direction.

Liturgical Lutheran said...

Actually, I think those of you who are skeptical would all be surprised at the approach that the Commission on Worship is taking. They are promoting excellence in liturgical worship, not praise bands and the latest fads. If you would check out what they are doing, I think you would be pleasantly surprised (and maybe a just a little ashamed for comdemning something that you haven't seen).

liturgical lutheran said...

Does this sound like promotion of "contemporary" non-liturgical worship? This part of their promotional literature doesn't sound that way when I read it.

WHAT TO EXPECT
• Worship is always the highpoint! Seven different services feature the new Christian Worship: Supplement along with other enriching resources and a variety of the best styles appropriate for Lutheran worship.
• Festival Choir and Orchestra concert with excellent WELS musicians from all over the country
• Three recitals
• Ten repertoire sessions: choral, organ, piano, and instrumental
• 50+ presentations and workshops covering a wide range of topics
• Presentations just for pastors
• Presentations for interested people who are not musicians
• Exhibitor area with companies that produce materials for worship
• Music publishers with new music for organ, piano, bells, and instruments
• Fellowship and memories with more than 1000 people

tico said...

As Fred Flintstone used to say;
"Oh Bouy!"

Bespoke said...

Don't forget - women teaching men.

Isn't this Tiefel guy the one who had ELCA, Pentecostal, and other denominations teaching at one of his earlier ecumenical events? That was at another ELCA college, Carthage, I think.

Beam me up, Tiefel.

Anonymous said...

shock and horror....cringe....gasp...it is horrifying that we cling with white knuckles to anything that departs from wels tradition...it's quite amazing how a one syllable word like "change" can inflame so many...it's too bad so many try to pull the focus away from what matters in worship....are we really debating over instruments and song style....isn't the term edification a little subjective...if all the necessary elements are there...let's all get over ourselves...I will admit my first time at a WELS church with a praise band "freaked me out"...in fact I was really uncomfortable as I was searching for all my somber and stand-offish robotic wels buddies...it was really scary...people looked like they were happy(blessed)...like they had a reason to be joyful...it was disgusting the way people actually looked like they had something to respond to...and i was thinking how dare this congregation maintain a Christ-centered law and gospel service with sacraments and the like while they were using powerpoint and guitars and drums...need i go on...oh and some godless newcomer accidentally clapped...but don't worry I chastised them with my cold WELS stare that let them know that such behavior is a one way ticket on the h-train...okay...i need to stop now...

jen said...

sorry I accidentally posted my sarcastic ranting under anonymous and it was really jen...

Jen said...

boy...just reread what I wrote...should start my own blog called S.O.S.....Sassy Students of Scripture...(yeah I know I jammed two "s" words into the first s)...

Duncan said...

Jen,

Blessed does not mean happy (the silly Psalm refrain in CW notwithstanding). (So one wonders whether the law was law and Gospel, Gospel as you maintain.)

Duncan

Joe said...

You are well on your way Jen. Mocking people for advocating reverent, Lutheran worship will ear you high marks in the C&C growd.

Joe

Joe said...

earn, not ear...stupid Joe.

Joe

Jen said...

Duncan,
Not to be "sassy" again, but to clear up confusion...."blessed" has more than one definition...and I am assuming that you are referring to the most common which means holy; consecrated; sacred, etc....I, however, was not in the situation I used it. "Blessed" also means enjoying great happiness; blissful....you can verify this in the Webster's New World Dictionary....

*I hope that answers the question regarding my credibility as well.

Jen said...

Joe,
I apologize if it seemed that I was mocking at all(sarcasm is often seen that way), and in particular those who advocate reverent Lutheran worship....I think I know what you mean by "reverent Lutheran worship"...and I think I advocate it too... even though the term "reverent" is subjective and since I believe the C&C crew advocates "Lutheran" worship that shows respect and honor to God. I think we need to be careful that personal opinion on either side does not become an obstacle to focusing on what really matters.

Again, I apologize if my sarcasm offended you...

I don't give a crap anymore... said...

I don't either side. Something is off, maybe it's the pride--but that is just a guess.

If I want extremely high church worship, I will go to the RCC or the EO.

If I want a praise band (that actually sounds good, because honestly the WELS/LCMS SUCK at having good praise bands), I will go to my local non-denom or Baptist church.

I believe there is something in the middle that is distinct, but I've yet to find it.

I don't give a crap anymore said...

TYPO alert: "I don't *like* either side.

Sorry.

Joe said...

Jen,

You didn't offend me. Don't worry about that.

But let me clarify what I mean by reverent Lutheran worship. Look at the Confessions. Does your praise-band-church look more like the church described in the Confessions or does it look like the protestant mega-church down the street?

Do you really believe reverent is a subjective term? Surely when we are told to keep the sabath holy, God didn't really mean, as the post-modernists would have us believe, "When I say holy, I don't really have any one definition in mind, so, you know, decide what holy means to you."

Joe

Duncan said...

"Jen" writes

"'Blessed' also means enjoying great happiness; blissful....you can verify this in the Webster's New World Dictionary...."

Indeed. You saw the worshippers "happy" not blessed according to the Biblical definition, but according to your dictionary. Happy does not translate Biblically to "blessed," or "blessed" to "happy." Cf. Matthew 5:1-12 on blessed.

So was the expression you noted in crowd of happiness one produced by contrition "terrors smiting the conscience" and faith which finds comfort in the innocent suffering and death of our Lord, his cruel crucifixion and damnation on the cross? Or what it something else, something which produced "happiness"? My guess? The latter.

Duncan

Duncan said...

Mr. I don't give a crap,

You refer to "extremely high church worship" What do you mean by that?

Thanks,
Duncan

Jen said...

Joe,
God had a very specific list of commands regarding the Sabbath Day for OT believers, however, the New Testament believers are no longer bound by the Mosaic Law. We have freedom in Christ. I am not going to go into detail on that, but would recommend picking up a People's Bible on the subject or searching the WELs Q and A section on the 3rd commandment. The WELS theologians there explain it much better than I could.
I once felt much the same way you do and with my first experience with a "praise band church" was very skeptical of the practice and did just as you suggest...compared what they did with the Confessions and most importantly with Scripture...I found with great joy that what they were doing was in keeping with both...it was "reverent Lutheran worship" although it was much different than what I am used to and have studied...if personal preference meant anything as far as worship I would have to say I would not choose it over a traditional or blended service...but worship isn't about me it is centered on Christ and what God reveals to us in His Word...until I see evidence of unscriptural practice I will continue to worship with my Christian brothers and sisters in more than one format...there is much to be cherished with our conservative Lutheran roots and our forefathers strict adherence to preaching God's Word in its truth and purity is certainly a blessing that often sets us apart from the non-denominational world. Please let us be careful, though, that we do not fall into sins that plague the RCC w their pre-occupation with ceremony, law, and tradition. These are unscriptural practices. The apostle Paul speaks to these issues in the New Testament. I will stop here since I can be a little verbose at times.

Jen said...

Duncan,
Thank you for referring me to Matt. 5:1-12...you can never read the beatitudes enough...

Is it wrong for to feel "blessed/happy" when I read those verses about those Biblical blessings?

Is it wrong for believers to feel and show that they are "blessed/happy" when they reflect on the fact that when I, a wretched sinner, is reminded of the enormous sacrifice Christ made for me?

Is is wrong to rejoice in the fact that I am no longer bound by the law that condemns me?

I assume that is why I occasionally worship with "happy" people. Is it possible people were happy for the wrong reasons? For some, maybe, we live in a world of sin. I can only speak for myself and assume the best of others that we were happy for the right reasons and not afraid to show it.

Ultimately, like I said, my earlier comments were a little sarcastic, and perhaps inappopriate and I should consider my audience...the point of that earlier post had little to do with being "happy" and I should know better than to use sarcasm to communicate a point...it's rarely effective...

Joe said...

Jen,

But aren't we also told in the NT that our worship should be holy and reverant? And doesn't holy mean "set apart" as in, something that stands apart from and does not conform to societal norms?

To frame the issue differently, what is so bad about our liturgical, lutheran ceremonies and rites that would warrant dispensing with them in favor of more contemporary forms of "worship"?

Do you believe that the Worhsip Leader beginning the service by greeting everyone before launching into a song praising God's power points to Christ better than a processional?

Joe

Duncan said...

"Jen"

Again you equate "blessed" with "happy." Let me use this example. In anger because of some silly thing you carelessly back your car out of the driveway and run over your own child (or that of a family member) and kill them. You are devasted, filled with guilt and sorrow, and you receive the blessed Body and Blood of Jesus for the forgivness of your sin. Are you happy? A big grin? Does the forgivness of any sin cause us to erupt in happiness? Christian joy is something else.

Blessed are those who mourn.

Duncan

Joe said...

Duncan,

Sadly, post-modernism has infected the church. That is why blessed=happy and reverant=relevant=entertaining.

Joe

Duncan said...

Joe,

Indeed.

Duncan

s said...

Since worship discussion is occurring down here, I thought I would bring up the sentence John made in his last post: "One pastor I communicated with suggested that routinely following a liturgical format is akin to following behavior modification theories."

I have also heard a WELS theologian claim that the liturgy can be a form of behavior modification in that one follows a routine until it is a habit. The argument is based on the view that people mindlessly follow the routine of the liturgy without cognitively being aware why they are doing what they are doing.

This wels pastor went on to state the the WELS should focus on identity reconstruction.

Duncan said...

S.

These "WELS theologians" know neither the liturgy nor its purpose. The historic western rite's goal, if you must, is repentance and faith. It's center is Christ in the Holy Gospel and the Holy Communion.

Duncan

Joe said...

Duncan,

"The historic western rite's goal, if you must, is repentance and faith. It's center is Christ in the Holy Gospel and the Holy Communion."

Indeed.

Joe

Anonymous said...

I think Jen's comments are a fair representation of what I've found in WELS the last couple of years. To many, what's the big deal with changing to something more popular if it reaches the lost? I understand that logic and have found it to be the focus of WELS. So the natural direction would be to move away from the traditional (and all things RCC) to something more relevant to our era.

Unfortunately for me, I left a mega-Reformed church with top quality, professional praise music, use of high technology, a dynamic minister who wore jeans and Birkenstocks, etc. I left specifically to find a connection with the historical church that preached the Gospel regularly, which led me to the doctrine of Lutheranism.

We don't have any strict confessional Lutheran churches in our area, despite what they all claim. But we have a lot of churches that seem quite similar.

Rob

S. said...

Duncan,

I'm curious as to how you know that WELS theologians do not know the liturgy or its purpose. Is the liturgical format taught at the seminary?

S.

Duncan said...

S.

The very topics of the upcoming conference (as those in the past) never focus on the main thing.

Duncan

RandomDan said...

I have to agree with Duncan and his assertion on the WELS and the liturgy. When I met with my pastor before joining the church, I think he was shocked by how many questions I had over changes made in the liturgy. I was somewhat disconcerted when he didn't have good answers to my concerns, and I realized I knew more than he did about the Western liturgy and where it came from. That, my friends, is sad. It is difficult to teach what you do not know.

S. said...

I would still like to know from someone who has been through W L seminary if they teach an in-depth understanding of the history and meaning of the liturgy...??

S.

Jen said...

I can't speak on the part of seminarians, but students at MLC take an exhaustive and extensive Lutheran Worship course covering worship in theology and practice, its historical roots, the serivces in detail and use, the music of the Lutheran church, the Christian church year, the principles of worship, etc. Christian Worship has a supplement called the Christian Worship Manual and there is also a Handbook containing more historical and background information. MLC students study the manual in addition to outside sources.

Jen said...

I definitely agree that when it comes to worship....many would benefit from an extensive study of it and what God's Word tells us about worship...like I said before there is much to be celebrated in the historical roots of our liturgical worship and how it has maintained the truth and purity of God's Word, so of course I would not say anything is wrong with liturgical worship for those who understand it or would like to learn more about how most WELS Lutherans worship. However, most lay people don't even know why they are doing what they are doing let alone the unchurched. How are we going to address that problem? (...and I am not saying that Contemp. worship is the cover-all band-aid for that issue either...) let's also be careful to not oversimplify a complex issue...one way my congregation has addressed the above issue is by forming a worship committee to do studies on behalf of the congregation members...to enlist the laity in the study of worship and not just the called workers....