Calvin Symposium on Worship: January 30 – February 1, 2014

Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Each day of the conference begins and ends with worship. Thursday is devoted to in-depth study on a particular topic (four-hour seminars). Friday and Saturday include plenary talks and hour-long workshops.

See the conference program book (pdf) with seminar and workshop locations.

Morning worship services (repeated Thursday evening), 8:30 - 9:45 am

  • Video Stream IconCollege Chapel: Exodus 16, Pablo Jimenez preaching
  • Covenant Fine Arts Center: Exodus 14-15, Sophie Mathonnet-VanderWell preaching

Travel time and refreshment break, 9:45 - 10:15 am
Refreshments available at your seminar location.

Seminars meet: 10:15 am - 3:30 pm with a lunch break
Select one seminar to attend.

Seminar 1: Rhythms of Desire, Jeremy Begbie and James K. A. Smith                                             
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.

Audio Recording IconSeminar 2: Transformational Preaching: Engaging with Exodus and the Old Testament, Jeff Manion, hosted by Scott Hoezee
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.

Audio Recording IconSeminar 3: Deepening a Congregation’s Ability to Talk about Worship, Carrie Steenwyk and Lester Ruth, moderators, with Andy Park, Cindy Rethmeier, and Bishop Dale Cudjoe
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.

Video Recording IconSeminar 4: Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster, Nathan Foster, and 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.

Seminar 5: Growing Congregational Health for Teens to Thrive, Syd Hielema and Laura Keeley        
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.

Seminar 6: Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe, Sandra Bowden, John Hesselink, John Kohan
In the morning we’ll explore Sadao Watanabe’s life as a Christian and as an artist who created some of the most beautiful biblical art of the 20th century, including a discussion of his faith, how he applied faith to his art, and how his art was for him a lectio divina, using his art in meditation.  The group will also talk about the influences that shaped his work, both from the West and from his own Japanese traditions, especially Medieval art and the Mingei movement. The time together will also focus on his work as an “artisan” and on the complicated technique of stencil painting he used to create his momigami and washi prints, and to the development of Christianity in Japan and what a remarkable thing it is that Watanabe created his art in a Buddhist culture. The afternoon will include a trip to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids where Watanabe designed a remarkable stained glass window. At each point there will be time for questions and answers from the group.                              

Seminar 7: The 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.  

Seminar 8: Story and Worship, Jeff Barker and students from 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.

Seminar 9: A New Song. A Skillful Song, Greg Scheer with Ruth Duck and Bruce Benedict
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. 

Seminar 10: Leading Diverse Congregational Songs from the Organ, John Ferguson
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).                     

Seminar 11, Technique and Repertoire for Church Choir Directors, André Thomas with Ken Bos, accompanist
The morning will focus on a variety of choral pieces, from short and simple to those that present more challenges to church choir directors. André will consider factors of score study, introducing a piece to your choir, conducting technique, and making decisions regarding accompaniment, in order to prepare your choir to lead worship with beauty and confidence. In the afternoon, Dr. Thomas will present insights and teaching from his book Way Over in Beulah Land: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual.

Video Recording IconSeminar 12: Learning to Lead Worship—Forming Worship Leaders in Congregations and Schools, John Witvliet, with Constance Cherry, Paul Ryan, and Calvin Student Worship Apprentices
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.

Audio Recording IconSeminar 13: Wise Church: Learning from the World-Wide Church, Paul Detterman, with Alison Adam, Maria Cornou, Jerry Pillay, Anne Zaki, and other international presenters, hosted by Emily Brink  
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. 

Seminar 14: While We Are Waiting, Yielded and Still, Dale Cooper
The seminar, actually more of a retreat, will be limited to fifteen people who will spend this time together in a home setting, also enjoying fellowship over the noon meal. In this day of quiet together, we will

  • ponder afresh ‘how deep the Father’s love for us;
  • enjoy ‘sweet communion’ with Jesus; and
  • pledge anew, God’s Spirit helping us, ‘with one holy passion,’ to return our Lover’s love.

Coffee and tea break, 3:30 - 4:15 pm

Thursday Vespers, 4:15 - 5 pm

  • Video Stream IconEverlasting to Everlasting: A Cantata for Congregation based on the Hallel Psalms, composed by Greg Scheer
    Performed by Greg Scheer and friends, with Neal Plantinga, liturgist.
    College Chapel

  • Video Recording IconA Requiem for the Victims of War, by Carlos Colon
    Sung by the Choral Scholars, written especially for the victims of the civil war in El Salvador, but a lament for all victims of war.
    Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall

  • Video Recording IconJazz Vespers
    Tom Jennings, liturgist and pianist, with Julia Smith, vocals, Jonathan Gilley, bass, and Fred Knapp, percussion.
    Seminary Chapel

  • The Brilliance: A Worship Concert  
    Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium

  • Water from the Rock, a prayer service with an embodied narrative from Exodus 17
    Travis West, Sue Rozeboom, and students, all from Western Theological Seminary.
    Seminary Auditorium   

Dinner and visit exhibits 5 - 6:45 pm

  • Art Gallery walk and reception, with Sandra Bowden, John Hesselink, and John Kohan, 6 - 6:45 pm
  • Premier viewing of the DVD shot at Symposium 2013, produced by GIA Publications, Inc.: Christian Song from Asia for the World: The Legacy of I-to Loh, 6 - 6:45 pm

  • High school students: You are invited to eat dinner in the Upper Crust area of Commons Dining Hall. This meal will be hosted by Rebecca Kim and Matt Cambridge, Calvin Admissions Staff. They'll share information about Calvin.

Evening worship services, 7 - 8 pm

  • College Chapel: Exodus 16, Pablo Jimenez preaching
  • Video Stream IconCovenant Fine Arts Center: Exodus 14-15, Sophie Mathonnet-VanderWell preaching


Morning worship services (repeated Saturday morning), 8:30 - 9:45 am

  • Video Stream IconCollege Chapel: Exodus 20, Heidi De Jonge, preaching
  • Covenant Fine Arts Center: Exodus 32, Michael Nabors, preaching

Refreshment break, 9:45 - 10:15 am

Plenary sessions (repeated Saturday), 10:15 - 11:15 am

  • The Mystery of Worship, Jeremy Begbie
  • Video Stream IconStrengthening Gospel-Shaped Prayers of the People: A Spirit-Shaped Agenda for the Next Decade of Worship Ministry, John Witvliet, Mark Charles, Eric Sarwar, Anne Zaki

Workshops: Workshops are one hour long, offered on Friday and then repeated at the same time on Saturday unless noted.

Workshop A, 11:45 -12:45 pm

AL: Lunch break

Video Recording IconAP (Prayer session): Learning from and Praying for the Worldwide Church, Anne Zaki (Egypt), moderator, with Karen Campbell (Ireland) and Erik Sarwar (Pakistan) on Friday; with Jerry Pillay (South Africa) and Judith Mosomos (Philippines and Singapore) on Saturday.
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. 

A1: Encouraging Every Voice: Effective Song Leadership in Worship, Alison Adam
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. 

A2: Eve’s Two Sons: A Case Study for Biblical Drama in Worship, Jeff Barker and students
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.

A3: Conversation with Jeremy Begbie, hosted by James K.A. Smith
An opportunity to continue exploring the ideas presented in his plenary address.

A4: Nuts and Bolts of Lift Up Your Hearts, Joyce Borger
In this workshop we will be looking at the very practical question of how to use the hymnal.  Topics covered include insights into its organization, the use of indices, non-musical texts, ideas for using the hymnal outside of congregational singing, and how to make use of its digital editions. 

A5: Planning and Developing Church Galleries and Exhibits, Sandra Bowden
This workshop will help churches develop statements of purpose for visual arts committee and/or galleries and give examples of policies and procedures from a diversity of churches across North America.

A6: Missional Preaching for the Reformed church, Jon Brown and Trygve Johnson
The vision for the missional church has increasingly inspired congregations of the Reformed tradition, and for good reason. However, little time in the conversations about the missional church has been given to the preacher. Even less time has been given to the Reformed preacher of the missional church. Join us to think deeply about what it means to be a preacher that is both Reformed and increasingly missional. 

Audio Recording IconA7: Transforming Sermon Communication: A Practical Guide to Making Changes That Make a Difference, Lori Carrell   
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.

Audio Recording IconA8: The Challenging Work of Public Penitence and Reconciliation in Worship, Mark Charles and John Witvliet
Jesus says “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  What should this really look like among us? What if the offender is an entire congregation? Or an entire people group? How should worship, justice, and reconciliation be related not just in theory, but in practice? What difference could this make for your congregation? For this entire Worship Symposium?

A9: The Church as Community, Todd Cioffi with Calvin student panel
Currently, there is much talk about the importance of “Christian community.” What is meant by that; is it the same as the “church”? Is it possible to have one without the other? A panel of Calvin College students will address what Christian community means to them, how it relates to the church, why it matters in the world, and how they may think differently about the church and Christian community than previous generations. They will also reflect on the significance of worship in terms of establishing and maintaining Christian community both within and beyond the church’s walls.

A10: Leading Worship Teams: Building Community AND Getting It Done, Gregg De Mey
For many planners and leaders of worship there is an ongoing tension between our values of “community” and “efficiency.”  Is it possible to guide a worship planning process that leans into the gifts of healthy collaboration and good chemistry while also producing strong worship experiences for the people of God Sunday after Sunday? This workshop will investigate ways to nurture the seed of community with your worship planning team from the start of the creative process to executing the details of a prayerfully made plan.

A11: Fresh and New, Tried and True: A Reading Session on Hymn-based Piano Collections for Worship, Norma de Waal Malefyt
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.

A12: A Renewal Journey: Kick-Starting Revitalization in Local Congregations, Keith Doornbos
Eighty percent of churches in America have plateaued or are in decline.  This seminar examines a two-year renewal journey intended to kick-start revitalization in local congregations through a three-step process of listen, imagine, do. The desired outcome of this journey is that churches become pulsating epicenters of God’s redemptive love.

A13: 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.

Audio Recording IconA14: Intergenerational Youth Ministry, Lynn Barger Elliott
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.

A15: Projection Practices, Betsy Steele Halstead and Paul Ryan
Worship leaders and planners are well aware of the pervasive use of projection media for songs, prayers, litanies, art, and advertisements in our worship services. There seems, however, to be little discussion to guide us in its thoughtful and effective use. In this workshop we'll explore best projection practices that serve to enable the full, conscious, and active participation of the people.

Audio Recording IconA16: Overcoming Homiletic Fatigue, Pablo Jimenez
Those who preach Sunday after Sunday often become weary—whether they’re experienced and have been in the pulpit a long time or still new to the demands of preaching week after week, wondering how they can keep up the pace of continuing to prepare new sermons that speak God’s Word with vitality.  This workshop will explore ways to reenergize your preaching. 

Video Recording IconA17: 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. 

A18: Finding and writing hymns for the liturgical calendar, Latifah Phillips
Latifah will be discussing the value of hymns in worship and walking through her process of finding, arranging, and writing hymns for Page CXVI's Calendar Project, a project dedicated to using hymns to meditate on the liturgical seasons of Advent through Easter.

Audio Recording IconA19: Complementary Prayers: Prayers to Accompany the Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of the new hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
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.

Audio Recording IconA20: Loving God Intimately: Worship with the Anaheim Vineyard Fellowship, 1977-1983, Lester Ruth and Carrie Steenwyk with Andy Park and Cindy Rethmeier
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?

A21: Living in a Way Where Everyone Belongs, Lyn Ten Brink
The gospels beautifully portray Jesus' leadership in building faith communities. He recruited a group of disciples and began taking them to populations of people outside of the church, their neighborhoods and even the city walls. These outsider populations were diseased, racially separated and folks with a wide array of disabilities who left home or were sent away. But Jesus with his disciples declared it a new day and counted them in, welcoming them back. We will discuss the theology of "how" and "why" Jesus modeled bridging gaps to a variety of people groups and we will leave with practical steps for individuals and congregations to live this way. How can we walk alongside what God is already doing in our communities and declare it a new day for everyone we might have overlooked?

A22: A Reading Session of Choral Music, André Thomas, with Ken Bos, accompanist 
André Thomas will introduce and tell stories behind several of his pieces for church choirs, focusing especially on how even small choirs can bring joy and excellence to worship.

A23: Evangelistic Preaching: On Our Way from Athens to Corinth, Ron van der Spoel
Paul's preaching on the Areopagus in Athens is often considered to be his most evangelistic preaching and therefore an example of evangelistic preaching.  But what happened as a result of this preaching? Next to nothing! That's why he traveled to the next big city, to Corinth, with "fear and trembling." Somewhere along that road from Athens to Corinth, he decided to change his strategy of evangelistic preaching. In this workshop we will note the differences between evangelistic preaching Athens-style and Corinth-style and discover why Paul choose the latter approach for his evangelistic preaching from that moment on.

A24: Visualizing Worship: Using Photographs to Stimulate Conversations about Worship, Roman Williams 
Where does worship happen in everyday life? What encourages or constrains worship? Where is God at work? This workshop offers a way to explore questions like these by using photographs to stimulate conversations about worship. Workshop participants will learn how to use photos and conversations about worship to see the perceptions, experiences, practices, needs, and challenges present in their congregation.

Workshop B, 1:15 - 2:15 pm

BL: Lunch break

Audio Recording IconBP (Prayer session, Friday only): Learning from and Praying for the Worldwide Church, Maria Cornou (Argentina), moderator, with Elizabeth Hernandez (Mexico) and Carlos Colon (El Salvador)
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. 

B1: Life Under Water: Cultivating Baptismal Identity, Kevin Adams
Christian novices and veterans build their identity from a smorgasbord of images and life practices often in conflict with each other.  Learn how one congregation helped participants strengthen their identity as “the baptized”—those who die and rise with Christ--by renewing and creating psalm-based baptismal practices, “affirmation of baptism practices,” and public and private psalm-saturated liturgical practices so together they found themselves exulting with Martin Luther, “I am baptized!”

B2 (Saturday only): Roundtable Discussion on Worship Planning, Joyce Borger
Bring your lunch and join a round table discussion with other Symposium attendees about the needs of worship planners and leaders and how best to support you in your ministry, hosted by Joyce Borger, editor of Reformed Worship, a quarterly magazine that provides practical help and support to worship planners.

B3 (Saturday only): Liturgical Practices of a Church in Renewal: the Story of Pillar Church, Jon Brown, Chris De Vos, and Steven Rodriguez
In 1882 a heated disagreement occurred within the congregation of Pillar Church. That disagreement fueled the division between two historic denominations, the Christian Reformed Church of North America and the Reformed Church in America. Over the last decade a reconciliation effort has been happening and last year Pillar Church reestablished itself as a dual affiliation congregation of both denominations. That reestablishment has launched Pillar into a season of revitalized mission and ministry. This story of renewal might inspire your story of renewal too.

B4: The Special Service Worship Architect, Constance Cherry
Comparing the work of pastors and other worship leaders to that of architects, this session helps leaders conceive of the special services of a worshiping community, and their accompanying sacred actions, as true occasions for corporate worship. Similar to regular Lord’s Day worship, services related to life passages, the sacraments, and other occasions are focused on the Triune God, participative, spiritually forming, and missional in purpose.

B5: Saying Grace: Expanding and Exploring the Family Prayer Time, Lora Copley and Elizabeth Vander Haagen
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.

Audio Recording IconB6 (Saturday only): El culto como discipulado, Maria Cornou, in Spanish only
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.]

B7: Preparing Well for Ministry, Jinny Bult De Jong and Calvin Theological Seminary Students
What does it take to prepare leaders for ministry in the church in the 21st century? Seminaries welcome students from increasingly diverse backgrounds to prepare for ministries in church settings that are very different from a generation ago. What brings students to seminary today? And how do seminaries respond to such diversity, seeking to shape each of them in ways that help them in turn respond to God’s call to ministry? Listen to the stories and testimonies of several students with very different backgrounds and hopes to serve the church.

Audio Recording IconB8: The In-Between Words, Heidi De Jonge
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.

B9: Top Ten Challenges Facing Worship Leaders in 2014, Paul Detterman
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!

B10: Can the Organ Sound Like a Conga? Leading Cross Cultural Song from the Organ, John Ferguson
The organ can lead and accompany an amazing variety of musical styles. John Ferguson will share techniques for leading many non-traditional 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!

Video Recording IconB11: Growing Congregational Health for Teens to Thrive, Syd Hielema
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 workshop 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? This workshop will provide participants with the tools to meet with others back home to assess the state of the garden and plan strategies for greater fruitfulness.

B12: The Long Prayer: Offering Prayers in Public Worship, Scott Hoezee
Some traditions call it “The Pastoral Prayer” while others label it “The Congregational Prayer” or “Morning Prayers” or “Prayers of the People.” But as any eight-year-old could tell you, the most descriptive moniker may well be the child’s label for it: “The Long Prayer”! Whether pre-written, extemporaneous, or a combination, the prayer offered in worship on Sunday morning is probably the longest single prayer most people hear all week. As pastors and worship leaders, our public prayers reveal much about our habits of mind even as those prayers have a shaping influence on how the congregation prays all week. This workshop will look at the place of prayer in public worship and will offer practical suggestions for offering prayers that are theologically imaginative and pastorally sensitive.

B13: Reading Session of Choral Music, Roy Hopp, hosted by GIA Publications, Inc.
This session will feature some of the recent additions to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Choral Music Series published with GIA, and will include a couple of Roy’s recent anthems as well.

B14: The Musician’s Church, Tom Jennings
How do we attract professional musicians, even those who are not (yet) believers, and help them to fully integrate into our churches? How do we disciple them, and engage their skills without burning them out? How do we address our own inadequacies in dealing with professionals? Tom Jennings shares insights from 20 years of ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, a church that nearly 300 professional musicians – from members of the New York Philharmonic and Broadway stars to rap producers – call home.

B15: Breaking Free from the Filing Cabinet: Planning Worship in the Digital Age, Jane Knappe
Introducing the “Prelude Music Planner,” a web based planning tool designed to help church musicians spend more time making music and less time planning for it. Prelude allows church musicians to create plans easily in just a few clicks. You can instantly browse hundreds of pieces from several catalogs (currently Augsburg Fortress, Choristers Guild, Hope, and Morningstar) on lectionary days, keywords, skill level and more. Everything you need to create comprehensive plans is accessible from one place, and Prelude stores your usage history so you’ll never have to worry about repeating a piece. Learn about this powerful new aid for church musicians during this live demonstration.

B16: One Pilgrim's Progress, John Kohan
In this workshop, John Kohan tells how his purchase of a painting seven years ago developed into the Sacred Art Pilgrim Collection, two associated websites, and a church art exhibition program, offering practical advice to those who are interested in developing religious art or working with church art collections.

B17: See C26

B18: Biblical Principles of Worship, Ron Man
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.

B19: The African American Preacher’s Voice as Social Prophet and Priest, Michael Nabors
The workshop will examine the works of Samuel DeWitt Proctor and Gardner Taylor from their book, We Have This Ministry. The purpose will be to aide workshop attendees in discovering and/or honing their own voices in addressing social issues that are germane to the local church.

Video Recording IconB20 (Saturday only): Proclamation in the Psalms for Christian Worship, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
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.

Audio Recording IconB21 (Friday only): Five Stages on the Journey of Disability Attitudes, Dan Quist and Dan Vander Plaats
Based on the idea that the most disabling aspect of life with disabilities is the attitudes of others, Dan and Dan will show us how our attitudes often marginalize those God has called into God’s kingdom and service. By showing us just how our attitudes get instilled in us, exposing us to the truth of those attitudes, and finally appealing to the very presence of the Kingdom-at-hand, our friends from Elim Christian Services ( will help us understand and change our approach to working with marginalized people-groups all around us, especially those affected by disabilities.

B22: Leading Effective Praise Team Rehearsals, Paul Ryan
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.

B23: Seven Deadly Sins of Choosing Music for Worship, Greg Scheer
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.

Audio Recording IconB24: Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works, James K.A. Smith
What if we thought about liturgy like literature—an imagination-shaping encounter in which a story seeps into our bones?  This seminar will consider how the narrative arc of historic Christian worship uniquely taps into our nature as "narrative animals," drawing on resources in cognitive science and literary criticism.

B25 (Saturday only): An Open Rehearsal with the Calvin Alumni Choir, André Thomas, with Ken Bos, accompanist   
André Thomas will rehearse anthems that the Alumni Choir will be contributing to the closing Communion service on Saturday.

B26: Revitalizing the Lord's Supper - No More Funerals for Jesus! Howard Vanderwell
How can we get beyond a somber sacrament to one that brings new life and stirs gratitude? This workshop is designed for pastors, musicians, and worship planners.  We'll take a fresh look at the place of the Lord's Supper in our worship services and ask some probing questions. What is its real purpose; what should happen; and in what spirit should we come? We'll also ask questions about frequency and the inclusion of children and youth.

B27: Dancing through the Church Year, Susan Wilson
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.

Workshop C, 2:45 - 3:45 pm

C1: Conference Choir rehearsal, André Thomas, with Ken Bos, accompanist  The Conference Choir will participate in the Saturday afternoon communion worship service, with the Calvin Alumni Choir serving as the anchor choir. 

C2: A Special Grace, Kevin Adams
People have used the psalms to voice their deepest anguish and delight, to comfort others and to express emotions they hardly dare to admit.  Hear stories of unlikely pray-ers who through pastoral care and worship liturgy discover in the psalms that God is wilder and more unpredictable than they imagined, providing a way to belong and find a home in the church.  

C3: Singing the Lord's Song . . . in Times Like These, Nicole Ashwood and Caribbean friends
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.

C4 (Friday only): Story and Worship, Jeff Barker and students
Every church has wonderful stories—that are not being told. In an abbreviation of his Thursday seminar, Barker will explore the reasons and ways churches might tell their stories.  His Northwestern College students will perform biblical storytelling (in solo and groups), testimonies, enacted prayers, and more.

Audio Recording IconC5: Singing Scripture in Worship for the Non-Liturgical Types, Bruce Benedict and Naaman K. Wood
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). 

C6 (Friday only): Lift Up Your Hearts: A Resource for Pastoral Care, Joyce Borger
A hymnal as a pastoral care resource? Absolutely! Texts were chosen for this hymnal with various pastoral situations in mind.  In this workshop we will consider how to make use of this hymnal for pastoral care within corporate worship, hospital visits, and one-on-one conversations.  

Audio Recording IconC7: Listening to Your Listeners: A Preaching Preparation Process That Changes…Everything! Lori Carrell
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!). 

Video Recording IconC8: Contextualized Worship among the Navajo People, Mark Charles with guests 
The journey to contextualized Christian worship for the Navajo culture has been a beautiful but challenging one. Join leaders from the Native community to hear their stories and participate with them in their contextualization of their Christian worship. 

C9: Convergence Worship—What It Is and What It Isn’t, Constance Cherry
Have we been passionate about worship or passionate about style? This workshop proposes that we approach worship with the goal of “fullness” before style. Discover the possibilities for worship that are deep and rich by recovering aspects of worship that have been expressed in every era yet relevant for today.

C10: Under the Surface: The Questions Behind the Questions Churches are Asking About Worship and Ministry, Moses Chung and John Witvliet
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.

C11: ‘To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul’:  Cultivating Uncommon Communion with God through Prayer, Dale Cooper
We will explore the mystery, motives, and mechanics of prayer, using a variety of practices commended by others throughout history. We will conclude the workshop with time spent together in prayer. 

Video Recording IconC12 (Saturday only): Alentado la participación congregacional en el culto en las iglesias hispanas, Maria Cornou, in Spanish only
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.]

C13: Creating Songs for Congregational Singing, Gregg De Mey
The process of songwriting has been described as an artistic alchemy: turning lead (a creative idea) into gold (a completed song). This workshop will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the song writing process behind selections from Lift Up Your Hearts and Psalms for All Seasons: from the initial spark of inspiration to a shareable, singable piece of congregational music.

C14: Trans-Forming Worship, Paul Detterman
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.

C15: From the Dreaded Disciplines to a Means of Grace, Nathan Foster
We Christians are guilty of reducing our spiritual lives to a checklist. And when we approach the spiritual disciplines we often put them on our checklist. However, if we approach the disciplines as holy habits that are a means of experiencing God’s grace, suddenly we are living in the abundant life instead of by the dreaded lists we used to keep score with. Join Nathan Foster as he talks about how his three years of practicing the disciplines—starting, stopping, failing, experiencing, enjoying, wrestling with—led him to the grace-filled life. Based on Richard Foster’s initial book and on Nathan’s soon-to-be-released book where he shares his own narrative about practicing the disciplines, this interactive workshop will unpack how we approach the spiritual disciplines, living every day real life with them. We’ll explore how the disciplines can lead to a life marked by grace instead of legalism.

C16: Faith on Campus: Higher Education, Religion, and College Students’ Search for Meaning, Jonathan Hill
This workshop will review some of the social science findings on the influence of college on religious faith. Drawing upon national survey data as well as interviews with hundreds of college students, we will investigate if the influence of college has changed over the years and whether different types of colleges and universities impact students differently. The workshop will conclude with some possible implications of this research for churches and ministries that work with college students.  

Audio Recording IconC17: Music Style in a Diverse Church, Tom Jennings
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.

C18: But I Trust in Your Unfailing Love: Helping Children Grow in Faith Through the Psalms, Laura Keeley and Robert J. Keeley
The Psalms give us language we can use to talk to God.  Yet, while these Psalms are highly praised they are also often overlooked and ignored, especially with children and teens. In this workshop we will consider four building blocks of faith ("I belong," "I am called and equipped," "I understand" and "I have hope") and how the Psalms can help encourage and develop the faith of children and teens.

Audio Recording IconC19 (Saturday only): Worship in Korean Christian Communities, Won Lee
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 Korean-ness of Christian worship that relates closely to God’s liberating intervention for a people who perceive their need to move beyond oppression.

C20: Jesus Our Worship Leader, Ron Man
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.

C21: Planning Worship that Involves the Whole Person, Sophie Mathonnet-VanderWell
Protestant worship has often been accused of being only “from the neck up.” Yet, we are whole persons, fully embodied. How do those who plan worship (especially more traditional forms of worship) involve the whole person so that it is an embodied experience? This workshop will look at some considerations and some creative resources and ideas so that each participant can work on what it means in their context for worship to be fully embodied. 

C22: 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.

C23: Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
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.

C24: Longing for Jesus: Worship at a Black Holiness Church in Mississippi, 1895-1913, Lester Ruth and Carrie Steenwyk with Bishop Dale Cudjoe
What does single-minded, whole-hearted faithfulness in worship look like when one is pummeled from within and without? This workshop will explore the inspiring testimony of one congregation in Jim Crow-era Mississippi 100 years ago, under the leadership of its dynamic-preaching and songwriting pastor, Charles Price Jones.  How does one find a home, literally and figuratively, in which to worship in the midst of tumult?  We will hear how one congregation, Christ Temple, not only thrived but became the mother church of the Church of Christ [Holiness] USA, represented by Bishop Dale Cudjoe.

C25: Vital Worship: A Grants Program for Worshiping Communities, Kathy Smith with Lisa Weaver
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.

Audio Recording IconC26: Singing Songs from the Global South in a North American Church Context, Debbie Lou Ludolph and the global song ensemble Inshallah
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.

Coffee and tea break, 3:45 - 4:15 pm

Friday Vespers, 4:15 - 5 pm

  • Everlasting to Everlasting: A Cantata for Congregation based on the Hallel Psalms, composed by Greg Scheer
    Performed by Greg Scheer and friends, with Neal Plantinga, liturgist.
    College Chapel

  • Video Recording IconSinging our Prayers with the Global Community
    Debbie Lou Ludolph and Inshallah, the global song ensemble from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
    Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall

  • Jazz Vespers
    Tom Jennings, liturgist and pianist, with Julia Smith, vocals, Jonathan Gilley, bass, and Fred Knapp, percussion.
    Seminary Chapel

  • Video Stream IconWorship led by Latifah Phillips of Page CXVI
    Spend a late afternoon of worship with Latifah Phillips, singing hymns, hearing stories, and getting a sneak peek of the new hymns from the upcoming Calendar Project.
    Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium

  • Water from the Rock, a prayer service with an embodied narrative from Exodus 17
    Travis West, Sue Rozeboom, and students, all from Western Theological Seminary.
    Seminary Auditorium

Dinner and visit exhibits 5 - 6:45 pm

Video Stream IconWorship service, 7 - 8:15 pm
God of Grace and God of Glory: An Exodus Triptych
Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium


Morning worship services, 8:30 - 9:45 am

  • College Chapel: Exodus 20, Heidi De Jonge, preaching
  • Video Stream IconCovenant Fine Arts Center: Exodus 32, Michael Nabors, preaching

Refreshment break, 9:45 - 10:15 am

Plenary sessions, 10:15 - 11:15 am

  • The Mystery of Worship, Jeremy Begbie
  • Video Stream IconStrengthening Gospel-Shaped Prayers of the People: A Spirit-Shaped Agenda for the Next Decade of Worship Ministry, John Witvliet, Mark Charles, Eric Sarwar, Anne Zaki

Workshops: A, B, and C are repeated from Friday unless noted (see descriptions above).

Video Stream IconClosing Communion service, 4 - 5:15 pm

  • Covenant Fine Arts Center: Exodus 40, Jon Brown, preaching, with participation by the conference choir

Video Stream Icon live web streaming (archived as video)
Video Recording Icon video recorded
Audio Recording Icon audio recorded

After the conference visit the Resource Library to find audio and video resources from the conference.

Pre-conference events:
January Series lectures:
Anne Zaki, Monday, Jan. 27
Jeremy Begbie, Tuesday, Jan. 28

An Evening with The Brilliance
Wednesday, Jan. 29
8pm at The Ladies Literary Club, 61 Sheldon Ave. SE, about 3 miles from Calvin's campus
Tickets $5 through the Symposium online registration form.

The Brilliance are a fine example of a new wave of worship artists who have been influenced by post rock and classical music and the theology of N.T. Wright among others.

There will be a conversation with the artists immediately following the concert.
The Ladies Literary Club is a 125 year old Historic Landmark theater owned by Calvin College.

Post-conference events:
Sunday, February 2

9 and 11 am services, presenter Mark Charles preaching
Madison Square Church, 1441 Madison Ave. SE, Grand Rapids

9:30 am bi-lingual English-Spanish service, presenter Maria Cornou preaching
Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, 514 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids

9:45 am service, presenter Jeff Barker and student drama team participating in worship 
Lombard Christian Reformed Church, 2020 S. Meyers Road, Lombard, IL 60148

5 pm vesper service, presenter and hymn writer Ruth Duck participating in a Hymn Festival
Woodlawn Christian Reformed Church, the church worships in the Calvin College Chapel.