Duke University Divinity School, John Ruth

Durham, North Carolina
2021

To survey the present state of college and seminary instruction on the theology, history, and practice of contemporary praise and worship, and to engage scholars in conversation around recent and emerging scholarship on contemporary worship in order to create a podcast series and a curriculum guide for worship educators and church practitioners.

Project Summary

This project will survey the present state of college and seminary instruction on the theology, history, and practice of contemporary praise and worship. In response to the survey results, we will introduce recent and emerging scholarship on the topic to these same worship educators, as well as to church practitioners, through a podcast and pedagogical resource. 

What questions about worship and your discipline will be guiding your project?

The primary question that guides our project is, "How can the work of academic scholarship on contemporary praise and worship enrich and enliven the worship of local congregations?" In order to answer that question, we are also asking, "How new forms of media such as podcasting can enrich worship education in multiple contexts?" and "What can be learned from a diverse group of scholars about how the current state of contemporary praise and worship theology, history, and practice?" 

How do you envision this project will strengthen the worship life of congregations?

We expect that this project will strengthen the worship life of congregations by encouraging critical but charitable reflection on the history, theology, and practice of contemporary praise and worship through multiple modes of engagement, either through the podcast or through teaching that utilizes our pedagogical guides. We hope pastors, worship leaders, and lay persons not only enjoy learning but are compelled to strengthen their current practices. 

What do you expect might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

We expect our greatest challenge will be connecting with scholars in the mainstream of the liturgical studies field and getting this work into traditional liturgical studies classrooms. We also expect that the production side of podcast will create a number of new learning experiences for the team. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

We hope to learn how contemporary praise and worship interfaces with the work that is happening among other scholars and church leaders. Ideally, we will be able to draw on the insights of the other grant recipients to inform and strengthen our approach to the podcast and its goals. We also hope learn more about how the broader programming of the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship might be served by our work.