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Jubilate Studies in Christian Worship

This syllabus is for a course that is a study of Christian Worship which includes biblical and theological principles for worship, the historical development of the liturgy, cultural dynamics in contemporary worship, and explores the rich and varied resources within the ecumenical, global Christian community

I.   Jubilate: Studies in Christian Worship

Description: This course is a study of Christian Worship which includes biblical and theological principles for worship, the historical development of the liturgy, cultural dynamics in contemporary worship, and explores the rich and varied resources within the ecumenical, global Christian community. There will be an emphasis on preparing students to be both wise and discerning worshipers and competent and well-equipped worship leaders. It is assumed that participants in this course will have worship experience as well as a basic ability to read music.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course students will have acquired:

  • A grasp of the character and content of biblical texts concerning important worship themes
  • An understanding of the development and function of various components of the liturgy, and an ability to select and prepare each of these for worship.
  • A greater ability to lead worship: especailly musical leadership but also offering prayers, performing drama and readings.
  • A knowledge of the essential principles for liturgical planning, especially hymn texts.
  • An increased awareness of and appreciation for the global and ecumenical diversity of Christian worship.
  • An ability to appreciate, analyse and critique various forms of worship and their underlying theologies and traditions.
  • An understanding and appreciation of the dramatic shape of liturgy, including the liturgical year
  • Familiarity with liturgical resources that are available to worship planners and leaders


The Practice of Worship: A course that wishes to deepen student’s discernment regarding worship must include worship as one of its primary elements. Hence, each class will begin and end in worship, and other worshiping opportunities will be observed as they arise. These will be occasions for practice, reflection, analysis, and modelling.

Lectures and discussion: Lectures provide substance and starting points for discussion of the issues raised in the course. By attending lectures faithfully and well-prepared, students not only get the most from the lectures, but are also able to enter into thoughtful dialogue with fellow students and the professors. A high level of classroom openness, participation and interaction leads to better learning.

Readings, assignments: Readings from the Bible and other sources will be assigned throughout the term. Short written assignments will be given from time to time on these readings, as a means of encouraging students to keep up with the schedule of readings and to be well-prepared for classes.

Field Visits: Students will visit worship services in various ecclesiastical settings to observe and reflect on different practices, recording observations and reporting in class.

Practical Application: Students will plan and lead one campus worship service each month.

Term Paper: Students will prepare a research term paper on a topic of their choice, to be agreed upon in consultation with one of the course instructors.

Midterm Exam: A mid-term exam will be given.

Final exam: A cumulative final exam will be given during final exam week.


Chapel Assignments
Term Paper
MidTerm Exam
Final Exam

IV.   REQUIRED TEXTS (available in TKUC Bookstore)

The Bible – use the version of your choice

Dearborn, Tim A. and Coil, Scott, Worship at the Next Level (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004)

Farlee, Robert B. and Bangert, Mark Paul, Leading the Church’s Song (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1998)

Plantinga, Cornelius, Jr., and Rozeboom, Sue A. Discerning the Spirits (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003)

Van Dyk, Leanne, ed., A More Profound Alleluia (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005)

Voices United Hymnbook, United Church Publishing House, 1996


Witvliet, John D. Worship Seeking Understanding (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003).


Schedule of Themes and Readings

(subject to sudden change in favor of irrational pursuits)

Note:     WNL means Worship at the Next Level

DTS means Discerning the Spirits

MPA means A More Profound Alleluia

LCS means Leading the Church’s Song

Session 1: Introduction to the course, themes and assignments

Session 2: Foundations

Readings: WNL, chapters 1, 2; also Nairobi Statement

Session 3: Foundations

Readings: WNL ch. 4, + handouts: Witvliet chs. 12, 13, and Sourcebook Preface

Session 4: A Brief History of Hymnody

Session 5: Theological Themes: Trinity

Readings: MPA ch. 1

Session 6: Theological Themes: Sin and Grace

Readings: MPA ch. 2

Session 7: Theological Themes: Ecclesiology

Readings: MPA ch. 4

Session 8: Theological Themes: Eschatology

Readings: MPA ch. 5

Session 9: Theological Themes: Ethics

Readings: MPA ch. 6

Session 10: Theological Themes: Mission

Readings: WNL ch. 3

Session 11: Theological Themes: Justice

Readings: Wolterstorff handout

Session 12: Enjoying the Hymnody of Brian Wren

No prep required!!

Session 13: Worship: The Biblical Drama

Reading TBA

Session 14: Theological Themes: Lament

Reading: Brueggemann and Wolterstorff handouts

Session 15: The Psalms

Readings from Cal Seerveld, CS Lewis and others (handouts)

Session 16: The Body at Worship: Liturgical Movement

Special presentation

Session 17: Worship and the Visual Arts

Readings: WNL, ch. 12, handout of William Dyrness

Guest Speaker

Session 18: IONA

Reading: DTS, chs. 1, 2

Session 19: Taize

Reading: DTS, chs. 3, 4

Session 20: Orthodox

Reading: DTS, ch. 5, WNL ch. 5

Guest Presentation

Session 21: Contemporary Issues

Reading: WNL chs. 6, 7, Witvliet handout “Blessing and Bane of the North American Evangelical Megachurch”

Session 22: Contemporary Issues

Reading: WNL chs. 8-10

Session 23: Conclusions and Onward to the Kingdom