January 24–26, 2019 • Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


Each day of the conference opens and concludes with a worship service
View the conference program book (pdf). 


Choose one day-long retreat or two seminars (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). Lunch is included and will be provided near your retreat or morning seminar location.


DAY-LONG RETREATS (10:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m.)

R1: New Song. A Skillful Song. 
Tony Alonso, Emily R. Brink, Greg Scheer (moderator), and Liz Vice
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 these singer-songwriters as they speak about their approaches to creating new texts, new tunes, and the combining of texts and tunes. The afternoon will be spent discussing participants’ song submissions. Attendees of all levels and musical styles will benefit from this seminar.

R2: While We Are Waiting, Yielded and Still
Dale Cooper
This retreat will be limited to 15 people who will spend 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.


MORNING SEMINARS (10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.)

S1: The Bible in Worship: Deep Engagement with Scripture in a Culture of Low Biblical Literacy
Kevin Adams, Gary Burge, Constance Cherry, Meg Jenista Kuykendall, and Noel Snyder (moderator)
Almost every church affirms engagement with Scripture as a vital—even central—element of their worship services. Yet preachers and worship leaders are increasingly aware of the need for “remedial” work to be done for worshipers to engage well with Scripture. In a post-Christendom context, no assumptions can be made about basic biblical knowledge and understanding. This seminar will explore strategies for engaging Scripture in worship in a culture marked by low biblical literacy. Our panelists will address questions such as:

Is there in fact a biblical literacy deficit among contemporary North American worshipers, and if so, is this unique to our time? What have you observed and experienced? What are some of the major barriers to engaging Scripture well in worship? What are some strategies and practices that might promote deeper engagement with and understanding of Scripture in worship? What is the relationship between discipleship, Scriptural understanding, and corporate worship? What models set the stage for healthy engagement of Scripture in worship?

Come explore this crucial topic with other pastors, worship leaders, scholars, and church leaders. We promise not to turn this into a Bible trivia contest—but we do hope you learn something!

S2: La Intima Relación entre el culto a Dios y la Etica Social
Mariano Avila
Los profetas Isaías, Amós, y Malaquías (entre otros) mostraron la íntima relación entre el amor a Dios y el amor al prójimo. Denunciaron la manera en que sus contemporáneos separaban el culto a Dios de su conducta cotidiana hacia sus semejantes. “¿Cómo podemos decir que amamos a Dios, a quien no vemos, si no amamos a nuestro prójimo, a quien sí vemos?” Estas lecciones siguen estando vigentes hoy día para nosotros. En español.

S3: Loving our Muslim Neighbors
John Azumah, Lisa Hoogeboom, Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Matthew Kaemingk, Eric Sarwar, Cory Willson (moderator)
Practicing love is more demanding that citing Scriptures that speak about love. Nowhere does this seem more pressing for Christians in North America than when it comes to loving Muslims. Muslims are no longer only those we in North America hear about from overseas missionaries on furlough. We meet them as neighbors, co-workers, fellow citizens, and family members. In many places, churches are struggling to address the needs of discipling Christians who can demonstrate love toward Muslims in their life. What are effective ways to build positive and trusting relationships with Muslims? What type of hospitality and friendship is meaningful for Muslims? What types of formation do Christians need to be engaged in to effectively address the questions, fears, and prejudices that inhibit our acts of love towards Muslims? 

S4: Worship and Christian Community Development
David M. Bailey (moderator), Mark Charles, Angie Hong, Jack Kooreman, Robert Chao Romero, and Sandra Maria Van Opstal
More and more congregations are embracing God’s call to seek the renewal and long-term health of their neighborhoods through commitments to sustainable holistic ministries not just for those near them, but with them. How does this vision shape those congregations’ public worship services? What difference does this make for preaching, public prayer, music, the arts, and celebrations of baptism and the Lord’s Supper? How do worship and community development work together—synergistically—as congregations seek to live out the call of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

S5: Multilingual Singing for English-Speaking Congregations
Robert Batastini, Kai Ton Chau, Nina Ciesielski, María Eugenia Cornou (moderator), Jaewoo Kim, Ron Rienstra, Rebecca Snippe (moderator), and Marcell Steuernagel
One of the greatest gifts we have is the ability to worship our Lord together as the body of Christ. But with the global church at our doorstep, many worship planners and leaders in English-speaking congregations face questions of how to embrace a global liturgy. How can we sing songs from the global church well, especially when we don’t know the language or the correct rhythms? How do we find resources for leading worship that is both local and global? This seminar will include worship leaders, choir directors, and resource publishers from a variety of worshiping communities, denominations, and cultural backgrounds addressing the different ways global singing is done in their communities, why their communities sing in multiple languages, and practical tips for gradually introducing the songs of the global church into worshiping communities.

S6: Trinitarian Sacramental Theology
Kimberly Hope Belcher, J. Todd Billings, Glenn Packiam, M. Sydney Park, Laura A. Smit, and John D. Witvliet (moderator)
It is a remarkable Christian claim that God is active not only in receiving our worship, but also in inspiring, prompting, and perfecting it—drawing us into communion with God and each other. It is also remarkable that God would do this through embodied, material human actions of washing, eating, and drinking. Yet often this central Christian vision is forgotten, ignored, or distorted, and all sorts of believers are never given the opportunity to taste and see God’s beauty in this vivid and nourishing way. This session will be a doxological session, full of praise to God for this gift. It will also be instructive, pointing to key resources in the Christian tradition for further exploring this vision. And it will be practical, suggesting ideas for teaching, preaching, and public worship that live into this rich vision.

S7: Hidden Prophets of the Bible: Finding the Gospel in Hosea through Malachi
Amanda Benckhuysen, Scott Hoezee (moderator), and Michael Williams
Who are the minor prophets? What do they have to say? Why should any of us care? This delegation of twelve strange men has arrived at our church from their obscure biblical backwaters. Should we let them in? This seminar will explore the contours of these biblical books with an eye toward teaching and preaching them vibrantly.

S8: Worship in Christian Educational Institutions
Susan Burner, Bo H. Lim, Emmett G. Price III, Rod Reed, Anthony Ruff, OSB, and Joanna Wigboldy (moderator)
Many Christian educational institutions aim to provide an integrated educational experience in which students grow spiritually. In an institution that exists primarily to educate, what is the role of public worship in the formation of students? Rod Reed will explore five questions that identify and address the unique challenges and goals of public worship on the Christian campus. Panelists from a variety of higher education contexts will then share the ways in which Reed’s questions speak to the way they approach worship on their own campuses. These questions are sure to prompt deep discussion around your institution’s worship. Come with your team!  

S9: Worship 101: Skills & Drills for the Emerging Worship Leader
Calvin College Worship Apprentices and Paul Ryan
What skills are needed for faithful worship leadership? How does an aspiring worship leader develop these skills? In this seminar we will introduce two essential practices: leading in prayer and leading in song. For each practice, we will explore multiple drills that emerging worship leaders can repeat in order to grow in confidence and ability. This seminar is designed especially for emerging worship leaders and those who mentor them. 

S10: Godspeed: Holy Pacing for Faithful Ministry
Julie Canlis
How can we be faithful disciples of Jesus in a frantically busy world? What can we learn about the pace of faithful ministry? Come explore the compelling world of rural Scotland and what it taught a family engaged in contemporary parish ministry. Learn from one of the key collaborators in a 35-minute documentary, Godspeed, and begin to discern God’s calling on the pacing of your own life. Together we will engage in conversations about holy pacing for faithful ministry in your own communities. This is also offered in the afternoon.

S11: Worship and Faith Formation through the Life Cycle
Lynn Barger Elliott, Laura Fanucci, Syd Hielema, Barbara J. Newman, Kathy Smith (moderator)
How do children worship best? How can worship help young people through the teen and young adult years? What practices of worship resonate most with adults and elderly people? And how can we include people of all abilities in worship? This seminar will look at the human life cycle and the developmental stages that all people grow through in their faith formation, and we’ll consider what this means for how people of all ages and abilities can participate fully in worship.

S12: Leading Congregational Song from the Organ Bench
John Ferguson
John Ferguson will explore concepts from registrations to basic improvisational techniques to help organists nurture congregational song during worship and encourage singing with greater understanding and spirit. Organists interested in being coached during the seminar are encouraged to prepare a hymn from Lift Up Your Hearts, including an introduction, as if it were for a worship service.

S13: Hands on Clay: Create, Reflect, Celebrate
Anna Greidanus
Join an invitation to engage human hands and the material of the earth as a means of expressing beyond words. This seminar in clay will emphasize the gifts of human imagination, the responsive nature of clay as material, and gestures of the hand. Exploring clay as vehicle and metaphor in contemplative expression, material-based exercises encourage ideas for artistic engagement in worship. Explore intersections of creativity, reflection, and celebration with no previous studio art experience required. Artists in any medium also welcome. Limited to 12. This is also offered in the afternoon.

S14: Visual Liturgy: Illuminating Worship Spaces with Technology
Stephen Proctor
The advent of modern technology has opened a world of possibilities for creative worship. But many church leaders and artists are struggling with how to tastefully and artfully implement production without Sunday morning turning into a “show.” There is a tension to be explored here. In this seminar, we will talk about how to curate sacred spaces that illuminate rather than entertain. More specifically, we will look at examples of how visual media and technology can be used to care for our liturgical spaces.

S15: Engaging Contemporary Prophetic Art: Posters for Hope, Peace, and Social Justice
John August Swanson
Throughout church history, art has not only expressed Christian prayer but also embodied prophetic response to injustice. This artistic vision is beautifully expressed in the work of John August Swanson. For the last five years Swanson has been working out this vision in his posters on Peace and Social Justice. He writes:

These posters are the re-imagining of artwork from different periods in my life to bring forth ideas of hope, dialogs between people, and possibilities for change. With these posters, I return to my very early beginnings, when I took Sr. Corita Kent’s evening class at Immaculate Heart College in 1967–68. Corita had been asked to create an environment of social justice for the 1968 World Council of Churches in Uppsala, Sweden. She asked her class to “get working” on large cardboard kiosks. The class responded with a great amount of excitement and work. We carved many alphabet sets from rubber erasers and used these alphabets to stamp out, and paint messages for justice, civil rights, hunger, poverty, and peace. The large kiosks were used in the walkways around the Council meeting areas at the University of Uppsala. I have continued to use these alphabets, as well as the skills that I learned from the class and Sister Corita’s own work. My posters connect with Dag Hammarskjöld’s statement: "Working at the edge of the development of human society is to work on the brink of the unknown. Much of what is done will one day prove to have been of little avail. That is no excuse for the failure to act in the ultimate result of the creative evolution in which it is our privilege to cooperate.We may not see the results of our work, but at least we try."

Come and learn from Swanson and view more than 40 of his posters on Peace and Social Justice. This seminar is held at the Catholic Information Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Transportation from Calvin College is provided. You will eat lunch there.


AFTERNOON SEMINARS (1:30-3:30 p.m.)

S16: Framing Worship for Missional Engagement
Kevin Adams (moderator), Stephen De Wit, Angie Hong, and Glenn Packiam
How is worship both historic and hospitable? How can timeless worship practices be winsome and missional, captivating the hearts and minds of both veteran believers and spiritual novices? The panel will describe the contours of leading worship and share best practices for worship within the tension of local contextualization and timeless catholicity.

S17: Faith, Work, and Worship: The Strategic and Overlooked Role of Local Congregations
Katherine Leary Alsdorf, Laura Fanucci, Matthew Kaemingk, and Cory Willson (moderator)
Resources and initiatives to help Christians connect their faith with their work continue to proliferate in North America. However, what is often lacking in these discussions is a focus on local congregations and their role in engaging in this vital aspect of discipleship. This involves making connections between Sunday worship and weekday life in the world much more vivid through adapting worship practices, providing resources for daily devotional life, and challenging the frameworks for connecting worship and life that currently exist in our ministries. These connections mean quite different things for people in different stages of life and in different cultural and geographic contexts. How can we strengthen the connections between liturgy and faith and faith and work for young professionals, the unemployed, homemakers, and those approaching retirement? What intentional changes do churches need to make to form disciples equipped to pursue their daily work in light of their faith?

S18: Worship and Culture
John Azumah, Monique Ingalls, Terry LeBlanc, Robert Chao Romero, Leopoldo A. Sánchez, and John D. Witvliet (moderator)
All pastoral leaders, including worship leaders, are called to make decisions with discernment about culture. We are called to “not conform to this world” (Rom. 12) and yet to “be all things to all people” for the sake of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:22). At its best, Christian worship is richly contextual. It is also countercultural. To make discerned choices about how worship relates to culture, we need the wisdom of believers from many different cultural contexts to teach and guide us, to keep us from rejecting what should not be rejected and embracing what should not be embraced.  We must learn from the church’s tragic mistakes over the centuries as well as from its examples of faithful witness and contextual adaptation. Panelists will offer reflections on massive historical problems such as colonialism, but they also will highlight cultural discernment decisions that present opportunities for faithfulness in individual churches. Our aim is for a global conversation that also feels very local. 

S19: 11AM: Hope for America’s Most Segregated Hour
David M. Bailey with responses by Mark Charles
In the wake of increased racial tensions, an organization in Richmond, Virginia, steps into the fray with a fresh, bold vision: Raise up and train a new generation of artistic leaders to write a new narrative in the former capital of the Confederacy. With such diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences, could this group of young musicians really bring hope for change to America’s most segregated hour? In this seminar we will watch this documentary film together and have a time of reflection and discussion.

S20: Preaching, Praying, Singing, and the Wonders of Creation 
Ryan Bebej, Deborah Haarsma, and Scott Hoezee (moderator)
Learning more about God’s creation through exploration, observation, and science enhances our worship, our preaching, and our adoration of our great God. This seminar will look at some specific facets of creation and consider how knowing such things expands our awe and so also our delight in talking about, singing about, and preaching about the Lord of all creation, whose glory is over all the universe.

S21: Songwriters and Scholars in Partnership: Deepening Worship Music through Historical, Theological, and Scriptural Study
Bruce Benedict, Constance Cherry, Eddie Espinosa, Satrina Reid, and Noel Snyder (moderator)
There are countless songwriters who love the church and want to see local congregations flourish. The same may be said of scholars as well. Yet how often do these two worlds overlap—scholarship and songwriting? How often do these two groups team up to promote vital worship? Panelists will reflect on recent movements toward deepening worship music through promoting greater interaction between scholars and songwriters. With personal stories and observations from both scholars and songwriters, this seminar will explore the following questions:

  • What would prompt songwriters and scholars to work together?
  • What might stand in the way of these partnerships going well?
  • What kind of new music emerges when these two groups spend time together? Is there anything distinctive to be said about scholar-informed songwriting?
  • How does the worship life of churches benefit when contemporary songwriting is prompted by scholarly perspectives—by deep historical, liturgical, theological, Scriptural, and contextual study?
  • What best practices might enable these types of partnerships to happen in a mutually enriching way?

Songwriters, scholars, pastors, worship leaders, and church members all will find something to be encouraged by in this conversation. You might even be inspired to form partnerships of your own!

S22: Worship in Times of Crisis and Trauma
Anthony L. Bennett, Nancy Kingwood, Nikki Lerner, Bo H. Lim, Kathy Smith (moderator)
How can we plan and lead worship in the midst of a crisis or in the aftermath of a traumatic situation? Whether we’ve faced a school shooting or a racially fueled event or simply recognized the many traumatic experiences in the lives of the people in our congregations, we need to understand the issues involved and be able to process them well in the context of worshiping God. We need to lead the people in expressing their laments to God as well as assure them of God’s healing presence. This seminar will share the wisdom of leaders who’ve been “through the fire” and are eager to help others learn how to prepare for the crises and traumas ahead—because they will come!

S23: Baptism as an Act of Pastoral Care
Joyce Borger (moderator), David Den Haan, Sam Gutierrez, Cindy Holtrop, Emily Vanden Heuvel, Karl VanHarn, and Lisa M. Weaver
We often think of ourselves as passive witnesses when we are present for the baptism of another person. But could it be that there is a lot more going on? What changes when we view each baptism as our own renewal ceremony? What difference might the remembrance of our baptismal identity make in our daily living? How might pastoral care draw on the significance of our baptism? Listen to this panel of pastors and practitioners as together we examine the sacrament of baptism, its meaning and significance, and how it might be a foundation for pastoral work with those of us living with mental illnesses, struggling with questions of identity, approaching death, or other life challenges. 

S24: Worship 101: Skills & Drills for the Emerging Worship Planner
Calvin College Worship Apprentices and Paul Ryan
How does one design worship to enable the full participation of the people? What practices for emerging worship planners are best to acquire? In this seminar we will introduce two vital practices for planning worship: choosing songs and choosing Scripture. For each practice we will explore multiple drills that emerging worship planners can repeat in order to grow in creativity and faithfulness. This seminar is designed especially for emerging worship planners and those who mentor them. 

S25: Godspeed: Holy Pacing for Faithful Ministry
Julie Canlis
How can we be faithful disciples of Jesus in a frantically busy world? What can we learn about the pace of faithful ministry? Come explore the compelling world of rural Scotland, and what it taught a family engaged in contemporary parish ministry. Learn from one of the key collaborators in a 35-minute documentary, Godspeed, and begin to discern God’s calling on the pacing of your own life. Together we will engage in conversations about holy pacing for faithful ministry in your own communities.

S26: We All Worship: Dis-Abling the Ways We Are Gathered and Sent
Benjamin T. Conner, Barbara J. Newman, and L. S. Carlos Thompson
Participants will consider the theological rationale for implementing a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to congregational worship and discipleship. They will be introduced to three key UDL principles and will be given examples of UDL in action in congregations. The session will also attempt to embody the principles being taught. 

S27: How Music Deepens Participation in the Lord’s Supper and Baptisms: Insights from Global Cultures
María Eugenia Cornou (moderator), Birgitta Johnson, Jean Ngoya Kidula, Yvette Lau, Arbin Pokharel, Eric Sarwar, and Marcell Steuernagel
All around the world, Christians sing together before, during, and/or after celebrating the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Learn from the richly varied practices of communities all over the world. Explore memorable, deeply loved heartsongs for these occasions in a variety of cultural contexts. Reflect on your own context and the heartsongs you already know, love, and use regularly. Discern how your own congregation’s diet of heartsongs might grow over the next few years as a way of entering even more deeply into the beauty of these celebrations.

S28: You Expect Me to Do What with These?! An Introduction to the Art of Handbell Ringing 
Norma de Waal Malefyt
This seminar is an introduction to the techniques of group handbell ringing and its potential for use as a small group ministry of a church or a worshiping community. Those registering for this hands-on seminar should be able to read musical notation.

S29: Mentoring Young Worship Leaders in the Church
Lynn Barger Elliott, M. Sydney Park, Nicole Saint-Victor, Dale Sieverding, SLD, and Joanna Wigboldy (moderator)
What role do young people have in leading worship in your congregation? In this session, participants will learn from the experience of ministry leaders from multiple church contexts, asking questions such as:
Why is it important to you to include young people in leading worship?
What best practices have you learned? What challenges have you faced?
How do you create a space in which young people are equipped to lead well and the congregation is equipped to receive their leadership?
This session will provide a framework and practical tips is for adults interested in starting or honing their practices of mentoring middle and high school worship leaders in their congregation.

S30: The Father and His Two Sons: A Story of Homecoming
Laura de Jong (moderator), Larry Gerbens, Steve Prince, Edward Riojas, and John August Swanson
The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 is one of the most powerful and evocative stories Jesus told. Its universal themes of greed and regret, arrogance and repentance, sin and redemption, jealousy and acceptance, and compassionate forgiveness resonate richly with each retelling. This parable has inspired the work of artists throughout the centuries. In many times and places and using many methods and media, artists have sought to visualize this story. Despite the differences in their work, the message of God’s love remains constant. Join three artists and their collector in this conversation around the art and story of forgiveness as illustrated by the parable of the prodigal son.

S31: Hands on Clay: Create, Reflect, Celebrate
Anna Greidanus
Join an invitation to engage human hands and the material of the earth as a means of expressing beyond words. This seminar in clay will emphasize the gifts of human imagination, the responsive nature of clay as material, and gestures of the hand. Exploring clay as vehicle and metaphor in contemplative expression, material-based exercises encourage ideas for artistic engagement in worship. Explore intersections of creativity, reflection, and celebration with no previous studio art experience required. Artists in any medium also welcome. Limited to 12.

S32: La próxima adoración
Sandra Maria Van Opstal
La Mesa es una imagen dominante para los seguidores de Cristo que se reúnen juntos para adorarlo. Comunica amistad, compromiso e intimidad. La iglesia necesita líderes que trabajen con el objetivo de ver a cada tribu y lengua presente, reconciliada y dispuesta a celebrar la diversidad en la Mesa de la adoración en comunidad. Este taller está diseñado para inspirar y equipar a los líderes para dirigir la adoración multiétnica y multilingüe en el contexto de las iglesias locales. Este seminario proporcionará herramientas prácticas aprendidas de experiencias concretas tanto en entornos globales como urbanos.


  • From the Rising of the Sun / Desde la salida del sol: A Bilingual Service led by Tony Alonso (Calvin Theological Seminary Chapel)
  • Evening Prayer led by John Ferguson and the Choral Scholars (Calvin College Chapel)
  • Salvation Belongs to the Lord: The Story of Jonah (Spoelhof Center, Gezon Auditorium)
  • Restored in Christ: A Service led by Grace and Peace Church (Covenant Fine Arts Center, Recital Hall)
  • Sing to the Lord: A Service of Song led by The Psalm Project (Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium)





The Many Streams of African American Congregational Song
James Abbington, Robert Batastini, G. Ingrid Faniel, Jason Max Ferdinand, Birgitta Johnson, Bryan Johnson, Carl MaultsBy, Judith McAllister, Anthony B. Vinson Sr., and Lisa M. Weaver

Beyond Teamwork: Cultivating Spiritual Community Among Your Worship Leaders
Ruth Haley Barton    


Workshops are offered Friday and repeated on Saturday unless noted.


SESSION A WORKSHOPS (11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)

AL: Optional lunch break

A1: Gospel Choir rehearsal (Friday)
James Abbington, Jason Max Ferdinand, and Judith McAllister
Come ready to sing from the many streams of African-American congregational song in preparation for the Friday evening service. There will also be a rehearsal Wednesday evening.

A2: Framing Worship for Missional Engagement
Kevin Adams, Stephen De Wit, and Jill Ver Steeg
This workshop will encourage, inspire, and offer wisdom to those determined to missionally engage spiritually illiterate church attenders. We will practice framing elements of the timeless worship ordo in a way that helps all congregants see the ordo’s inherent winsomeness and contagious mission shape. Attendees will be empowered to find their own worship voice rooted in the best and deepest Christian practices and customized for their congregations and neighborhoods.

A3: In Splendid, Varied Ways: Preparing Music for Intercultural Worship 
Tony Alonso
This presentation will explore critical dimensions of music in intercultural worship: What does it sound like? Who is leading it? How is it prepared? How is it evaluated? Grounded in pastoral practice in a range of communities in the United States as well as in guiding documents on multicultural worship, we will discuss how far we have come and how far we must go to embrace the rich diversity of the contemporary landscape in our sung prayer.

A4: Conversation on Beyond Teamwork: Cultivating Spiritual Community Among Your Worship Leaders
Ruth Haley Barton, hosted by Jeff Sajdak
An opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions related to the plenary session.

A5: Four Practices for Life-giving Community
Timothy Blackmon
Whether you lead a church, a ministry, or a not for profit organization, this workshop explores indispensable practices for helping all organizations flourish and thrive.

A6: Forum for High School Students (Saturday)
Calvin Worship Apprentices
All high school students are invited to this informal testimony time led by the Calvin College Worship Apprentices. Listen to their stories of being called to worship leadership at Calvin, what they have been learning this school year as a worship team, and more.

A7: Tools for Planning Worship
Kai Ton Chau, Greg Scheer, Rebecca Snippe, and Joanna Wigboldy
This workshop will feature three excellent tools for planning and leading worship: Preachingandworship.org, Hymnary.org, and Reformedworship.org. Whether you are familiar with these resources or need an introduction, you will leave with several ideas on how to navigate and utilize these resources with your worship planning team.

A8: Ways We Witness: Disability and the Mission of the Church
Benjamin T. Conner
With the statement “You shall be my witnesses,” Jesus set the trajectory for the book of Acts and established the vocation of the church today. What does it mean to be witnesses to the kingdom of God as part of a church that includes in its body people with disabilities and in a world where disabling conditions are an unsurprisingly normal aspect of human existence? What are some ways that the experience of disability can critique, shape, and enrich practices of Christian witness?

A9: Conversation on The Many Streams of African American Congregational Song with the editorial team of One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
(Friday) G. Ingrid Faniel, Birgitta Johnson, Carl MaultsBy, Anthony B. Vinson
(Saturday) James Abbington, Robert Batastini, Jason Max Ferdinand, Bryan Johnson, and Judith McAllister
Hosted by Lisa M. Weaver
An opportunity for conference attendees to ask questions related to the plenary session.

A10: Worship Leading Then and Now: A Conversation with Eddie Espinosa
Eddie Espinosa and Noel Snyder
How has worship leadership changed in the last thirty years? What approaches have come and gone? In this Q&A Eddie Espinosa, worship leader with the Vineyard movement for more than twenty years and composer of many well-loved worship songs, reflects with Worship Institute staff member Noel Snyder about what God has been teaching him as a worship leader over the years.

A11: Moving Worship: Encouragement to Engage Our Bodies in Worship 
Julia Start Fletcher 
This session is designed for anyone curious about dance as well as those with dance experience. Participants will engage in conversation around the questions “What IS liturgical dance?” and “How can I equip my congregation with the tools to feel comfortable moving?” Learn how to encourage movement with choreography to the Lord’s Prayer that’s accessible to those of all abilities, and understand how to cultivate an atmosphere of trust. 

A12: Making Worship a Verb for All Ages: Cultivating Worship Awareness and Inviting Response
Terri Gaeddert and Rosi Penner Kaufman
WorshipArts at Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City is a program for K-5th grade congregants. Influenced by the Reggio Emilia teaching and learning approach, this program offers children the opportunity to respond to worship, ask questions, and become more aware of the language, ritual, movement, sound, and art incorporated in worship. A Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Worship Institute in 2014–15 provided the resources to expand awareness and integration of the program more fully into the worship life of the Rainbow congregation. 

A13: Visual Arts 101: An Exploration of Its Purpose-full Role in Worship Today
Betsy Steele Halstead
Visual arts can reflect the deeper meaning and purpose of worship. We will explore how visual arts have influenced corporate worship and how art plays a broad range of roles in worship. We will discover the biblical foundation for encouraging disciplined creativity, see how every space speaks theologically, and consider the purpose-full visual elements of worship.

A14: The Intergenerational Church and the Home: Supporting Each Other’s Worship and Faith Formation Practices (Friday)
Syd Hielema
Worshiping communities and homes are intergenerational partners in encouraging mutual worship and faith formation. This mutual support takes careful cultivation of healthy habits and practices, bridge building between the two, and a great deal of perseverance focused on the telos. This workshop will explore why this mutuality is crucial and will provide dozens of practical ideas for taking wise steps with church leaders, parents and grandparents, and caregivers.

A15: With Healing in His Wings: Preaching Luke’s Gospel of Justice and Wholeness
Scott Hoezee
Luke may well be one of the best writers ever to be used by the inspiration of the Spirit to write biblical books. Luke’s gospel is well known for its themes related to justice and healing. As the Year C Lectionary will focus on Luke in 2019, this workshop will summarize key characteristics of Luke’s gospel and highlight preaching ideas and strategies for conveying Luke’s liberating message of salvation and celebration.

A16: Worship in an Egalitarian Zone: Equitable Practices for Kingdom Worship
Angie Hong
How can we imagine our corporate worship services as opportunities to practice equity across lines of gender, race, socioeconomics, and sexuality? Using the economic model of “egalitarian zones” in our faith communities, we will explore ways to facilitate worship that include everyone at the table. Specific methods, strategies, and resources will be shared, and there will be time for us to imagine new ways of liturgical living relevant to our own contexts. 

A17: The Enriching Practice of Using Multiple Bible Translations in Corporate Worship
Lisa Hoogeboom
The public reading and singing of the Bible, an integral part of worship for millennia, can be remarkably enriched by the integration of diverse translations and versions. In this workshop we will discuss the benefits of “straying” from a single version, including a deeper understanding of the nature of God and of the Scriptures and the development of a spirit of unity with fellow believers in an age too often marked by divisiveness and discord. Along the way we will reference current issues in translation such as gendered language, and we will consider the role of Scriptural paraphrases such as The Message

A18: Worship for Workers: (Re)Connecting Sunday and Monday Morning
Matthew Kaemingk
A chasm exists for the people of God between their worship on Sunday morning and their work on Monday morning. One is seen as purely sacred and the other as purely secular. One is understood as holy and beautiful while the other is understood to be profane and mundane. This workshop will explore why this chasm exists, why it is problematic for both our worship and our work, and how worship leaders can help their congregations overcome it.

A19: Going to Church with Augustine
Han-luen Kantzer Komline
What would it have been like to worship with Augustine in Hippo? Even more specifically, what would it have been like to experience him as a preacher? In this workshop we will reenact some of the tangible and audible elements of an Augustinian sermon, analyze a short specimen of Augustinian preaching, and reflect on what this experience of “going to church with Augustine” reveals about Augustine’s context, his larger theology of preaching and worship, and our own contemporary assumptions and practices.

A20: Worship and Culture: A Conversation
Terry LeBlanc and John D. Witvliet
All pastoral leaders, including worship leaders, are called to make decisions with discernment about culture. We are called to “not conform to this world” (Rom. 12) and yet to “be all things to all people” for the sake of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:22). At its best, Christian worship is richly contextual. It is also countercultural. To make discerned choices about how worship relates to culture, we need the wisdom of believers from many different cultural contexts to teach and guide us as well as to keep us from rejecting what should not be rejected and embracing what should not be embraced. We must learn from the church’s tragic mistakes over the centuries as well as from its examples of faithful witness and contextual adaptation. Join Terry LeBlanc and John Witvliet as they explore these issues and some deep historical problems along with present-day opportunities for faithfulness in individual churches.

A21: The Four Perspectives: Preaching the Broad Scope of Divine Drama
Ahmi Lee
How can preachers be attentive to the full account of God’s story while being aware of the contexts where we must enact the reality of being in Christ? In this workshop we will examine four essential practices that guide preachers in sermon preparation.

A22: 10 Ways to Appropriately Respond to Racially-Fueled Events
Nikki Lerner
Where is the manual for this? How does your ministry respond appropriately when events happen? Move from fear to freedom as you are empowered with creative ideas, inspiration, and safe conversation that will help you know how to lead effectively during divisive times. 

A23: Encoded Hope in Evangelical Worship (Friday)
Glenn Packiam
What do Christians sing about when they sing about hope? This workshop explores the kind of hope encoded in contemporary worship songs that are said to bring hope to the worshiper.

A24: How to Play (and use) Psalms
The Psalm Project
Learn with the members of The Psalm Project how to play and sing Psalms. Old hymns, Genevan tunes and other psalm arrangements (Taizé) in contemporary settings. Explore how can you use psalms in your service to let people participate, educate, contemplate and sing praise!

A25: Modelos de santificación (Friday)
Leopoldo A. Sánchez
Tanto en la Escritura como en la historia antigua y presente de la iglesia, la santificación se define de acuerdo a diversas narrativas y experiencias. En este taller presentaremos diversas imágenes de la santificación, mostrando cómo cada imagen presenta la obra del Espíritu Santo, trata diversos retos de la vida cristiana, y atiende a distintas necesidades del ser humano. Se considerarán las implicaciones pedagógicas de cada imagen para el culto o la adoración de la iglesia, y las aplicaciones de la temática para la comunidad hispana-latina.

A25: Inviting North American Neighbors into the Spiritual Life: Models of Sanctification from Spirit Christology in Conversation with US Studies on Spirituality (Saturday)
Leopoldo A. Sánchez
What are sociologists of religion, intergenerational gurus, and missional leaders saying about the spiritual struggles, needs, and hopes of North American neighbors today? How can church leaders tell compelling stories that might address these neighbors’ questions about spirituality? In this session, we will explore five models of life in the Spirit and ask how they might offer an opportunity for church leaders (including worship leaders) to dialogue with others and invite them into the spiritual life. One of the models deals with hospitality as a mark of the church, an important Christlike way of living in a world filled with immigrants and refugees.

A26: Top Ten Choral Techniques for Church Choir Directors (Saturday)
Pearl Shangkuan
This session will offer ten (and more!) tried and true choral techniques for church choir directors suitable for all ages to improve posture, tone, diction, phrasing, rhythm, intonation, and projection.

A27: The Impact of History on Worship Today: Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Synod of Dort
Kathy Smith
What does an event held 400 years ago mean for our worship and faith formation today? This workshop will highlight the key learnings of the Synod of Dort, held in 1618–1619 in the Netherlands to help the newly developing Protestant and Reformed churches sort out their beliefs and worship practices. Come and learn how this significant historical event continues to affect Christian theology and worship today in North America and around the world.

A28: Sharing Our Stories: The Art of John August Swanson
In this biographical workshop, Swanson will discuss and give an overview of his 50 years of fine art print making. He will examine the development of his artwork, and reflect on how he continues to redefine, reexamine, and revise ideas while creating his intricately detailed paintings, serigraphs, etchings, and giclées. He will exchange thoughts on the changing forms of his art, and the reaffirming of Christian values, such as: caring for each other, acting as peacemakers, and listening to each other. From his representations of Bible stories to his urban scenes of everyday life, and his circus and music works, he uses his visual gift to share our stories, and to show us that which brings us together.

In exploring the role of a creator in society within a religious setting, an artist is only a servant offering his/her talent to the community and to God.


SESSION B WORKSHOPS (1:15-2:15 p.m.)

BL: Optional lunch break

B1: Five Faces of Islam
John Azumah
Officially, Islam has five articles of faith and five pillars or duties. Muslims are required to believe in the articles of faith and observe the duties. The sectarian differences among Muslims such as Sunni, Shia etc are common knowledge. The five faces of Islam, however, is an attempt to look at the various ways different Muslims across sectarian divides have sought to express their faith. The five ways or “faces” we have categorized these different expressions are the Missionary, Mystical, Political, Militant and Progressive. An objective presentation of these faces will enable participants to appreciate the diverse ways Muslims understand and seek to manifest their faith in the world today. And more importantly, the workshop will explore appropriate Christian responses to each of the different faces. 

B2: Coaching on Universal Design for Worship
Sarah Jean Barton and Barbara J. Newman
We have heard your requests for brainstorming help! Many communities are looking for very specific ideas for implementing universal design for worship to better include people with disabilities in their congregations. Sign up for a thirty-minute slot where you or a small team from your church can meet with Sarah and Barbara for some brainstorming.

B3: When All Heaven Breaks Loose: Eschatology and Exceptions to Liturgical Norms
Kimberly Hope Belcher
Liturgical norms about participating in worship are often broken, such as in crisis situations or when Christians are near death. We normally consider these pastoral exceptions, but using cases in which Protestant or Orthodox Christians have been permitted to receive Roman Catholic communion, Prof. Belcher will argue that they are eschatological exceptions. Christians in crisis experience the presence of the parousia, and express their confidence in a liberty from norms we ordinarily follow. In this sense, liturgical rules are made to be broken: that is, they construct a normal that allows us to recognize when all heaven is breaking loose. How can eschatology guide a broader application of these exceptions to the rules? Come find out!

B4: The Costly Loss of the OT Prophets
Amanda Benckhuysen
Old Testament prophetic texts are hard. They are hard to preach, and they can be hard to understand. Because of this—with the exception of a few messianic passages that show up during Advent and Holy Week—the prophetic books rarely get a hearing in most North American churches. Yet without the prophets we are left with a truncated understanding of the mission of God and God’s redemptive work. In this workshop we will explore common themes in the Old Testament prophets and their importance for shaping the Christian imagination today. We will also consider strategies and ideas for recovering the preaching and study of the prophets within our church communities.

B5: Lift Up Your Hearts: 10 Things You May Not Know (Saturday)
Joyce Borger
This workshop will appeal to current users, new users, and potential users of the hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts. It will expand your understanding of the hymnal itself and its accompanying resources for use in worship planning and more.

B6: How to Preach from a Parable
Gary Burge
Speaking in parables was Jesus’ preferred form of teaching.  Both his world and ours are drawn to these concise, poignant stories. This seminar will analyze the parable in its ancient cultural context, illustrate how parables can be interpreted, outline a few pitfalls, and provide a case study using one of Jesus’ most difficult stories, The Parable of the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:1–13). 

B7: Developing a Canon of Song for Your Church
Constance Cherry
How much intentionality comes to bear on the collection of congregational songs your church sings over time? As worship leaders, we are responsible not only for choosing excellent songs, but also for providing for the overall balance and appropriateness of the church’s body of song.

B8: Choral Reading Session
Pearl Shangkuan
This reading session features pieces for all seasons of the liturgical year in a variety of voicings and musical styles.
Friday: Choral repertoire from GIA Publications, Inc. including the CICW Choral Series with GIA 
Saturday: Choral repertoire from the Augsburg Fortress and Morningstar Publishers catalogs

B9: The Gift of Years: Growing Old and Preparing to Die Well as Twin Christian Callings
Dale Cooper
Both Scripture and the church’s long tradition call Jesus-followers to steward well together their advancing years and approaching death. We’ll examine together some implications of that call.

B10: From Generation to Generation: Training Young Pianists to Play in Worship
Norma de Waal Malefyt
This workshop will provide resources to help young (and not so young) pianists develop skills and strategies for accompanying congregational singing in worship. Examples will be taken from metrical hymnody and from more contemporary worship songs and will be designed for settings in which the primary musical leadership is offered on keyboard instruments.

B11: Music as Exegetical Art
John Ferguson
Does music inform the listeners’ encounter with the text of a hymn, anthem, or solo? John Ferguson will explore the exegetical, interpretive potential of music to inform our understanding of texts we sing or hear. We will consider examples that highlight different dimensions of a text or affect the perceived message of a text. This session will be of interest to those leading or selecting the songs we sing or hear at worship.

B12: Forum for Christian High School Chapel Programs (Friday)
Mary Hulst
All Christian high school students and their leaders are invited to this informal time of mutual sharing and learning about the deep meaning and purpose of worship within the context of Christian high school worshiping communities.

B13: Why Peer Learning Matters for Pastors and Preachers
Duane Kelderman
Each Monday morning preaching pastors are keenly aware that Sunday’s coming, and it’s coming fast. How can pastors sustain themselves in their preaching ministries in ways that are life-giving, formative, and relational—qualities that will not only strengthen the pastor but also the entire worshiping community? One encouraging practice is forming a pastor peer learning group. This session explores the benefits—some predictable, some surprising— that preaching pastors report from being members of such a group and the ways seminary programs are structuring peer groups as an effective pedagogical tool for life-long learning and ministerial health.

B14: Worshiping Following the Trauma of a School Shooting
Bo H. Lim
In June 2014 the campus of Seattle Pacific University experienced the horror of a campus shooting spree resulting in the death of one student, injury to two others, and trauma to numerous students, staff, and faculty. Hours after the shooting occurred, the Seattle Pacific community gathered to worship in response to the tragedy. This service would be first of many held by the community over the next four years. This session will provide an overview of the vital theological, pastoral, educational, and practical issues for a Christian college responding in corporate worship to gun violence and communal trauma. The focus will be the role of corporate worship in healing, instruction, and public witness to the diverse community of a university comprising students, staff, faculty, and external constituents. 

B15: The Remarkable Story of Christian Churches in China: How North American Christians Can Pray For and With Believers Overseas
Li Ma
What does it mean to be a Christian in China today? How do Christians there remember the past and remake the present? Mary Li Ma, author of two books (Surviving the State, Remaking the Church and The Chinese Exodus), presents real-life stories of Christians who lived in different phases of political suppression in mainland China. The faithful witness of Chinese Christians as well as their failures remind North American Christians to resist both political and cultural ideologies prevalent in our contemporary world.

B16: Philippians 2: Christian Unity by Self-Sacrifice
M. Sydney Park
What does Paul mean when he says "count others as more significant than yourselves" in Philippians 2:3? In the modern culture of self-actualization, doesn't this sound like self-denigration? Even more significantly, how precisely can we as Christians demonstrate this mindset, particularly, in the context of Sunday worship? How does this affect one of the critical components of service--the proclamation of the word? This presentation will explore the necessity of self-sacrifice in the process of proclaiming and hearing the word, as well as the implications for preparation prior to that proclamation and consequence of ethics and disposition post proclamation. What self-sacrifice is required prior to proclamation for either the pastor or laity and what self-sacrifice results in light of the sermon? The Christ-like mindset of self-emptying will be explored from several dimensions of community life, especially in light of the centrality of God's word on Sunday morning.

B17: Beyond Labels:  Encouraging Spiritual Formation in Millennials and Gen Z
Rod Reed
Headlines about millennials and Gen Z are everywhere, and many written about them (not by them) are critical, fearful, or frustrated about these generations. Is it possible to get beyond typecasting and stereotypes to discover unique opportunities and challenges for encouraging them to be formed into the image of Christ? In this workshop we will go beyond superficial tips about technology and work/life balance to explore the ways in which churches and Christian schools can create worshiping communities that engage these generations and the culture in which they live.

B18: Artwork in the Church: Underscoring Holy Scripture
Edward Riojas
The role of visual arts in the church has been debated over the centuries. The presence or lack of visual art has often helped to define church bodies, but questions remain: Why do it in the first place? How does it best benefit the worshiper? What can it mean? By exploring the works and installations of nationally known sacred artist Edward Riojas, these questions will be addressed in the context of the Christian church in a world in need of God’s saving grace.

B19: The "Brown Church," Christian Identity, and The Ordinary Practices of Christian Worship
Robert Chao Romero and John D. Witvliet
This session will offer a conversation with Robert Chao Romero about how worship practices relate to the themes of his forthcoming book, The Brown Church: Toward a Latina/o Christian Social Justice History and Identity. In churches in every cultural context, patterns of public prayer, preaching, music and the arts and other elements of worship often convey powerful implicit messages about the church's relationships with colonialism, justice, and the power structures and assumptions of culture at large. One task for fruitful ministry is to learn to recognize these implicit messages, to confront the ways that they may distort the gospel, and to affirm ways in which they support the gospel. Come to learn from Prof. Romero's remarkable experiences as a university professor and a pastoral mentor to justice advocates.

B20: Musical Treasures, Liturgical Transformations
Anthony Ruff, OSB, with Emily R. Brink
Hear the story of Fr. Anthony Ruff’s life and ministry at the epicenter of the liturgical movement of the twentieth century for both Catholics and many Protestants. Learn how the liturgical community balances its cherished traditions of daily prayer, artistic excellence (e.g., the St. John’s Bible), and the neverending changes in worship music energized by global Catholic communities. Explore Ruff’s passion for pastoral music in worship that is itself a spiritual practice, and learn the key insights he has gleaned from his comprehensive study of the history of Christian worship music.

B21: The Little Church That Could: Working toward Worship Excellence in the Small Church
Greg Scheer
Worship conferences can be inspiring, but they often leave leaders of small churches thinking, “I could never do that.” While it’s likely true that small congregations can’t replicate the worship of conferences, mega-churches, or cathedrals, we can continue to move toward excellence in our own smaller settings. In this workshop, we will explore practical principles for fully utilizing the worship resources we have.

B22: Truth that Awakens Holy Desire
Laura A. Smit
The ideal preacher should be able both to convey the truths of the Christian faith clearly and to inspire a wholehearted commitment to living out those truths, but in practice most of us are better at one part of that equation than the other. One teacher who was very good at doing both was C. S. Lewis. In his book The Abolition of Man Lewis offers a clue about how to manage this integration. Lewis says there is an integrative quality in human beings that allows the true things we believe to become meaningful in our lives. He gives this quality a few different names—sometimes it is the quality of “the chest,” mediating between the reason of the head and the appetites of the belly, and sometimes it is magnanimity, which is the quality of having a great soul. Henry Scougal, another great teacher, famously said, “The worth and excellency of a soul can be measured by the object of its love.” The great-souled quality that Lewis described depends on loving and desiring what is worthy and excellent. In this session we’ll discuss ways to preach and teach “into the chest” in ways that awaken such love and desire. 

 B23: Children’s Books about Worship
Kristen Verhulst with María Eugenia Cornou and Joel Schoon-Tanis
There are a number of wonderful children’s books that help church school leaders, educators, parents, and grandparents teach children about worship. These books focus on the sacraments, the Christian year, the psalms, and prayer. Children’s books provide another means to welcome and engage children (and adults!) in worship as full members of the body of Christ. At the beginning of this session hear from the coauthor and illustrator of the new children's book En la escuela de los Salmos/At Psalms School.


SESSION C WORKSHOPS (2:45-3:45 p.m.)

C1: The Multiple Streams of African-American Worship Practices: Insights for the Global Church
James Abbington, G. Ingrid Faniel, Jason Max Ferdinand, Michael Jordan, Carl MaultsBy, Anthony B. Vinson Sr. (Friday)
Birgitta Johnson, Bryan Johnson, Judith McAllister, Lisa M. Weaver (Saturday)
John D. Witvliet (moderator) 
The gifts and treasures that have emerged from African American churches in North America are a blessing to so many churches all over the world. These gifts come from many different traditions within African-American Christianity. This session will explore the similarities and differences in these different traditions, some of the current needs and opportunities within these traditions, and reflect on how Christians from all over the world can learn from the treasures and gifts of these traditions. 

C2: Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership
Ruth Haley Barton
Do you ever feel as if your leadership is something you “put on” for particular occasions rather than a dynamic that emerges from deep within you? Is the pressure to perform compromising your own experience of worship? Do you find yourself manufacturing emotion as you lead others because your own intimacy with God has grown cold? In this workshop we will share honestly about the challenges of spiritual leadership in a high-performance culture. Ruth Haley Barton will help you assess the state of your soul and then explore crucial disciplines for strengthening the soul of your leadership.

C3: Baptism and Christian Identity: Shaping Liturgical Practice from the Perspective of Disability
Sarah Jean Barton
Over the last decade, churches across the ecumenical spectrum have shown increasing interest in welcoming the gifts of people with disabilities. However, congregations often face practical, pastoral, and theological challenges to receive those gifts, particularly from people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this workshop we will consider the stories of people with intellectual disabilities in relationship to their experiences of baptism, baptismal vocation, and Christian identity. We will unpack key insights from this population and explore liturgical practices (including catechesis and baptismal reaffirmation) as ways to affirm baptismal identity and vocation regardless of disability. We will also discuss baptismally-rooted practices that provide increased opportunities for liturgical participation among people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

C4: Why Engage with Science at Church?
Ryan Bebej and Deborah Haarsma
The broader culture frequently portrays science and faith as being at odds. Yet even for those who believe that the two can fit together harmoniously, scientific topics can sometimes lead to division within the church. So why should Christians bother integrating science and faith if these discussions can cause such strife? In this session we will discuss practical ways to engage science in ministry to promote unity, disciple young people, engender a sense of awe, and bring an effective testimony to the world.

C5: Trinitarian Worship: What Difference Does It Make?
Joyce Borger
You know who the Trinity is, but what is all this talk about trinitarian worship? Isn’t all worship trinitarian? If not, what difference does it really make? This workshop will explore those questions and how a greater understanding of trinitarian worship can affect our worship planning, its structure, and its elements, and even how we lead.

C6: Evaluating the Time Given to Elements of Worship
Constance Cherry
Does the amount of time given to various elements of worship (song, prayer, sermon, Scripture, sacraments) represent our priorities? Is it balanced? Cherry will discuss a study she conducted that explored these questions.

C7: Lamento y esperanza: la oración de Habacuc en tiempos traumáticos (Friday)
María Eugenia Cornou
En este taller estudiaremos el libro de Habacuc, prestando especial atención al uso que el profeta hace de una práctica litúrgica poco habitual en nuestros cultos pero que vale la pena redescubrir. Situado en un tiempo de tragedia nacional, Habacuc recurre al lamento comunitario como aquel modelo de oración que puede ayudar a la iglesia de hoy a responder al dolor compartido, a expresar legítimamente el sufrimiento, a mantener viva la fe, y a caminar en esperanza.

C8: Called as Children, Called as Parents
Laura Fanucci
How can Sunday worship—congregations’ moment of greatest contact with most members—become a time and space for faith formation with families, especially those with young children? We’ll explore different ways to welcome children within churches, invite their participation in worship, pray for and with parents and children, and connect worship with family life at home. Practical ideas and recommended resources for pastors, children’s ministers, parents, and all who care for youth!

C9: Vital Worship in Congregations, Schools, and other Worshiping Communities
Terri Gaeddert, Rosi Penner Kaufman,  Anthony Ruff (Friday)
Anthony L. Bennett, Nancy Kingwood, Dale Sieverding, SLD (Saturday)
Kathy Smith (moderator)
Would your church, school, or organization benefit from a year of learning how to revitalize your worship? Come and learn about the Vital Worship Grants Program, which seeks to foster vital worship in congregations, parishes, and other worshiping communities in North America through projects on a variety of worship-related topics. Meet some former grant recipients, hear about their experiences, and learn how you might develop your own grant proposal.

C10: Sing It Again! The Art and Science of Repetition in Worship
Monique Ingalls
The topic of repetition abounds in our conversations about worship. Whether we’re discussing words, actions, melodies, or songs, everyone seems to have an opinion on how much repetition is too much, too little, or just right. This workshop draws from recent work in cognitive science, musicology, and practical theology to present a framework for determining why we should repeat, what we should repeat, and how we should repeat when leading music in congregational worship. 

C11: Worship Matters: The Compelling Story of Worship through Music in Kenya
Jean Ngoya Kidula 
The global church south of the Sahara is growing exponentially. In Kenya (East Africa), worship through music is playing an unprecedented role in drawing all nations to come and worship before the living God. In this workshop, we explore the continuing story of how music is reaching out to non-believers, celebrating diversity, building community, engaging in social issues, and inviting the nations to participate in the work of God. Come engage with songs that are speaking into the life of this burgeoning church as it pursues God in worship through music. A discussion of key considerations for reaching out globally in our own local contexts will round off the story of how worship music matters.

C12: Preaching While White: Practices of Humility and Courage in the Face of Injustice
Meg Jenista Kuykendall with responses by Reginald Smith
Since the 2016 election season in the United States, there has been much talk about the “white evangelical” political demographic.  Many of us preach in the context of predominantly white congregations with some affiliation with or affection for evangelicalism. How now are we called to preach, particularly around social, cultural, and political topics that many in our congregations might deem out of bounds for preaching? What does it mean to say we are called to preach a prophetic word, and what does prophetic preaching even sound like? 

C13: “I Hear You”: Dialogue around Race Stories
Nikki Lerner with Proskuneo
What you need is a culture coach. When you have no safe place to process, where do you turn? Join us for this deep, enriching, and safe time together sharing stories of race and ethnicity experiences that have shaped who we are and how we see the world. You’ll also find ways to move forward in your personal life and professional ministry. 

C14: Worship in Educational Institutions
Susan Burner, Bo H. Lim, Emmett G. Price III (Friday)
Timothy Blackmon, Anthony Ruff, OSB (Saturday)
Joanna Wigboldy (moderator)
Many Christian educational institutions aim to provide an integrated educational experience in which students grow spiritually. In an institution that exists primarily to educate, what is the role of public worship in the formation of students? Come to this shortened version of the Thursday seminar. Panelists from a variety of higher education contexts will share ways they approach worship on their own campuses. These questions are sure to prompt deep discussion about your community’s worship.

C15: The Artful Reading of Scripture in Worship
Hannah Barker Nickolay and Jackson Nickolay
How many times do we find our congregations (or even ourselves) tuning out when scripture is read during a worship service? What is to be done? How do we read scripture in a way that invites our congregations to listen deeply and be attentive to what God is speaking to us in scripture? This workshop will explore practical tools for the art of reading scripture well in worship.

C16: Rhema Prints
Steve Prince
translates as “utterance” or “thing said,” and it refers to a word spoken to our heart from God. In this intense hands-on workshop, participants will be exposed to the limitless process of creating watercolor monoprints. Each participant will be able to create a multi-colored, thematic, faith-centered print based on one’s personal rhema. No prior artistic experience is required—just an open mind and a word in your heart to be guided through the creative process!

C17: Lord of the Projectors: One PowerPoint to Rule Them All
Stephen Proctor
PowerPoint: A necessary task for some, and a world of opportunity for others. Whatever path you are on, come and see the tools that might help you take the next steps in curating visual worship for your community. This workshop will be a tech-focused complement to the “Visual Liturgy” Thursday seminar. We’ll pop the hood and look at projection technology and visual media used to fuel immersive experiences. Remember, with great PowerPoint comes great responsibility!

C18: Leading Effective Praise Team Rehearsals
Paul Ryan
Our best praise team rehearsals prepare our hearts, 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.

C19: Theologian by Day, Double Bassist by Night: Martin Luther on Instruments and Instrumentalists in Conversation with US Hispanic Aesthetics 
Leopoldo A. Sánchez
Are instruments to be seen only as supporting the voice in worship? Or are there other ways of thinking about the use of instruments and the role of instrumentalists in worship? In light of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, we will explore Martin Luther’s contributions toward a Christological and soteriological understanding of the use of instruments in the church. We will do so in conversation with US Hispanic reflections on the Christological understanding of beauty, which stress the link between discipleship and ethics. Some reflections on the role of instrumentalists in worship will follow, including the idea that instrumentalists have challenging roles to play as both theologians and interpreters of culture in today’s society.

C20: Psalms and Islam: Reimagining Interfaith Friendship in an Islamic Context
Eric Sarwar
How can the Christian message be communicated and contextualized with cultural sensitivity to be completely appealing to a Sufi-oriented audience in an Islamic context? For the past fourteen centuries Interaction between Islam and Christianity has generally been confrontational: crusades, colonial imperialism, and polemic around the Torah and Injil (the gospels). A new paradigm of cultural and creative interfaith friendship has opened in which the context shifts to the Zabor (Psalms). Here there is common ground among religious affiliations in terms of Revelation, Recitation, Ritual, and Reconciliation. This workshop proposes engaging Muslims through a mystical branch of Islam (Sufism) through the book of Psalms (Zabor). Adherents of both faiths can reimagine Scriptural engagement with the Zabor (Psalms) and the Qur’an as a catalyst for fostering peacebuilding in the twenty-first century.

C21: Closing Communion Service Choir Rehearsal
Pearl Shangkuan
Join the conference choir for participation in the Saturday 4 pm worship service. Please select this rehearsal choice for both Friday and Saturday.

C22: Prayers of a Person, Prayers of the People
Jane Zwart
What does it mean for any of us as one person—a person with particular quirks and gifts and blind spots—to offer the prayers of the people? How do we voice prayers that move toward generosity without sliding into the generic? How do we craft prayers that offer up our firstfruits as writers or orators without letting them become showy? How do we pray without furthering or ignoring the divisions that run through our congregations? This workshop will weigh these questions as well as explore some provisions for the person called upon to pray on behalf of all God’s people.


  • Evening Prayer led by local musicians from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM), (Calvin Theological Seminary, Chapel)
  • Evening Prayer led by John Ferguson and the Choral Scholars (Calvin College Chapel)
  • Salvation Belongs to the Lord: The Story of Jonah (Spoelhof Center, Gezon Auditorium)
  • Restored in Christ: A Service led by Grace and Peace Church (Covenant Fine Arts Center, Recital Hall)
  • Sing to the Lord: A Service of Song led by The Psalm Project (Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium)


  • Come, All Who Thirst: A Service of Song led by Liz Vice (Calvin College Chapel)
  • Grounded in God: A Faith-filled Testimony of the African American Church in Song (Covenant Fine Arts Center, Auditorium)
  • Psalms of Lament and Hope from the North Indian Sub-Continent (Covenant Fine Arts Center, Recital Hall)