January 30–February 1, 2020 • Grand Rapids, Michigan
Download this year's program book (note updates in red font).
Download cover artwork by Betsy Steele Halstead for projection in your worship.
- Services of the Word
- Plenary Sessions
- Workshop A
- Workshop B
- Workshop C
- Vesper Services
- Closing Service
1 Peter: Living in Hope and Grace
The apostle Peter came a long way in his discipleship over the years. As a disciple of Jesus, Peter protested more loudly than anyone whenever his master, Jesus, talked about his need to suffer and die. Suffering could not possibly be part of the Messiah’s work! What the disciples needed was an upbeat message of inspiration to lead Israel to victory over the powers that be. But by the time Peter wrote to his fellow Christians living in the earliest days of the church, he understood a new truth: suffering was not only key to the Messiah’s work but is a vital part of discipleship for those who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord. In his first letter, Peter addresses believers who were hard pressed by suffering and persecution. At the 2020 Symposium on Worship, the five main worship services will help us ponder Peter’s words of comfort and challenge. As in the first century, so now in the often-difficult days of the twenty-first century we need Peter’s inspiring testimony to encourage us along our paths of discipleship.
1 Peter 1:3–9: The Living Hope
Led by Paul Ryan and Calvin University Worship Apprentices; Betsy DeVries preaching
1 Peter 1:13–25: Living as Holy
Led by Urban Doxology and the Northwestern Drama Ministries Ensemble; Nicole Massie Martin preaching
Both services are repeated on the same day at 7:00 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Choose two seminars (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).
Lunch will be provided near your morning seminar location.
Seminar 1 | Framing Worship in New and Established Churches
Kevin Adams with responses by Jonathan Brooks, Dennis R. Edwards, Christopher Flesoras, Amy Schenkel, and Chris Schoon
This seminar will help worship leaders skillfully guide spiritual novices, skeptics, and, yes, Christian veterans in the grace embedded in the time-tested liturgy and the liturgical year. Discussion about worship hospitality will focus on in-between words that frame classic worship elements for mission, alerting attendees to their character and purpose. Participants will get tools to create their own “frames” informed by the church of all ages but customized to their neighborhoods. This is for anyone who wants to increasingly offer worship hospitality and heighten their congregation’s mission IQ.
Seminar 2 | Loving Our Muslim Neighbors
John A. Azumah, Najla Kassab, and Roberta R. King, moderated by Cory Willson
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 Muslims as neighbors, coworkers, 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?
Seminar 3 | Reclaiming the Role of Story in Worship
Jeff Barker and the Northwestern Drama Ministries Ensemble
Our God is a storytelling God. God’s book is a rich collection of stories. God’s church is a storytelling church. This seminar is a rich collection of storytelling examples from the Bible, history, and contemporary lives, using forms as simple as a solo testimony and as complex as enacting scenes from the missionary biography Iowa Ethiopia (repeated in the afternoon seminar).
Seminar 4 | A Sacramental Vision for Public Worship
Hans Boersma, John D. Rempel, Melanie C. Ross, Sue A. Rozeboom, and Elizabeth Y. Sung, moderated by John D. Witvliet
What does it mean to have a profoundly sacramental vision of reality, including the ins and outs of our ordinary lives and the places we live and work? What are the historical and theological reasons why a profoundly sacramental vision of reality has been so contested and fragile? How can a profoundly sacramental vision be reflected in and formed through ordinary worship practices? With the aim of encouraging pastors, scholars, and others who serve in places where a sacramental vision has fallen on hard times, this session will feature engagement with the authors of two significant books: John Rempel’s Recapturing an Enchanted World: Ritual and Sacrament in the Free Church Tradition and Hans Boersma’s Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry.
Seminar 5 | Worship, Cultural Difference, and a Kingdom Vision for Life Together
Mark Charles, Dominique DuBois Gilliard, Michelle Higgins, Nikki Lerner, and Isaac Wardell, moderated by David M. Bailey
Churches and Christian leaders are often overwhelmed because they feel ill-equipped to engage effectively in the ministry of reconciliation in a diverse and divided society. This session will explore insights and practices that are helping congregations and leaders move forward in hope. Growth in this area can be stubbornly difficult but also profoundly sanctifying and fruitful. Come to explore what your first baby step in this direction might look like, as well as what it looks like for a church to be committed to racial reconciliation for the long haul.
Seminar 6 | Worshipping with the Psalms Across Times and Cultures
Carlos Colón, Maria Monteiro, Marcell Silva Steuernagel, and Martin Tel, moderated by María Eugenia Cornou and Rebecca Snippe
Psalm singing has been practiced by Christians from many traditions throughout history and has shaped the spiritual life of many believers and worshiping communities in different parts of the world. The psalms are powerful texts expressing a wide variety of human experiences and emotions, and their use can deeply shape believers’ hearts and minds. In this seminar we will explore ways and resources to practice congregational psalm singing by drawing from a variety of cultures and traditions with help from Calvin Institute of Christian Worship's newest bilingual hymnal Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy (GIA Publications, 2019).
Seminar 7 | Worship 101: Worship & Culture
Calvin University Worship Apprentices, Paul Ryan, and Urban Doxology
Our cultural contexts for planning and leading worship are ever-changing and demand wisdom and guidance as we seek to be faithful to God, pastoral to our communities, and hospitable to our neighbors. In this seminar, ideal for emerging worship leaders, we will introduce a framework for discerning worship’s relationship to culture, consider loving postures toward differences in worship style, and explore healthy and creative practices for planning and leading.
Seminar 8 | Los niños, la iglesia, y el culto de adoración
La población más numerosa entre os Latinos son los niños pero la iglesia esta centrada en los adultos. Miraremos la data, el desarrollo de los niños, y como la iglesia puede crear espacio para los niños en el culto de adoración y otras actividades centrales de la iglesia. También discutiremos como el hogar puede afirmar estas prácticas.
Seminar 9 | The Well We Draw From
Whether in a corporate worship context or in one’s personal life, what is the well you draw from? How is creativity expressed differently in public worship services than in other artistic endeavors? What are the pastoral and ethical implications of creating artistic expressions for a congregation—a community that includes people with different capacities to engage with artworks? Through story teaching, group interaction, image curation, and hands-on activity, artist Scott Erickson will engage these questions and consider the practices, rhythms, and rituals of digging a deep well of creativity and spirit to draw from throughout our lives.
Seminar 10 | Is Your Youth Ministry Offering Community Where No One Is Looking? And What Are the Implications for Worship?
Terence Gadsden, Robert J. Keeley, and Elizabeth Tamez Méndez, moderated by Lynn Barger Elliott
Arguably our youth are more connected than any generation before them. Yet studies report that they claim things like “no one knows me well” or “my relationships are meaningless.” They feel lonely and isolated, as if the people who surround them are not necessarily with them. Our youth are becoming accustomed to knowing absence in the presence of others while also feeling presence with others on social media though they are physically absent from each other. With changing expectations of how and where to find community, as well as what one is willing to give to receive it, how do we create a sense of koinonia, or intergenerational Christian community, in our worship and throughout our ministries?
Seminar 11 | Hands-On Clay Retreat: Create, Reflect, Celebrate
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 an expressive 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.
Seminar 12 | Organ Service Playing Masterclass
Participants in this class will be asked to prepare a hymn/song to lead from the keyboard, and will explore their role as an accompanist, improviser, and teacher.
Seminar 13 | Guardian Angel Painting
“For God will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways . . .” —Psalm 91:11
Guardian angels and other protective images have long been used by the Christian faithful in Ethiopia as in many other religious traditions. Artist Laura James will speak briefly about Ethiopian Christian art and its guardian angel tradition. Participants will then be guided to paint their own guardian angels.
Seminar 14 | Collaborative Art in the Church: How to Start
This seminar is designed for anyone, from artist, to layperson, to worship pastor, to theologian. How can we come together to construct a thriving visual arts ministry? How do we ensure that church art is both understandable and theologically sound? One way to incorporate meaningful, appreciated art into the local church is by involving as many people as possible. While that can seem risky or overwhelming, we will explore how to use teamwork to our advantage. After some discussion, we will work together as a class to practice collaboration and to develop a collaborative model for future projects.
Seminar 15 | New Song. A Skillful Song.
Wendell Kimbrough, Swee Hong Lim, and Kate Williams, moderated by Greg Scheer
Those of us who feel the call of Psalm 33 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. Some time will also be spent discussing participants’ song submissions. Attendees of all levels and musical styles will benefit from this seminar.
Seminar 16 | John Calvin, Creation, and the Liturgical Arts
G. Sujin Pak and W. David O. Taylor
While both friend and foe of John Calvin have regarded him as an enemy of the physical body, a pessimist about the material creation, and a negative influence on the liturgical arts, that would tell only half the story—and be far from the more interesting story. This seminar explores ways in which Calvin, standing at the headwaters of the Reformed tradition, represents a rich resource for the arts in worship, even if not in the ways one might initially suppose. More specifically, Calvin’s theology of creation opens up a trinitarian grammar by which we might understand the theological purposes of music, painting, architecture, poetry, and other media of art in corporate worship.
Seminar 17 | Preaching in the Power of the Spirit (with a Global-South Twist): Insights into the Spirit’s Empowering of Hearers and Preachers of the Word
Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. and David Beelen, moderated by Scott Hoezee
Through delivery and discussion of a sermon based on a Gospel text, the first part of the seminar reflects on ways to preach a text through a global-South lens that highlights issues of marginality and welcome into God’s kingdom. Drawing from the Galilean identity of Jesus and his disciples, hearers of the Word are invited to be empowered by the Spirit to acknowledge their own marginality and call to hospitality in the world. The second part of the seminar introduces practices through which preachers of the Word can invite the Spirit to empower their preaching.
Seminar 18 | The Human Leader: Leading from Weakness
Mandy Smith, moderated by Noel Snyder and Joanna Wigboldy
How might human limitations empower rather than impede our leadership? Mandy Smith, author of The Vulnerable Pastor, will explore themes related to vulnerability and weakness in leadership and ministry. Interspersing teaching with guided roundtable discussion, this seminar will empower you to lead out of your deep humanity.
Choose one seminar.
Seminar 19 | The Bible in Public Worship and Daily Life in an Age of Declining Biblical Literacy
John A. Azumah, Jonathan Hehn, G. Sujin Pak, Chris Schoon, and Melanie C. Ross, moderated by John D. Witvliet
This session will feature several biblical scholars and pastoral leaders who love deep engagement with Scripture and who love to explore connections between the Bible and the rough-and-tumble world of ordinary life in a variety of cultural contexts. What practices of communal Scriptural engagement—including the way we read, sing, preach, and pray in relationship to Scripture in public worship—promise to strengthen our love of the Bible? How can we respond to declining biblical literacy and short, social-media attention spans with compelling, engaging approaches? Each panelist will identify a case study of one biblical text in their area of expertise in relationship to these key questions.
Seminar 20 | “Universal Design for Worship” in Action: Cultural, Curricular, and Personal Applications
Elizabeth Bajema, LaTonya McIver Penny, Kevin Timpe, and Herbert H. Tsang, moderated by Barbara J. Newman
Learn from our panelists what universal design for worship looks like from their experiences within an adult small group Bible study, the African-American church, family life linked to church life, and the Chinese church in Canada. The rich expertise represented in the panelists will be sure to inspire and impact your own worshiping community.
Seminar 21 | Reclaiming the Role of Story in Worship
Jeff Barker and the Northwestern Drama Ministries Ensemble
Our God is a storytelling God. God’s book is a rich collection of stories. God’s church is a storytelling church. This seminar is a rich collection of storytelling examples from the Bible, history, and contemporary lives, using forms as simple as a solo testimony and as complex as enacting scenes from the missionary biography Iowa Ethiopia. (Repeat of the morning seminar.)
Seminar 22 | From Hurt to Healing to Hope: Worship, Prayer, and Pastoral Responses to Infertility, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth
Elise Erikson Barrett, InSoon G. Hoagland, Reginald Smith, and Kate Williams, moderated by Kathy Smith
Every congregation includes people who have experienced deep losses related to infertility and pregnancy. How can our worship and prayers include these hurts? How can we accompany people on these often-hidden journeys of grief? This seminar will explore theological and pastoral reflections on infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth and will discuss sensitive liturgical practices for worship, pastoral care, and services of remembrance.
Seminar 23 | Life Together in Christ: Indigenous Peoples, Refugees, Immigrants, Pilgrims, and the Challenges of Christian Unity in a Global Context
Cheryl Bear, Najla Kassab, Roberta R. King, Mark MacDonald, and Philip McKinley, moderated by María Eugenia Cornou
Today, more people than ever before live in a country other than the one in which they were born, and the number of displaced people is at a record high. According to the United Nations, in 2017 the number of migrants reached 258 million, and in 2018 an unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world had been forced from home by conflict and persecution. Half of the latter are under the age of 18. Throughout Scripture the people of God have been called to love the stranger (Lev. 19:34) and to serve those in need (Matt. 25:35–40). How are different Christian communities around the globe responding to the challenges of our times? How do Christian hospitality and social justice relate to worship? How do churches’ responses to the migrant crisis inform our worship practices? How does public worship form God’s people to love and serve the most vulnerable? Join us in this fascinating conversation with panelists who will share their unique experiences in a variety of contexts around the globe.
Seminar 24 | When the Story about a Song Changes How We Sing the Song
Emily R. Brink, Swee Hong Lim, Anna Nekola, and Eric Washington, moderated by Lester Ruth
If a worship song is a self-contained item with text and tune, able to stand and be used independently of its origins, why do worshipers like to know the background stories behind the hymns and choruses they love? Does it make a difference when we know something about songwriters, their context, and the situation out of which specific songs come? Does the desire to know a song’s history tell us more about the song or about ourselves? This seminar on songwriting stories will explore these questions and more.
Seminar 25 | Worship and Church Life in ‘Forsaken’ Neighborhoods
Jonathan Brooks, Terence Gadsden, and members of Urban Doxology: Rae Hudnell, Makeda McCreary, Erin Rose, and Kimberly Williams; moderated by David M. Bailey
Come to engage with the themes of pastor, hip-hop artist, and author Jonathan Brooks’ book Church Forsaken, including a profound exploration of a ‘theology of place,’ which unpacks the vocational implications of Jon Fuller’s claim that “there are no God-forsaken places, just church-forsaken places.” Explore insights from life in Christ in the neighborhoods of Chicago, Richmond, Grand Rapids, and more. Come for a session that weaves together prophetic exhortation, inspirational narratives of God’s work, and practical suggestions for fruitful ministry, including questions you can bring home to probe what an even more robust life in Christ could look like in your neighborhood.
Seminar 26 | Worship 101: Worship Band Basics
Calvin University Worship Apprentices, Paul Ryan, and members of Urban Doxology: Bryan Johnson, Jeremy Johnson, Jonathan Jones, and Jonathan ‘Chipper’ Via
Pianos, guitars, drums, vocalists—how do we make sense of it all? Arranging music and leading rehearsals for a worship band can be challenging, exciting, and nerve-racking for emerging worship leaders, but the band’s purpose is very simple: to support congregational singing. In this seminar, we will look at the parts and configurations of a worship band, consider the personal preparation needed to arrange and rehearse, and emphasize the worship band’s potential for leading the church’s song.
Seminar 27 | Worship Behind Bars: How Liturgical Practices Can Change a Prison
Todd Cioffi and Dominique DuBois Gilliard
We live in an age of mass incarceration. Although the United States makes up approximately 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. incarcerates nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. As Christians, how should we address mass incarceration in the U.S.? This seminar explores the powerful effect two ministries are having at the Richard Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. Just over ten years ago, Celebration Fellowship Church was planted behind bars at Handlon. For a decade, this church has grown in numbers and in Christian community, helping to transform Handlon from the inside out. Nearly five years ago, Calvin Seminary and Calvin University started the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI), which offers inmates a chance to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Faith and Community Leadership and provides Christian and moral leadership in prisons. Together these ministries allow inmates to move from worship to the classroom and back again and build a Christian worldview that equips them to be agents of renewal across the prison, powerfully transforming the prison culture. Additional participants from Celebration Fellowship and the CPI program will join the discussion.
Seminar 28 | Los niños, la iglesia, y el culto de adoración
La población más numerosa entre os Latinos son los niños pero la iglesia esta centrada en los adultos. Miraremos la data, el desarrollo de los niños, y como la iglesia puede crear espacio para los niños en el culto de adoración y otras actividades centrales de la iglesia. También discutiremos como el hogar puede afirmar estas prácticas.
Seminar 29 | Preaching 1 Peter
Dennis R. Edwards
How should Christians think and act within a culture that is hostile toward them? 1 Peter addresses the lives of Christians who are being alienated by the broader culture. The first readers carried the status of aliens, strangers, and members of the diaspora—a status that indicated their conflict with non-Christians. This seminar will trace the main themes of 1 Peter, keeping our eyes on the text, the world of the addressees, and our own contexts. Some of the goals of our exploration of 1 Peter are increased skill in communicating the message of the letter in sermons and/or Scripture studies, greater appreciation for Peter’s unique voice in a theological climate currently dominated by Pauline studies, and heightened respect for marginalized believers everywhere.
Seminar 30 | Engaging Visual Artists for the Sake of the Church
Scott Erickson, Laura James, Regina Jupp, and Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk, moderated by W. David O. Taylor
If all of creation is summoned to praise God, what might it mean for the people of God to pray with their eyes? How might the visual arts enable the church to pray with its eyes faithfully? This seminar explores ways in which visual artists question our broken habits of sight and teach us to see the world as God sees it—in faith, hope, and love—and how through their manifold works of art, they form the church’s worship and mission, discipleship and service.
Seminar 31 | Helping a Choir Sing Better
Jason Max Ferdinand and The Aeolians
Join us in this interactive session with Jason Max Ferdinand and The Aeolians to explore skillful choral directing and learn effective and persuasive gestures that can improve a choir’s sound.
Seminar 32 | Hands-On Clay Retreat: Create, Reflect, Celebrate
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 expressive 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.
Seminar 33 | Children in the Worshiping Community: The Faith that Calls Children to Worship
Robert J. Keeley, Mimi Larson, Peter Jonker, and La Verne Tolbert, moderated by Joyce Borger
In this seminar we will discuss together the place of children in the worshiping community and how pastors, worship leaders, children’s ministry leaders, parents, guardians, and other spiritual mentors can raise up worshipers and include children in worship.
Seminar 34 | New Song. A Skillful Song.
Wendell Kimbrough and Greg Scheer
Those of us who feel the call of Psalm 33 to write new songs must remember that the psalm also tells us to play skillfully. In this seminar Wendell and Greg will focus on the skills of songwriting for congregations, digging into what it means to balance inspiration and perspiration. They will speak about their approaches to creating new texts, new tunes, and the combining of texts and tunes. Some time will also be spent discussing participants’ song submissions. Attendees of all levels and musical styles will benefit from this seminar.
Seminar 35 | The Worship Team: Principles for Collaborative Worship Planning
Kevin Adams, Nikki Lerner, Maria Monteiro, and Ruth Ann Schuringa, moderated by Noel Snyder
For many pastors, worship musicians, and other church leaders, collaborative worship planning is an ideal that we strive for yet often struggle to achieve. This seminar will discuss strategies for maintaining healthy team dynamics and enhancing collaborative worship planning. Sharing practical tips and stories from the “front lines,” we will help you take your next steps toward greater collaboration in worship planning and leadership at your church. Consider attending this seminar with other team members to enhance your learning!
Seminar 36 | Worship God with the Dance!: The Deep Connections between Worship and Dance
Kathleen S. Turner
What is the relationship between liturgy and liturgical dance, and how does such a relationship enhance church worship? This seminar will explore the ways in which Scripture, liturgy, and sacred song create avenues for expression and interpretation by and through liturgical dance movement. These avenues of movement expression and interpretation help to bring clarity and comprehension to both liturgy and one’s knowledge of the Most High God. It will pay attention to the use of the body as an expressive instrument that embodies and displays reflective thought and honest emotion as expressed in Christian worship. During the session, biblical texts and songs concentrating on the symposium theme of “Living in Hope and Grace” found in 1 Peter will be explored through liturgical dance choreography.
Seminar 37 | The Christian Year and Ordinary Life
Lisa M. Weaver, with Christopher Flesoras, and Elizabeth Y. Sung, moderated by Joanna Wigboldy
All calendars provide a rhythm and shape to our lives. The Christian year—Advent through Pentecost and Ordinary Time—is a calendar that provides a faith-filled rhythm that can order our time and deepen our discipleship. How does the Christian year shape our engagement with everyday life? How does orienting our worship around the Christian year affect a congregation’s life? Lisa M. Weaver will begin the seminar by providing a brief introduction to the Christian year and how it can reorient our view of time, and then panelists will reflect on the formative nature of the Christian year in individuals and communities.
All vesper services on Thursday are repeated on Friday.
Choose one vesper service to attend on each day.
1 Peter 3:8–22: Suffering for Living the Good
Jared E. Alcántara preaching; we will celebrate the Lord's Supper in this service.
1 Peter 2:4–12: Living as Chosen People
Led by the Northwestern Drama Ministries Ensemble; Karen Campbell preaching
All morning worship services and plenary sessions held on Friday will be repeated on Saturday.
Come, Sculptor Spirit!: Inviting the Holy Spirit to Shape Christ in Us through Word, Image, and Song
Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Loving Your Neighbor In and Through Worship Practices
John A. Azumah, Najla Kassab, Mark MacDonald, and Philip McKinley, moderated by Kristen Verhulst
Choose one A workshop.
Workshops offered on Friday will be repeated on Saturday unless noted.
AL1 | Optional Lunch Break
A1 | Q&A Session on “Come, Sculptor Spirit! Inviting the Holy Spirit to Shape Christ in Us through Word, Image, and Song”
Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., hosted by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
An opportunity to ask questions related to the plenary session.
A2 | Framing Worship in New and Established Churches
This workshop (a condensed version of the Thursday seminar) will help worship leaders skillfully guide spiritual novices, skeptics, and, yes, Christian veterans in the grace embedded in the time-tested liturgy and the liturgical year. Discussion about worship hospitality will focus on in- between words that frame classic worship elements for mission, alerting attendees to their character and purpose. Participants will get tools to create their own “frames” informed by the church of all ages but customized to their neighborhoods. This is for anyone who wants to increasingly offer worship hospitality and heighten their congregation’s mission IQ.
A3 | Improvisational Preaching
Jared E. Alcántara
This workshop teaches preachers how to adopt an improvisational approach to preaching. Drawing insights from theology, homiletics, and performance theory, participants will discuss how to internalize sermon manuscripts, how to balance conventional preparation with intuitive spontaneity, and how to read and respond to listeners during the live sermon. As a case study in improvisational preaching, participants will also listen to and learn from the preaching of Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, one of the leading African-American preachers of the twentieth century.
A4 | Reflections on Racial Conciliation and Ethnic Diversity in Christian Worship
David M. Bailey and Mark Charles
David M. Bailey is an African-American worship leader working in an urban environment in Richmond, Virginia. Mark Charles is a Navajo pastor coming from the Navajo reservation. Both value cultural inclusivity and diversity and will be speaking from their experience as national leaders who are also deeply invested in their local communities.
A5 | Presenting Scripture Well in Worship
Jeff Barker and the Northwestern Drama Ministries Ensemble
Join this workshop to learn from an array of performed examples (live and recorded) that model effective communication of Scripture for both individual and group presentations.
A6 | Engaging with the Bible for the First Time (All Over Again)
Amanda Benckhuysen, Dennis R. Edwards, and La Verne Tolbert, moderated by John D. Witvliet
Every Christian community is called to introduce the Bible to new audiences: to children who are invited to open their Bibles for the first time and to seekers and new believers who are just learning their way around the Bible. We also are called to invite life-long believers to rediscover their first love for the Bible all over again, reintroducing the Bible in ways that overcome past approaches that may have missed key aspects of what the Bible offers us through the Spirit. We respond to this calling in many ways: in church education programs, in personal Bible reading programs, and in public worship. Come to this session to engage with educators and authors whose ministry has been focusing on the joy of this formative aspect of ministry.
A7 | Participation and Modernity (Friday only)
Modernity initiates us into a way of life that is at odds with basic Christian convictions. Modernity’s ‘nominalist’ turn has separated earthly realities from heavenly ones. This talk proposes an understanding of reality that is sacramental in character. In particular, we will discuss the difference between what C. S. Lewis termed ‘symbolism’ and ‘sacramentalism,’ hoping to recast a sacramental vision that recognizes that created realities always and already participate in the reality of the truth, goodness, and beauty of God as we know them in Christ.
A8 | Choral Music for the “Faithful Fifteen” (a.k.a. Small Church Choirs)
Kai Ton Chau
Smaller congregations and choirs are blessed by the “Faithful Fifteen”—those singers who are committed to the choir ministry. In this workshop, we explore choral music repertoire that connects meaningfully to the liturgy, is musically beautiful, and edifies the singers artistically and spiritually. A reading packet will be provided.
A9 | Women in Ministry and Leadership
Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Najla Kassab, Nicole Massie Martin (Friday), and Mandy Smith, moderated by Kathy Smith
This workshop includes a global panel of women ministry leaders from Australia, the Middle East, and North and South America. All are welcome to come for a lively discussion of the challenges and opportunities for women in leadership roles in worship and ministry in a wide variety of churches, organizations, and contexts.
A10 | Advocating for Justice That Restores: An Interview
Dominique DuBois Gilliard, hosted by Todd Cioffi
Dominique DuBois Gilliard has distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for prison reform in the United States, especially in calling the church to lead the way. His book Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores tackles the shortcomings of the prison system in the U.S. and calls for Christians to promote reconciliation within our prisons instead of punishment. Our time will be spent interviewing Rev. Gillard about his book, his work, and ways in which local churches can get involved in providing reconciliation to inmates and contributing to practices of restorative justice.
A11 | Liturgy as the Church's Primary Teaching Tool?!
Fewer and fewer Christians, it seems, experience catechesis outside of corporate worship. Biblical and theological literacy is low. As leaders, should we be worshiping differently to directly confront this reality? The result need not turn worship into a simply didactic event but could instead shape it into a doxological engagement with God that is deeply aware how worship forms people as Christians.
A12 | From Delight to Wisdom: Using Images to Create Sermons that Reach the Imagination
In this workshop, Jonker will use insights from the world of poetry, art, and marketing to help preachers think intentionally about the pictures they paint with their words. We will give special attention to how a preacher might create propulsive, controlling images for a sermon.
A13 | Collaborative Art in the Church: An Introduction
This session is designed for anyone from artist, to layperson, to worship pastor, to theologian. How can we come together to construct a thriving visual arts ministry? How do we ensure that church art is both understandable and theologically sound? One way to incorporate meaningful, appreciated art into the local church is by involving as many people as possible. While that can seem risky or overwhelming, in this hour, we will learn how to use teamwork to our advantage and explore a collaborative model for future projects. This workshop is a condensed version of Thursday’s seminar.
A14 | Loving Our Neighbors through Musicking
Roberta R. King
How does the church welcome new neighbors, especially those who have come from different religious backgrounds? Based on ethnographic research in southern California, this session explores how the church is welcoming immigrants, especially Muslims, into the neighborhood and building relationships through music performance and the sharing of gifts.
A15 | Children in the Worshiping Community
Have you ever asked yourself what we should do with children in worship? Join educator Mimi Larson as we explore how children make meaning of their worship experiences and discuss various ways we can engage children in worship with the aim of creating an intergenerational community of worshipers.
A16 | The Formative Power of How We Listen to Worship Music
How do you listen to worship music? What technology is involved? What sensory experiences are significant? How do you interpret and evaluate them—and then explain them to others? In every culture and century, listening practices shape singing practices. Together, they shape our “praying through singing” practices. Come to this workshop to explore with fresh eyes aspects of our ordinary engagement with music that we rarely pause to examine, and to explore what this could mean for faithful, vital worship ministry today.
A17 | One Church, One Body, All Abilities
LaTonya McIver Penny
This session will discuss inclusion and belonging of all abilities in the faith community. We will examine methods of inclusion proven effective in other faith communities. We will wrestle with the question “How do we include all of God’s children and all of their abilities?”
A18 | Recapturing an Enchanted World: Ritual and Sacrament in the Free Church Tradition
John D. Rempel, hosted by Noel Snyder
How did we end up with the real absence rather than the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper/Eucharist? What might liturgical worship with an evangelical spirit look like? When words fall short in reaching seekers, how can gestures point to Christ? Questions like these are at the heart of Rempel’s new book Recapturing an Enchanted World (IVP Academic, 2020). During this workshop Rempel will talk about pivotal moments in church history when worship in the spirit of the early church was lost and regained, and then discuss what lessons can be drawn from these shifts. What is the meaning of Christ’s incarnation for worship today? How do we hold together gathering for worship and scattering for mission? Rempel will also offer three sample meal liturgies inspired by Jesus’ ministry.
A19 | Flow: An Ancient Way to Contemporary Worship
Is there a way to follow the prescribed order of worship from mainline denominational worship resources in a way that feels legitimately and authentically contemporary? That is the question this workshop will try to answer. The source for this answer is ancient, from the earliest centuries of the church. Step by step, we’ll break down the process of rethinking what official orders of worship are calling for so that pastors and worship leaders can plan and lead a Word and Table order that feels genuinely contemporary. This workshop will cast a new, but classic understanding of traditional worship as well as spur a reconsideration of how contemporary worship could be done in mainline congregations.
A20 | Technology and the Church
Derek C. Schuurman
Technology has changed the church and worship in profound ways, from early technologies like the first-century codex and the 15th-century printing press to modern projectors, smartphones, and even virtual reality. Do new media technologies simply carry the same wine in newer wineskins? To appreciate how technology shapes the church, we must recognize that technology has a bias, nudging us toward new rituals and ways of thinking and communicating. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us along with worship and the church. This talk will explore some of the ways that technology shapes the church and suggests some guidelines to discern appropriate use of technology in order to “test everything” and “hold fast to what is good.”
A21 | Everything I Learned about a Truly Christian Funeral Eulogy I Learned from a Science Fiction Novel
W. David O. Taylor
Christians have all too often failed to think thoroughly and biblically or theologically about the nature of a good word in the final testimony of a person’s life and have instead allowed the practice of eulogizing to be determined by Greco-Roman and popular ideas. In this workshop we will explore what it means to speak the unvarnished truth about the deceased in such a way that the grace of God becomes the focal point rather than the dead person’s decency, niceness, or superlative accomplishments.
A22 | Gracious Bilingual Worship
Most often in bilingual worshiping communities, one language is dominant. Sometimes this disparity is massive. In many communities there are shifting patterns in which a previously dominant language is waning. While many assume that bilingual worship will by nature be a positive experience, the way that we plan and lead bilingual singing can in fact exacerbate feelings of anxiety, inferiority, or frustration. In this workshop we will explore alternative and achievable approaches to bilingual singing and praying that feel less like accommodation and more like grace and celebration. Though we will be using the new Spanish/English resource Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy, the ideas explored in this workshop are applicable to any bilingual situation.
A23 | Creativity, Prayer, and Scriptural Metaphors
God is made known through both the majestic and the ordinary. The metaphors of stones and rocks are used all through Scripture to help us understand God and our relationship with God. Spend this hour concentrating on these metaphors and working with nature and rocks through prayer, deliberation, and embellishment. No experience necessary.
A24 | Psalm Singing and Bringing our Whole Emotional Lives into Worship
Michelle Higgins and Isaac Wardell
Wardell and Higgins will describe leading worship in the contexts of their worship services in St. Louis and Charlottesville and explore how using the psalms can help people bring their whole lives into worship. They’ll discuss how the psalms give voice to lament for violence in our communities, emotional trauma, and words of life for our rejoicing. We'll spend time both discussing the psalms and singing psalms together.
A25 | Improvising and Arranging Música Latina
Carlos Colón and Mariachi Ágape
In this interactive workshop, Mariachi Ágape and Carlos Colón demonstrate ways of improvising, arranging, and leading world music, with an emphasis on mariachi and other Latino styles. Attention will be given to songs found in the Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy hymnal provided to all attendees. Musicians from all levels will benefit from this session.
Choose one B workshop.
Workshops are offered on Friday and repeated on Saturday unless noted.
BL1 | Optional Lunch Break
B1 | What Was Lost: Experience, Theology, and Resources for Miscarriage
Elise Erikson Barrett
Nearly a decade ago, What Was Lost: A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage was written as a personal and pastoral response to a dearth of Christian resources for a loss that is complicated emotionally, communally, and spiritually. Awareness has increased over the past ten years, but persons continue to struggle to find faithful honoring of a common but often unspoken grief (nearly one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage). In this workshop, author Elise Erikson Barrett will facilitate a conversation about how the church accompanies women and families who have lost pregnancies.
B2 | Explorations in Worship and Culture: A Conversation
Cheryl Bear, Najla Kassab, and John D. Witvliet (Friday);
Mark MacDonald, Philip McKinley, and John D. Witvliet (Saturday)
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 to guide us, to keep us from rejecting what should not be rejected and embracing what should not be embraced.
B3 | Belonging
Joyce Borger and Chris Schoon
We hear from researchers about the importance of belonging and the epidemic of loneliness. What role can worship play for communicating that children, youth, and adults of all ages and stages belong not just to the community, but also to God? Join us as we discuss this from the perspective of faith formation, missions, and worship practice.
B4 | Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods
Jonathan Brooks and Terence Gadsden
In this workshop, we will challenge local churches to rediscover that loving our neighbors means loving our neighborhoods. Unpacking the themes of Jeremiah 29, we will see how Christians can be fully present in local communities, building homes and planting gardens for the common good. We will also discuss how community stakeholders and civic leaders can rediscover that churches are viable partners in community transformation in ways they may never have considered.
B5 | Aligning your Worship Space with Your Vision for Worship
"We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us." —Winston Churchill
Many of our worship spaces were designed well for the intended expressions of worship they hosted at that time. When a congregation redefines its mission, vision, and values about worship, can they modify their worship space without completely starting over? This presentation will discuss methods for exploring priorities in worship architecture and showcase studies of how several churches modified their worship spaces to align with new visions for worship.
B6 | What Does it Mean to Be a Chaplain?: A Calling Story
InSoon G. Hoagland
Come hear the story of InSoon G. Hoagland, a retired U.S. Army chaplain and combat veteran. How did she experience and discern her calling to this ministry? She will share parts of her journey in chaplaincy ministry, both times of deep flourishing as well as some difficulties. Both chaplains and pastors serve vital roles in leading others to grow in their faith. Hear about some of the unique ways that chaplains impact the life of a worshiping community.
B7 | That You May Believe: Preaching the Rich Theology of John’s Gospel
The gospel of John is the most overtly theological of the four gospels in the New Testament. Not only does John include a number of key teaching moments, but the entire gospel builds a larger theological edifice that presents rich opportunities for preaching. This workshop will take note of the book’s key characteristics and ponder the preaching possibilities in the fourth gospel.
B8 | Church Sound 101
An effective presentation of the Word in today’s churches requires an understanding of how modern sound systems function. This workshop introduces all the major components of a church sound system and practical ways to optimize each of them. It explains how components such as microphones, cables, mixer board, and speakers can best be used to enhance worship.
B9 | Everything I Know about Worship Bands I Learned from The Beatles
Robert J. Keeley and Greg Scheer
There are many reasons the music of The Beatles has endured. The group took standard pop-music forms and innovated in a way that made their songs easy to sing and memorable without being trite. In this workshop, we’ll examine some of the lessons musicians can take from these pioneers and apply them to worship leadership.
B10 | Psalm Singing and the Mission of the Church
Why sing psalms? Does it matter how we sing them? For many, psalm singing is a nice idea (because they’re in the Bible), but not essential to the mission of the church. In this workshop, songwriter and worship artist Wendell Kimbrough will share from personal experience and biblical conviction why he believes the church cannot thrive without singing psalms. He’ll share the vision that informs his work as a songwriter and how he's connected the dots between the Great Commission, emotional wholeness, and the challenge of the psalms. We'll spend time singing and have a lively conversation.
B11 | A Tale of Two Rivers: What’s Happened in Seventy Years of Contemporary Praise and Worship
Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth
Most histories of contemporary worship emphasize well-known stories like the conversion of hippies in southern California in the late 1960s or the rise of megachurches in the 1980s. While those events are important, there are whole other backstories behind the rise of band-based, technology-driven, hand-raising, extended-singing worship. This workshop will lay out a much fuller history than you’ve ever heard before (including a sampling of music through the years) and raise some pastoral questions for discussion.
B12 | Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care
What if God didn’t place humans on earth to be stewards of creation but to be something else? If not stewards, then what? Join Calvin biology professor David Warners as he shares insights from Beyond Stewardship (Calvin Press, 2019), a book he co-edited with Matthew Kuperus Heun, an engineering professor at Calvin. The aim of this book, which includes contributions from scholars in diverse disciplines, is to equip Christians to live better in this world by helping us all think more intentionally about the relationship we have with the nonhuman creation in which we are necessarily and thoroughly embedded. They offer an expanded and enlivened understanding of the place of humans in the context of God’s creation and offer ways we can practice this in the context of a worshiping community.
B13 | The New Testament and the Public Witness of the Church
Today we are faced with an unending stream of issues calling for our attention. How should we best respond? Does the New Testament give us examples and a paradigm for addressing contentious issues? This workshop will argue that it does and will provide a few practical tips for congregational life.
B14 | Desarrollando Jóvenes Líderes: Cuatro Claves para la Innovación (solo el viernes)
Elizabeth Tamez Méndez
Nos une el deseo de ver a nuestros jóvenes ser parte integral y desarrollar su liderazgo en la iglesia, la pregunta es, ¿cómo? Partiendo del trabajo, las experiencias y la investigación de siete líderes latinos cuyas congregaciones y grupos paraeclesiásticos son incubadoras de liderazgo para los jóvenes en sus comunidades, en esta sesión exploraremos conceptos prácticos para expandir nuestra imaginación y conocimiento, con el fin de fomentar la innovación en la iglesia que conlleve a desarrollar el potencial de liderazgo entre la juventud.
B15 | Lessons on Developing Young Leaders: Four Keys Towards Innovation (Saturday only)
Elizabeth Tamez Méndez
We are united in our desire to see young people be an integral part of and leaders in the church. The question is, how? In this session, we draw from the work, experiences, and research of seven Latin@ leaders whose congregations and parachurch groups are leadership incubators for young people in their communities. We will explore practical concepts to expand our imaginations and know-how in fostering innovation in the church towards developing young leaders.
B16 | From Longing to Belonging: Connecting through the Language of Worship with Persons Experiencing Dementia
Barbara J. Newman
Looking for continued connection points with congregational members experiencing dementia? This session will equip and inspire you with practical tools for visiting and learning together.. The language of worship serves as the springboard into continued relationship and a meaningful time together.
B17 | The Psalms as a Spiritual Guide: Some Lessons from Luther and Calvin
G. Sujin Pak
Luther and Calvin often remarked that the psalms express the whole spectrum of human emotions, making the psalms a compelling tool of instruction for the church. Calvin famously called the psalms an “anatomy of all the parts of the soul” and saw them as a central key to unlocking the teachings of Scripture and illuminating the central spiritual practices of the Christian life (i.e., worship and prayer). This workshop will explore several ways that Luther and Calvin employed the psalms to support Christian practices of worship, prayer, and discipleship (i.e., spiritual formation). We will look at key themes in their interpretation of the psalms with an eye to comparisons and contrasts between Luther and Calvin and a focus on a handful of psalms as case studies.
B18 | What Makes Christian Worship Trinitarian?
Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
The doctrine of the Trinity is old, deep, and mysterious. How should Christian trinitarianism manifest itself in worship—that is, beyond simple repetition of the trinitarian formula? How might deep trinitarian worship bless God and ourselves? How might it even affect the way we look at each other after worship is over?
B19 | Being a Worship Leader
Ruth Ann Schuringa
Being a worship leader is no small task. Finding words for segues, choosing Scripture, and writing prayers that will engage your congregations is important work. This workshop will be a conversation about the task of being a worship leader. Come to learn some tips and tools from others and to share your “best practices” too.
B20 | Matter + Spirit: A Chinese/American Exhibition Art Gallery Walk
Join Rachel Smith, the Matter + Spirit exhibition curator, and Joel Carpenter, the director emeritus of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity, for an introduction to this traveling exhibition, the result of a 2018 Nagel Institute seminar in China that brought together a group of Chinese and American Christian artists to address the question “Where is the Spirit in increasingly materialistic societies like the U.S. and China?” Presenting artwork in a wide variety of media and styles, this exhibition provides insight into the ways art can provide an effective platform for engaging complex, pressing, and even controversial topics both within communities of faith and with the larger communities of which they are a part.
B21 | Autism and the Church’s Mission
This session will focus on how autistic individuals have been excluded from full participation in our faith communities and why the church’s mission is hindered by that exclusion. It will end with a discussion of concrete steps a church can take to become more welcoming and supportive of those with autism.
B22 | Intergenerational Congregational Singing: A Foretaste of Heaven on Earth
Herbert H. Tsang
Why is congregational singing so important? How can we encourage our congregation to sing better? As part of the learning we glean from the Vital Worship Grant project, we will explore the importance of congregational singing and the possibility of revitalizing this important aspect of our corporate spiritual disciplines with a focus on fostering intergenerational worship. Ideas for cultivating a vibrant and passionate singing culture in our church will also be explored.
B23 | Worship God with the Dance!: The Deep Connections Found between Worship and Dance
Kathleen S. Turner
The guiding question for this workshop is: What is the relationship between liturgy and liturgical dance, and how does such a relationship enhance church worship? This workshop will explore the ways in which Scripture, liturgy, and sacred song create avenues for expression and interpretation by and through liturgical dance movement. These avenues of movement expression and interpretation help to bring clarity and comprehension to both liturgy and one’s knowledge of the Most High God. It will pay particular attention to the use of the body as an expressive instrument that embodies and displays reflective thought and honest emotion as expressed in Christian worship. During the one-hour session, songs concentrating on the symposium theme of “Living in Hope and Grace” found in 1 Peter will be explored through liturgical dance choreography. This is a condensed presentation of the Thursday seminar.
B24 | The Gospel, Christ, Spiritual Disciplines, and Personal Transformation: Examining Dallas Willard’s Account in Light of the Biblical Vision of Salvation
Elizabeth Y. Sung
In this session, we will distill and examine several major features of Dallas Willard’s paradigm-shifting explanation of the logic of salvation according to Scripture as set forth in his magnum opus, The Divine Conspiracy. His exposition of salvation clarifies, reframes, and reconnects key biblical teachings about the triune God and the nature of the kingdom of God as ultimate reality; the person and work of Jesus Christ; and the ramifications of the gospel for a full personal appropriation of salvation via discipleship to Jesus, with particular reference to spiritual disciplines. We will consider some of the ways that Willard’s expansive account offers correctives and a more adequate, practicable, and effective alternative to the various axiomatic theological explanations and practical strategies currently offered in Christian academic, churchly, and popular circles.
Choose one C workshop.
Workshops are offered on Friday and repeated on Saturday unless noted.
C1 | Conference Congregational Choir
Jason Max Ferdinand
The conference congregational choir, which will include The Aeolians of Oakwood University, will participate in the conference’s closing worship service at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 1.
C2 | Universal and Responsive Design for Missional Worship: A Vision of Inclusion
Kevin Adams, Christopher Flesoras, and Barbara J. Newman
This is a workshop about how to stock your congregation’s garden shed with the tools needed to be a missional church that welcomes people of various backgrounds, situations, and abilities into the worship setting. It offers a vision as well as practical ideas for implementing an inclusive design for worship.
C3 | Planning a Bilingual Singing Festival (Friday only)
Maria Monteiro and Martin Tel
This workshop will explore some of the behind-the-scenes preparations involved in planning a bilingual singing festival. Both leaders will distribute samples of the festivals they have prepared using the new songbook Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy (a complimentary copy is provided to all Symposium attendees). They will share their strategies for song selection, leadership, instrumentation, commentary, networking, and publicity. The principles explored in this workshop can be applied to the preparation of any bilingual singing festival, including the ‘Festivals’ program advertised online and supported by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
C4 | Loving Our Muslim Neighbor: An Interview
John A. Azumah, hosted by Cory Willson
What is it like for a theologian and minister to live and work at the intersections of Islam and Christianity and the Global South and North? What spiritual practices from the majority world help sustain faithful Christian witness in multireligious contexts? What might this teach those who lead worship or congregational life? Join this conversation with John Azumah, who is an ordained Ghanaian minister in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, a theologian, and a professor of world Christianity and Islam who has taught on four continents. Hosted by Cory Willson, professor of missiology at Calvin Seminary.
C5 | Online Resources for Worship Planning
Joyce Borger and Kai Ton Chau
While there are many worship planning resource websites, this workshop will explore several trusted and curated online resources such as Calvin Institute of Christian Worship’s website, PreachingandWorship.org, hymnary.org, and ReformedWorship.org. We will emphasize search techniques and creatively using the resources as worship elements. Computers will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own mobile devices with internet access.
C6 | Soul-Shaping Practices for Pastoral Leaders: A Conversation
Dale Cooper and Satrina Reid
In his book Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner said, “Ministers in particular, people in the caring professions in general, are famous for neglecting their selves with the result that they are apt to become in their own way as helpless and crippled as the people they are trying to care for and thus no longer selves who can be of much use to anybody.” In this workshop we will explore and converse together about some practices vital to developing and maintaining one’s spiritual vitality, thus to become ever more mature in Christ and to serve others well.
C9 | Eschatological Preaching: Imitating the Tension, Movement, and Hope of the Gospel
In 2009, Thomas Long lamented that the pulpit has grown silent on matters of eschatology. The goal of this workshop is to help preachers begin to remedy that silence by developing a theological structure for preaching that imitates the tension, movement, and hopeful trajectory of the gospel. Participants will come to see that eschatology is not an optional add-on to preaching the gospel, nor is it simply an isolated doctrine to be taught; rather, eschatological hope is intrinsic to the gospel message itself.
C10 | 1 Peter’s Prickly Passages
Dennis R. Edwards
There are several thorny passages in 1 Peter, such as: “Honor the emperor” (2:17), “Slaves, accept the authority of your masters . . .” (2:18), “Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands . . .” (3:1), and “He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison . . .” (3:18b-19). This workshop will take a closer look at these passages (and others if there’s time) with the goal of understanding them better as we consider how we might preach and teach them today.
C11 | Bridging Centuries and Continents: Ethiopian Art and the Art of Laura James
In her presentation, New York City-based artist Laura James will speak briefly about Ethiopia’s early religious history and Ethiopian Christian art. She will display images of various types of Ethiopian iconography as well as her own work. She will also discuss her background and introduction to Ethiopian art, and she’ll share about her work in The Book of the Gospels and other recent projects.
C12 | Praise, Prayer, and Lament: Experiencing Psalms with Children
Robert J. Keeley and Laura Keeley
“The Lord is my shepherd.” These beautiful words bring images of peace and rest to mind. Maybe that is why Psalm 23 is often one of the first psalms many Christians memorize. But there are many more psalms that express not only comfort, but distress, longing, praise, and awe—a wide range of the human experience. This workshop will focus on giving these profound passages to children in a way that do not reduce them to simplistic greeting-card messages.
C13 | How People Change
Duane Kelderman and Reginald Smith
Given that deep change is rare, are there predictable factors usually present when people or organizations change? Can leaders do things to help individuals and organizations embrace deep change? This workshop explores these questions to help participants understand change and lead for positive change.
C14 | The Bowed Head: How Preachers Deal with Grief
Scott Hoezee and Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
All pastors preach and counsel during seasons of grief. Such grief may be personal, congregational, national, or global. Grief has many causes, locations, and contours. It may vary by object and intensity. This presentation will explore multiple facets of grief with an eye toward helping participant preachers guide people through difficult seasons of life. The presentation will ponder such topics as the nature and causes of grief, healthy and unhealthy forms of grief, biblical approaches to grief, and intelligent addresses to grief in worship and preaching.
C15 | First Steps in Becoming a Multicultural Worship Leader
Do your worship-leading gifts work in every culture? Are you confident that you could lead or pastor a multicultural group of people? Monocultural worship models don’t always translate to a multicultural ministry. Revelation 7 worship can bridge the racial tension gap in our nation. Learn ways to learn, love, and lead—not just those who look like you, but a multicultural group of God’s people.
C16 | Epiclesis in Action: Songs of the Others
Swee Hong Lim
In the early 21st century, North American congregations were captivated by non-Western (global) songs and rushed to embrace them despite the underlying concerns of cultural appropriation and authentic performance practice. This session seeks to offer Scriptural principles and pastoral suggestions for enabling this body of congregational songs to revitalize our congregations.
C17 | Praying at the Table, Praying at the Font
Esau McCaulley, John D. Rempel, Lester Ruth, and Lisa M. Weaver, moderated by John D. Witvliet
For 2,000 years, one central component of Lord’s Supper and baptism liturgies has been compelling doxological prayers modeled in part after the pattern of the psalms and Jewish prayers of thanksgiving. But for Protestants who are a bit allergic to pre-written or set prayers, these symphonic doxological prayers may seem unusual or strange. Come to this session to explore with four worship teachers from four Protestant traditions some insights and learning about introducing or re-introducing robust prayers of thanksgiving at the font and the table in ways that can also introduce children and new believers to the grand metanarrative of the gospel.
C18 | Reading the Apocalypse in the 21st Century
Of all the books of the New Testament, Revelation is perhaps the most intimidating. A few passages offer clear spiritual and pastoral insight for modern Christians—Christ coming on the clouds, the victorious Lion who appears as a sacrificed Lamb, the new heaven and new earth. But others are riddled with challenges: rampant violence, questionable depiction of women, bizarre symbols, befuddling visions, and the text’s widespread use in predicting the end of days. Can Revelation be salvaged? This workshop will address the challenges of reading Revelation, offer some strategies for thinking through them, and conclude with reflection on what the Apocalypse offers 21st-century Christians, such as its value for the topics of empire, injustice, and ecology.
C19 | Forum for High School Students (Friday only)
All high school students and their teachers/leaders are invited to this informal time of mutual learning and sharing around worship and leadership hosted by Calvin’s campus pastor, Matt Postma. He will also share updates about the new Ministry Leadership Cohort program at Calvin University.
C20 | Where Two or Three (Thousand) Are Gathered: The Evolution and Influence of American Megachurch Worship
Melanie C. Ross
Loved by some and derided by others, evangelical megachurches have unquestionably changed the landscape of American Christianity with new technologies, cultural adaptations, and philosophies of ministry. At the same time, megachurches themselves have evolved over the last forty years, moving beyond early “seeker service” experiments to pioneer new forms of evangelistic worship and community outreach. This session—both an appreciation and a critique—combines case study fieldwork with insights from musicology and the social sciences to reflect on the unexpected ways megachurches continue to influence worship in American churches of all sizes.
C21 | Encountered by the God Who Sends Us
What do worship gatherings have to do with the life of God’s people outside of those worship times? Participants will explore this question together as we engage ways that worship and mission can intersect with each other. Particular attention will be given to identifying tangible opportunities within worship to immerse us in the still-unfolding story of God’s love for the world.
C22 | Art as Reflective Prayer
Too often we bring the world’s “It’s all up to me” habits into our faith and ministry. But God’s kingdom invites us to be like children, setting aside our own agenda to step into a reality shaped by an imagination bigger than our own. Join this creative art experiment to practice that posture of rest, receptivity, and response to the Spirit. No art experience or skill required.
C23 | Visio Divina: History, Practice, and Resources
This workshop introduces visio divina (an extension of lectio divina), an ancient Christian devotional practice combining meditation on Scripture in relation to images as a means of deepening engagement with Scripture. Contemporary practice of visio divina commonly includes not only visual images, but music and poetry. The workshop includes a brief historical overview, an introduction to the actual practice of visio divina, and some of the many resources readily available for individuals and groups interested in exploring how this practice might deepen devotional life.
C24 | Cursing, Swearing, and Cussing: The Imprecatory Psalms as Holy Profane Speech
W. David O. Taylor
In this workshop we will explore how the ostensibly obscene language of the curse psalms occupies the same basic territory as profane language. We will see how the psalmist uses hyperbolic profane language in order to give faithful expression to profane experiences—experiences that violate human dignity and that desecrate God’s good purposes for the world.
Vesper Services (4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
All vesper services on Thursday are repeated on Friday.
See Thursday vesper services.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Led by The Aeolians and Jason Max Ferdinand
Festival of Psalms
Led by Wendell Kimbrough
1 Peter 5:1–11: Living under the God of All Grace
Led by the Conference Congregational Choir, The Aeolians, and Jason Max Ferdinand, director; Peter Jonker preaching