Theologically-reflective persons—whether musicians, worship leaders, artists, pastors, scholars, or laypersons—are invited to come together for this one-week course to consider some of the issues, historical practices, new contextual challenges, and relevant approaches for a Christian church at worship in a changing landscape. What should faithful Christian worship look like now? Should it mirror current dominant models or not? Although North America has never been “Christian,” significant changes in its attitudes towards Christianity have been a wakeup call to believers here. Yet the church at worship has thrived in cultures where Christianity is not welcome or simply one of many faiths. In this course, we will think through issues, experiment with faithful ways of worshipping, and consider what a theology of worship that is faithful to Scripture but flexible enough to adapt to new cultures might look like. There is much for us to weigh and some serious work for us to do together as we wrestle with real contemporary issues and practices. This course will be interspersed with active interaction and hands-on participation, as well as space for thoughtful reflection. Assignments in this course have the flexibility to challenge and address wide-ranging interests, whether in the arts, theology, history, biblical studies, cultural contexts, or issues of pastoral care.
By the end of this course, including reading and assignments, you should be able to:
- critically analyze the practice of worship in a/your local church;
- identify where a/your church at worship is positioned historically and how its theology of worship influences its capacity for adaptability to new cultural contexts; and
- be able to evaluate what contributions could make a positive difference to a/your church.
By the end of this course, including reading and assignments, you should find that you:
- engage in worship with a greater awareness of God’s welcome to each of us and with a deeper capacity for welcoming others into worship; and
- are more attuned to the creative ways of God in our worship.
- design and implement ways of worshipping together that are biblically faithful, theologically sound, historically resonant, culturally relevant, and/or artistically generative; and
- research and develop your own theology of worship that is relevant for your context and faithfully aligned with Scripture, theology, history, and culture.