Join me March 7-11 at Knox Seminary in Fort Lauderdale! This is an open invitation to worship leaders and pastors wanting to deepen their understanding of worship, liturgy, and pastoring. It's tailor-made for people on the go who can't commit to a semester's worth of class but might be able to do some good reading ahead of time and then break away for a week. My hope is that pastors would see the value of something like this for their worship leaders and then funnel some of the church's resources to get their worship leader down here. It's a Master's-level course, so it's not for the faint of heart, but I promise (as someone who is a practitioner first and a philosopher second) that the applicability of this course will be rich and vast. We won't stay in the realm of theory but will be able to address the real and pressing questions before worship leading in the 21st century. I'm putting the finishing touches on the syllabus as I write this, and here's the course description & objectives.
This course will explore the theology and philosophy of Christian worship, particularly from a Reformational perspective, with an eye toward practical implications for worship in the twenty-first century. Its aim is to provide existing and future pastors, worship leaders, and other church leaders with the necessary foundational anchors for future biblical reflection and application in their own local worship context.
At the end of this course, the student will be equipped to:
- Synthesize the broad Scriptural witness into a biblical theology of worship, with a knowledge of the most important biblical passages that apply to worship’s philosophy and practice.
- Defend the philosophy of Christ- and Gospel-centered worship and craft services with this preeminent vision.
- Answer some of the most important questions before the Church about worship today, including: worship’s relationship to mission, contextualization, active participation, etc.
- Articulate a philosophy of worship to aid the student in current or future church leadership opportunities.
- Explain and implement a pastoral vision for worship leadership, with special attention to worship as spiritual formation.
The Content of the Class
To say the same thing in another way, we're going to explore three facets of worship thinking and practice: biblical theology, liturgy, and pastoral ministry. (1) I want to expose the class to the broad biblical witness about what worship is and does (BIBLICAL THEOLOGY); (2) I want to argue for and train students in what it means to implement a historically-rooted, Christ-centered worship service structure which can fit a variety of styles and contexts (LITURGY); (3) I want to inspire students toward a pastoral vision of what worship leading is all about...a kind of sneak peek at the content of my book (PASTORING).
The Books We Will Read
We will read all or portions of the following books ahead of time so that our pump is primed. The class will not be a regurgitation of the material but it will use it as the foundation and jumping off point for important discussions.
Daniel I. Block, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2014).
Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009).
James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, & Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001).
James B. Torrance, Worship, Community, & the Triune God of Grace (Downers Grove: IVP, 1997)
We'll also read excerpts from Tim Keller, Mike Farley, Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Simon Chan, and yours truly, to be read in class or distributed by PDF beforehand.
The Format of the Class
The class will be a mixture of lecture, in-class reading, and lots of dialogue and discussion. For those taking it for credit, there will likely be an exam on the last day and a paper due several weeks after the class has ended. But people are free to audit the class, as well, which frees you up from those other things.
For Pricing & How to Apply/Enroll
Very simply, contact Lori Gottshall at Knox Seminary, and she will set you up.