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This is a seminary-level class on worship and Christian formation.
About this Class
These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary during the summer of 2001. The purpose of this course is to consider together the relationship between worship and Christian formation and implications of this for the design and leading of community worship experiences.
Some specific questions we will be asking include: What is worship? What is Christian formation?How are these related? What can we learn from worship and spiritual formation in the Old and New Testaments that will help us in designing and leading worship experiences today? What can we learn from worship and Christian formation in the history of the Church that will help us in designing and leading worship experiences today? How do the various worship traditions and styles shape Christians? What are some of the theological principles that guide us in our thinking as we plan and lead worship experiences? How does/should worship interface with a third great task of the Church—evangelism? What are some practical concerns that we must consider as we plan and lead worship experiences?
Worship consists of both revelation and response.
Worship is described in both the Old and New Testaments and requires active participation.
Our response in worship includes offering or giving something.
Worship is focused on the character of God and involves every aspect of our lives.
The First Commandment instructs us about who God is and that we should worship only Him.
The Second Commandment instructs us to not worship images.
The Third Commandment instructs us to not use God's name in a dishonorable way.
Commandments four through ten emphasize the Sabbath, honoring your parents, loving your neighbor as yourself, and charit.
Discussion of the book "Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace," by James B. Torrance.
The idea of revelation and response, and cultivating a lifestyle of worship are important elements in biblical worship. It is a challenge to develop an adequate understanding of who God is and how we should approach Him.
Jesus tries to dispel misconceptions about true worship when He has a discussion with the woman at the well in Samaria. The Holy Spirit plays an active role in guiding us to worship in Spirit and in truth.
Jesus is the true worship leader. Worship transcends and includes all cultures and races. Worship celebrates the first coming of Jesus, looks forward to His second coming, and prays that His presence will be manifest in the present.
Discussion of two books: "Reaching Our Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for This Urgent Time," by Marva J. Dawn, and "Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense," by John M. Frame.
Including elements in a worship service like prayer, scripture reading, communion and songs of praise can help people have an authentic worship experience.
Discussion of "Ancient-Future Worship," by Robert Webber from the "Ancient-Future Worship Video Series."
It is important to choose theologically balanced songs with music appropriate for the people. The worship leader is an extension of the congregation and should prepare the material and the worship team so they can communicate effectively and appropriately.
It is important for praise team leaders to choose praise team members that are qualified spiritually and musically, then encourage and guide the team members effectively.
Continuing discussion of "Ancient-Future Worship," by Robert Webber from the "Ancient-Future Worship Video Series."
The structure of the worship service is centered around gathering, the service of the Word, the service of the Table and dismissal.
Elements of a worship service include songs, scripture reading, offerings, sacraments, prayer and affirmation of faith.
You can download these lectures with our app and listen to them offline (more information).
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the programs intended for?
The Foundations program is intended for everyone, regardless of biblical knowledge. The Academy program is intended for those who would like more advanced studies. And the Institute program is intended for those who want to study seminary-level classes.
Do I need to take the classes in a specific order?
In the Foundations and Academy programs, we recommend taking the classes in the order presented, as each subsequent class will build on material from previous classes. In the Institute program, the first 11 classes are foundational. Beginning with Psalms, the classes are on specific books of the Bible or various topics.
Do you offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program?
At this time, we offer certificates only for the classes on the Certificates page. While we do not offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program, you will be better equipped to study the Bible and apply its teachings to your life.