IWS Alumni News

December 2004

Volume 1, Number 2

In This Issue

W From the Editor: Second Edition Overview

W Letter from Dr. Webber

W Info Regarding Your IWS Email Address

W Alumni Ministry Changes

W Alumni Prayer List

W Book Review: The Millennium Matrix

W Alumni Seminar 2005












New Ancient-Future Release

Bob's latest release in the Ancient-Future series is now available through Baker Books: Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality Through the Christian Year. Baker Books, 2004.






Alumni Giving

To make sure your gift is accurately recorded, remember to write your check to the IWS ALUMNI FUND. Be sure to include your class name [e.g., IWS ALUMNI FUND (Alpha Class)].  If you desire to designate your gift to a specific area, please indicate that also [e.g., IWS ALUMNI FUND—SCHOLARSHIPS (Alpha Class)].






Your Profile
Is your personal profile and contact information up to date on the IWS website? Don’t be cut off from the community. Go the website, click on “Student Directory” and then your name. Click on “Update”. If you don’t know your user name and password, contact Ken Rushing. After you have updated your profile be sure to email Ken so that he can activate your changes. Thanks!





















Changed ministries since IWS?
Please let me know if you have made a ministry move since graduating.






































The Millennium Matrix:


(?B.C.–1500 A.D.)








”The Millennium Matrix is not a call to leave the past behind but to reclaim it and take its best gifts in reframing the future” (M. Rex Miller, The Millennium Matrix, 221).






















Contact Information
The Institute for Worship Studies
Florida Campus
151 Kingsley Ave.
Orange Park, FL 32073

Ph: 904.264.2172
Fax: 904.215.0799

Director of Alumni Relations and Editor of IWS Alumni News
Kent Walters
7323 Westlane Ave.
Jenison, MI 49428
H: 616.457.5234
W: 616.538.9350
Fax: 616.538.3564

The Second Edition of Alumni News

Kent Walters, Director of Alumni Relations


First, let me say thank you to all of you who responded to the first edition of the IWS Alumni News. Your feedback and ideas were encouraging. Your ongoing response is an important part of keeping the IWS community alive.

Since September we have reestablished communication with some of you. Thanks in advance for keeping us informed when your contact information changes. See the article below from Ken Rushing, our Webmaster, which includes important information in this regard.

The feature article in this edition is a letter to the alumni from Bob Webber. He shares his heart for IWS and invites us to participate in his vision for its future in a tangible way. Our response is very important at this point in the history of the Institute as we move toward accreditation.

You’ll learn some personal information about several of your fellow alumni as you scroll down and read this edition. Plus Dale Dirksen’s review of the “current read” for the IWS community is included.

Again, any content you are able to contribute to future editions of the IWS Alumni News will be greatly appreciated by us all. Please, contact me.


Dear IWS Alumni:
think most of you know that we are moving as quickly as the process will allow toward full accreditation. Dr. Eric Ohlmann, who brings more than 30 years of experience as Dean of Northern Seminary and Eastern Seminary, has been appointed as Director of Strategic Planning and Accreditation. His expertise is invaluable as he guides us toward our goal. I thank God for the experience and vision he brings to this task, and to the commitment he has made to IWS to lead us step by step toward accreditation.

It’s a daunting task. There are many things we must do. I want to share one of them with you now. The accrediting association wants to know how supportive the board, faculty-staff, alumni and students are of the mission of the Institute. What percentage of people give to the school?

The best way, I think, for us to present this to the accreditation board is to organize giving by groups and classes. What percentage of the board, faculty-staff, and then, of each class, support IWS? For this reason I am going to ask you to designate your gift by class. When you send a gift simply note if it’s from Alpha, Beta, Gamma, or Delta class, etc. We will keep you informed through the alumni newsletter how each class is doing.

You ask: What are the IWS needs?

Let me say that IWS has been blessed by God with a balanced budget from the very beginning—and that has been done on tuition alone.  Through the five years of our life we have also set aside money each year for the additional costs needed to pursue accreditation. We have that money in place. Some has come from tuition. Some has come from consistent faculty-staff donations.

So, why would we need any support?  Three reasons: first, accreditation.  We cannot get accreditation without demonstrating strong support from our constituency, and the process itself generates additional expenses. Second, faculty salaries. The faculty have taught without a raise from day one and they have done so sacrificially—$2,500 per course. I plan to raise their salary $250.00 per semester (God willing) to bring them to $4,000 per course. I will only be able to do that through regular donations. No one has complained. No one has asked for a raise. Accreditation demands will ask more of them, so I feel they need to be paid more. And, third, we need to raise money for scholarships. For the past five years we have helped Canadians, overseas students and missionaries and a few needy people here and there. But this has all been taken out of our common budget. So we need to set aside some money for scholarships.

This letter represents the beginnings of our fund raising efforts. Your gift to the ALUMNI FUND will go to meet the needs in the three areas mentioned above. If you desire to designate your gift for one of these specific areas you may also do that. I know you have appreciated the ministry of IWS in your life. So please, designate your gift to the IWS ALUMNI FUND (“your class name”), and send it to the IWS comptroller, Dana Brodsky, IWS, 151 Kingsley,
Box 1, Orange Park, FL 32067-0001. You will receive a receipt. And, of course you know IWS is a 501 C3 non-profit institution. So your gift is tax deductible. Thank you in advance for your continued support of IWS.

God bless,
Bob Webber



Your IWS Email Address
Ken Rushing, Registrar and Director of Distance Learning Technology

Everyone has been given an IWS email address, usually consisting of the first letter of your first name followed by your last name and attached to our domain name—iwsfla.org. (E.g., Jim Hart’s address: jhart@iwsfla.org). This IWS email address is redirected to your primary email address. (E.g., Jim’s primary email address is jckeahart@aol.com. A redirect causes any email sent to jhart@iwsfla.org to be “redirected” to jckeahart@aol.com). This way everything is automated and there is very little responsibility on your end.

The only thing you really have to do to keep everything running smoothly is let me know when your primary email address changes. If you update your profile on the web and make a change to your primary email address, then you must send an email to me and let me know that you have made a change. I will then change your email alias (so it is called) to redirect your IWS email to the new primary email address.

Also, if you have any questions concerning your ability to communicate with faculty, staff or students, please let me know. I can be reached at webmaster@iwsfla.org or office phone 813-754-1366. I currently own a computer company (Rushing to Serve) that does networking, web mastering, hardware and software sales and service. Let me know if you have any computer related problems.


“Bob, You’ve Ruined my Life—Hallelujah!”

During one of our class discussions in the early years of The Institute, one of my fellow Alphas spoke for nearly all of us when he said, “Bob, you’ve ruined my life!” Used by God, Dr. Webber and the IWS faculty had wisely synthesized, interpreted, and communicated ancient-future truth about worship that had profound impact on us all. We would never be the same. As Jesus explained, truth promises both life and death when fully embraced—

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (Jn. 12:24 NIV).

As a result of our time at IWS we were seeing God apply this principle in our lives and ministries. For some, the former ways of viewing, planning and doing worship were dying and new vision and values were springing to life. Others were realizing that this “ruining” would eventually necessitate a change in ministry venues.

Every change in ministry location isn’t the result of “a ruining”, but two of the changes profiled below bear direct testimony to this. Ken Rushing and Norm Brunelle were at the heart of the discussion that day. Here is how they explain the “ruining” in their lives:

“Up until my time at IWS I thought I had a pretty good grasp on worship. But after the rigors of "Webberian Theology" (and that of the other faculty) it became clear that my comfortable understanding, practice, leadership, and instruction of worship were completely shot; there was no way that I could return to my previous place of living. I had changed, and my ministry would have to change with me; life as I knew it was ruined, and rightly so. I welcomed the ruin knowing that my ministry at the church would have to be different. I realize now that the difference was going to be realized in my eventual relocation” (Norm Brunelle).

“I was uneasy about not being able to continue my ministry where I was, but excited that the change was brought about by divine intervention” (Ken Rushing).

You probably remember receiving an email inquiring about those who have changed ministry locations since graduating. Here are the responses along with the answers to the questions: Did your training at IWS prompt you to seek a new venue for ministry? And, did your credentials from IWS enable or otherwise make possible this change?


Chris Alford (DWS, Alpha 2002) serves as Minister of Music at Smithwood Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee through December 19, after which time he will become the Minister of Music and Worship at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, California.


Chris writes: “The full reason for our leaving is as simple as this: Sheila and I believe God has clearly said that it’s time. We realized when we gave up our lives for service to God’s Kingdom that we were no longer our own—that our Sovereign could use and send us however and wherever He chose. The time has come.” (See the prayer request below).


Norm Brunelle (DWS, Alpha 2002) served for 11 years as Minister of Music at Trinity United Methodist Church in Opelika, Alabama. He is now Assistant Professor and Director of Outreach at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky where he supervises the Contemporary Worship major program, directs two touring vocal ensembles, and is developing a graduate program in worship arts.

Norm’s training at IWS prompted and enabled a change in ministry. He explains: “Though originally my intention was to remain in full-time church ministry, God began a subtle process of nudging that led me to KCU. [The Search Committee] had particular interest in the concentration in worship studies at IWS and its affiliation with Dr. Webber. KCU is a strictly accredited institution. My IWS background was paramount in my being hired, despite IWS's lack of accreditation. Subsequently, my credentials were recognized based on the credentialed status of IWS faculty and the rigorous coursework at IWS.”

Kenneth Rushing (DWS, Alpha 2002) previously served as Associate Pastor/Minister of Music & Administration at Shiloh Baptist Church, Plant City, Florida. He is now a Postulant for Holy Orders/Presbyterate at the Church of the Resurrection, Tampa, Florida.

Ken writes: “The broadened perspectives of worship that I was exposed to at IWS made me re-evaluate the significance of my relationship to God and what he has created me to do on my journey. To continue to live out that calling, I had to rethink my beliefs, desires and current religious affiliations. I'm not so sure the IWS credentials helped at all with this change, but they didn't hurt. When changing traditions, the new leadership is suspicious of what you are bringing with you (theology, doctrine, beliefs), if you weren't originally trained in select affiliated schools.”


Julie Smith (MWS, Aleph 2004) previously served as Director of Worship and Music at Saint Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Florida. She is now the Director of Music Ministries at St. John Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa.

She writes: “My training at IWS broadened my understanding of worship and was influential in preparing me for my new position. My desire to make everything in worship purposeful and intentional grew through my studies. My new pastor read several of my papers which were influential in his selecting of me as the person for the position. I've had opportunities to discuss worship with many in my new community and through these discussions more worship/music leaders are becoming aware of the IWS program. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had to be at IWS, and hope to continue in the DWS program in the future.”



Alumni Prayer Requests

Chris Alford—moving family and ministry from Tennessee to California. See Chris’ letter on the Alumni Discussion Board.

Jim Hart requests prayer for Grace Church in Orange Park, our IWS home. “Keep Grace Church in prayer as we stand for orthodoxy in a denomination that increasingly embraces heterodoxy. We need wisdom, discernment and direction.”

Eric Ohlmann and the accreditation process—Dr. Ohlmann writes: “Further research into the accreditation process has shown that it takes longer than the 2-3 years that had been initially expected.”


Book Review: The Millennium Matrix

The Millennium Matrix: Reclaiming the Past, Reframing the Future of the Church, M. Rex Miller. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Dr. Webber has asked the students to read this book for the January 2005 session. He is hoping the alumni will read it as well and will enter into dialogue regarding its contents.

Dale Dirksen (DWS, Gamma 2003) was kind enough to submit a thoughtful review of the book. The following is an edited version of Dale’s review. You may read the review in its entirety on the Alumni Discussion Board. The link for the review will be our forum for feedback and discussion. I encourage you to read the book and interact on the discussion board—just like old times!
Typically, books on communication and the church are written by those who make their living as scholars or pastors. Rex Miller is a businessman, although he has studied communication theory and theology. The integration of business and ministry may raise suspicion for some, but it should be a welcome idea for evangelicals since they have always had keen ears for the pragmatic and the corporate.

In Part One, Miller outlines four eras of communication culture—oral, print, broadcast, and digital—and critiques the various “mediums” of each era. Miller suggests that for the church to be effective it must learn the new culture and adapt both thinking and methodology in light of that new culture. Old ways will not work effectively with new paradigms. For example, he compares the use of print (linear) reasoning in the digital world to “using a bulldozer to cultivate orchids” (5).

While Miller’s description of the oral culture is helpful, it seems somewhat simplistic at certain points. For example, he equates the liturgical with the oral (chapter 1). He jumps from pre to post fourth century without really acknowledging the radical nature of Constantinian “reform”. These fourth century developments dramatically affected church structure and practice. And, whereas most would not consider the New Testament Church to be “liturgical”, Miller includes all pre-print culture under that term. His connection between word, truth, and person in oral culture is, however, very helpful (23), noting that the relationship between truth, the truth giver and community erode in the subsequent cultures of print and broadcast.

Describing the print culture, the author’s observations regarding shifts from messenger to message, context to content and static replacement of the living word are insightful. Many contemporary traditions, and virtually all evangelical traditions, find their roots in print ideology. Miller helps us understand that our epistemological “foundation” might be as much influenced by the enlightenment as by scripture. We might be uncomfortable with the statement “Print makes the message more important than the messenger” (48), but it is very difficult to completely disagree with the point. Sola scriptura traditions often identify the printed Bible as the definitive authority. Earlier cultures did not experience this same kind of compartmentalism.

Television is to the broadcast era what books were in the print era. The press allowed truth to be captured on a page. Television allowed it to be captured on a screen. However, the epistemological foundation remains highly linear. The tendency to discard anything that was not individually and personally validated was exacerbated in the broadcast era (56). While baby boomers are often accused of historical amnesia, it may be the influence of the transitory (television) rather than the desire of the generation. Miller’s observations regarding the shifts from content to event, closure to open-endedness, and left to right-brained thinking in the broadcast era helpful. Many of our church traditions have been highly influenced by a kind of modern broadcast ideology exemplified in “production” worship services and big-event church architecture (73).

Today’s culture combines people rooted in print, broadcast and increasingly, the digital. Miller contends that his own primary language is broadcast but his children’s is digital (78). In many ways, the computer and internet are to the digital what the television is to the broadcast. The difference is in the level of potential interactivity. On one hand, there is a proliferation of information, allowing for even more bypassing of oral sensibilities regarding authority (80). On the other hand, there seems to be an interest in connectivity. This connectivity is not motivated by the need for “content” as it was in the oral era, but for community. Community, however, is increasingly defined outside a traditional sense, e.g., the “virtual community” (83) and virtual reality (87). “Digital cultures will continually reach for the wisdom of the ages and seek to recontextualize it within their community and setting” (87).

The fact that the church exists “right smack on the fault line between broadcast and digital” (93) means that leaders must seek tremendous wisdom and discernment. It is not simply a matter of moving ahead. Understanding and embracing those who live and function in a print or broadcast paradigm is an essential pastoral concern. Increasingly, connecting with the digital is a missional concern.

Part Two of the book offers suggestions on how the church might respond to changing eras. Questions about the value of numerical growth, which is highly valued in the broadcast era, are raised. Further, six spiritual hungers in the digital era are identified: hunger for home-grown prophets, hunger to make a real difference, hunger for authenticity, hunger for mystery, hunger for depth, and hunger for deep support (128-132). The holism expected in the digital era will renew a sense of need for family, however defined, and will require a renewed relational approach to leadership.

Miller offers keys for the church in the digital era: agility, transparency and authenticity, cohesion and balance, resiliency and forgiveness, sustainability, open-endedness (embracing change), accessibility and collaboration (133-135). He also identifies essential qualities for effective leadership (chapter 6), and helpful analysis regarding moral reasoning in the digital era.

Overall, The Millennium Matrix is a very good analytical and futurist offering. It is well worth the read. Seeing the contemporary (digital) through the lens of the oral, print, and broadcast cultures will help church leaders bring a sense of both unity and mission to a church that often seems driven by trends and style.


Alumni Seminar 2005

Given your initial response in September, we are making plans for the second IWS Alumni Seminar this coming June. Since many of you asked, Bob Webber has agreed to teach this seminar. Here is an extraordinary opportunity to be inspired once again by Bob’s teaching, and to be influenced by his most recent research and vision for worship renewal.  You are invited to participate in Commencement on Sunday, June 12 at 6:00 p.m. The alumni will don their regalia and process together. A reception follows the ceremony. You will also be able to join the IWS community in morning chapel worship and evening practicums.


We’re seeking to establish the right rhythm for these seminars—yearly or every other year—so scheduling this one is a bit of a test to determine your interest and needs.  Please let me know if you are making plans (even tentatively) to come this June.  Since Bob’s schedule is very busy during on-campus weeks it will be vital for him to know how to plan.

IWS Alumni Seminar
June 13-14, 2005
Speaker: Dr.
Robert Webber
Topic: “God’s Story as the Source of Worship and Spirituality”
For early registration by April 15: $80.00
After April 15: $100.00

Mail your registration to IWS, ATTN: Jim Hart

Here’s another wonderful enrichment opportunity—The Calvin Symposium on Worship,
January 27-29, 2005 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You really need to be aware of this outstanding annual event. For details go to http://www.calvin.edu/worship. This seminar fills up quickly so if you are interested register soon. Several IWS alums have attended this event in the past. If you are coming this year please let me know and we will plan an IWS alumni rendezvous.