The IWS Alumni Newsletter

May 2006                                                         Spring Edition                                      Volume 3, Number 2

In This Issue

Click to go to the article.

·   In this issue

·   Alumni Seminar 2006

·   New Worship Web site

·    IWS regionals update

·    Grace Church in transition

·   Alumni use their IWS training

·   Worship Questions-- a list you can use

·    What has changed for you?












Harold Best on musical appropriateness in worship:

"Everything done musically must be defended or critiqued theologically and biblically.  Church music does not exist for its own sake; nor is it, as some would have it, just a tool.  Nor is it part of a setup--half behavioral and  half spiritual--for the allegedly more important activities of worship.  Music is, in its own way, proclamation and as such is completely accountable.  Musical appropriateness . . . is first of all an issue of faith musically put to work shown through discerning choice. . . .[It] is never a matter of pragmatics but rather of wisdom (Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 188).


















The "June Session Read"

Bob Webber has chosen his book, Ancient-Future Evangelism, for the June Read.  Surely you all have read this book by now, but if not, take the opportunity to read this great text on making your church a faith-forming community.  See the details for this book at










The most often-asked question by alumni:

"What is the username and password for the Web site?"

So don't feel embarrassed any longer!  I email this info all the time.  Just send me an email with the word "Help!" and I'll reply.













"Discerning worship leaders

must sense that when familiarity begins to turn into conditioned reflex or the right worship atmosphere cannot be achieved unless certain music is used, they are responsible to correct the worshipers and lead them back into the way of faith" (Harold Best,  Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 194).

















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

Ph: 904.264.2172
Fax: 904.278.2878

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

In This Issue . . .

The big news is our alumni seminar, which is just around the corner.  It's not too late to make plans to attend.  I sure hope you can come.

As you page down you will read about Dale Dirksen and a new worship Web site, an update on our IWS regionals, the transition Grace Church is experiencing, a teaching opportunity for Don Fugate and Merrill Smoak, and a useful list of worship questions from Lester Ruth.

So, read on; get re-connected; renew your prayer for the IWS community; and then give me some feedback or input regarding our newsletter or Web site. 

Kent Walters

Serving as your link to the IWS community

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Alumni Seminar 2006--just weeks away!

And what a time it will be!  Few are better qualified to address the topic of "Worship and the Arts" than Dr. Harold Best.  If you haven't read his books by now you really need to: Music Through the Eyes of Faith and Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts. He has also contributed a section on tradition hymn-based worship in the book, Exploring the Worship Spectrum: Six Views, edited by Paul Basden, Zondervan, 2004 (Amazon link).

The third annual gathering of the IWS alumni in Orange Park is scheduled for June 17-20, 2006.  I'm looking forward to the additional activities that will occur on Saturday because of our expanded schedule this year.

Dr. Best has planned a rich array of topics for our sessions on Monday and Tuesday that will facilitate a stimulating discussion of music and the arts in worship from theological, philosophical and practical perspectives.

Here is an overview of the schedule:

Saturday, June 17

  • Lunch with Bob Webber

  • Bob's Presidential Address--June 2006

  • Optional visit to a DWS or MWS class session

  • Evening class reunions and alumni gatherings at local eateries

Sunday, June 18

  • Morning worship

  • Dinner and fellowship with friends at local eateries

  • Afternoon alumni meeting (sharing of vision, ideas and prayer)

  • Evening Commencement Service (alumni may don their regalia and process with the faculty and staff)

  • Alumni Reception

Monday and Tuesday, June 19-20

  • Chapel (led by Darrell Harris and Jim Hart)

  • Morning and afternoon sessions with Harold Best

  • Evening Practicum / Service of Healing and Renewal

The seminar officially ends at the close of the Tuesday afternoon session, however, attendees are welcome to stay through chapel on Wednesday morning.

The registration fee is only $100.00.  Meals and lodging are not included in the registration fee.  Click here for more details.

To register: mail the registration fee along with your current contact information (mailing address, phone, email address) to IWS (attn. Dana Brodsky), 151 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, FL 32073.  Once we receive your registration a detailed schedule and information regarding meals and lodging will be sent to you.

The sharing of rental cars, hotel rooms, transportation to and from the airport, etc. can be coordinated on the Alumni Message Board.

See you in Orange Park in June!

Please direct any questions you have about this event to Kent Walters.


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New Worship Web Site

In April of 2006, faculty and students of Briercrest Seminary in Saskatchewan, Canada launched a Web site called "The Canadian Centre for Worship Studies" ( CCWS is dedicated to the thoughtful engagement of ideas and practice related to Christian worship—both corporate and personal.  Dale Dirksen (Gamma, DWS 2003), the web site moderator, believes this kind of resource is important for students, scholars, leaders and lay people who want to think about and carefully practice worship.  The site enables a person to both contribute to and take advantage of the worship resources available.

Sections of the web site include "papers" related to worship in the following areas: theology, history, sign and symbol, contemporary and postmodern thought, technology, music and the arts.  Worship service plans and links are also posted on the site.  A “community of learners” who participate on an ongoing basis is already developing through this Web site.   

If you would like to submit a paper that might fit with the content of this Web site, please send it to Dale (

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IWS Regionals Update

East Tennessee Regional (contact: David Brown)

David reports: Thus far we've had one East Tennessee regional gathering that took place over lunch in Knoxville, and plans are in the works for our second.  We're excited about the possibilities of meeting with other worship ministers and lay leaders within the East Tennessee area who are currently not connected with IWS.  Several of our upcoming goals will be to continue to meet with one another, share resources that might be useful, and invite anyone interested in hearing about IWS to our regional gatherings as a way to introduce them to the school.

Twin Cities Regional (contact: Heather Hood)

The next meeting will be on Thursday, May 11, at 12:00 p.m., in Edina, MN (exact location to be determined). We will be discussing the book, Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God by Michael E. Wittmer, Zondervan - ISBN 0-310-25307-1 (one of the books recommended in the 2005 Alumni Seminar).

West Michigan Regional (contact: Kent Walters)

Our regional met for the first time on March 27.  Five alumni and students gathered for an informal lunch at a Grand Rapids area restaurant.  There was a great spirit among us! After sharing personal updates we discussed our schedules and the nature and location of future meetings.  There are five more IWSers in Michigan who expressed interested in being a part of these gatherings.

If you are interested in forming a regional gathering in your area, please contact me (Kent) for more information. 

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Grace Church in Transition

Grace Church held their last services in the Kingsley Avenue facilities on Easter Sunday.  They are currently meeting in the Orange Park High School while property is being acquired and building plans are made.  At this point the IWS office and campus will remain at the Kingsley Avenue facilities.

Continue to pray for our Grace Church brothers and sisters during this time of transition.  You may also be interested in reading a recent postings by Rector Sam Pascoe as he describes the church's last Sunday on their historic campus and the first Sunday at the high school.  Click here.

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Alumni Apply their Knowledge and Skill

Merril Smoak (Alpha, DWS 2002) is Associate Pastor for Music and Worship at Trinity Baptist Church in Livermore, CA and Don Fugate (Delta, DWS 2004) is Associate Pastor at Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose, CA.  They are both adjunct faculty members at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA.  Don gives the following report on a successful team teaching endeavor last summer.

Merril Smoak and I had the privilege of teaching "Music and Worship in the Faith Community" to 46 students at the seminary last summer.  What a wonderful experience.  We used Dr. Hill's book, Enter His Courts With Praise, as our main text.  We incorporated so many concepts we learned at the Institute as we discussed the biblical and historical basis of worship, the Christian year, and the use of visual arts in worship.  We even included a field trip to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco as we explored the subject of sacred space.  The teachings seemed to resonate with the students who hunger for the touch of a majestic, mysterious and even dangerous God.

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Worship Questions--a Useful List

Lester Ruth has created a list of penetrating questions that should produce thoughtful and valuable conversation among worship leaders, committees, planning teams and pastoral staff for many meetings.  The list of 26 pointed questions seeks to get at the heart of Christian worship and move our dialogue beyond the surface concerns of personal preference and style issues that so often commandeer our discussions about worship in the church.

Lester provides us with enough discussion material for at least a year's worth of meetings.  I suggest that you use these questions to interact with your worship planners about your worship and also as jumping off points for teaching about worship.

Well done, Lester! 

The list is titled, Beyond Style Debates: Questions to Renew All Christian Worship, and is posted on our alumni Web site in the Resources section under Articles.

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Needed: alumni news and updates

Future editions of Anamnesis will feature the personal and ministry changes of our fellow alumni since graduation.  Please send me info about the changes in your life.  Have you relocated?  Had a baby?  Won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes?

Also, please be sure to keep your personal profile on the Web site current.  your personal password for making updates will be automatically sent when you click on the update option.  Follow the easy instructions.  Thanks.

Keep celebrating the Resurrection!

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