July 2010                                                            Summer Edition                                                     Issue #23

In This Issue

Click to go to the article.

·   From the editor

·   President's column

·   Faculty column: Lester Ruth

·   Alumni focus: The impact of IWS

·   Chan seminar report

·   January worship seminar

·   Congrats 2010 grads

·  Alumni and student news




















Simon Chan on why we engage in worship

"Personal active participation does not mean that one engages the liturgy for the purpose of one’s own benefit. Participation in the liturgy is participation in the faith of the Church actualized in the liturgy. We don’t look for what may uplift our soul, as is the case with contemporary, non-liturgical worship."

(Quote from the June 2010 Worship Seminar.)































Michigan Regional with Lester

Lester Ruth was recently in Grand Rapids for three weeks to teach a seminar course at Calvin College. Several alumni and students gathered at a restaurant and enjoyed good fellowship and fun (including several Ad Hoch Committee media reports!). Lester spoke on the topic at the left. If you would be interested in having an IWS Regional in your area (with or without a faculty member) just let me know. I'll help you with IWS contacts near you.


























Have you moved or changed jobs?

If so, please contact us with your new contact and employment info. Thanks!































New photos added on the IWS Website

·   June Session

·  Chan Seminar

·  2010 Graduates
























Worship Architect Talk

Constance Cherry will speak on topics from her book, The Worship Architect, for the inaugural Worship Arts Lecture Series at Judson University in Elgin, IL on Monday evening, October 11, at 7:30 p.m.  For more information, contact Warren Anderson.


























Simon Chan on participation in worship

"Active participation in worship is a demanding exercise. Worshippers should be like good actors who “indwell” the script of a drama, acting out the liturgical text. Giving instructions during worship is more like practicing the drama rather than doing it."

(Quote from the June 2010 Worship Seminar.)































June Session Resources

Audio files from the June 2010 session are being edited and will be added to the Website in the coming weeks. Resources will include Jim Hart's Presidential Address, Convocation sermon by Lester Ruth, Commencement sermon by David Neff, Simon Chan Worship Seminar sessions, and chapel talks by Darrell Harris. Here's the link.


























Book for the June Session

Jim Hart selected Bob Webber's last book, Who Gets to Narrate the World for the book of the session in June. Here's a quote:

"Evangelicals [should] turn away from forms of worship that focus on God as a mere object of the intellect or that assert the self as the source of worship. Such worship has resulted in lecture-oriented, music-driven, performance-centered and program-controlled models that do not adequately proclaim God’s cosmic redemption. Therefore, we call evangelicals to recover the historic substance of worship of Word and Table and to attend to the Christian year, which marks time according to God’s saving acts."

Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 121.













From the Editor: The Impact of IWS

IWS students and alumni are changing the face of worship across the country and around the world through biblically grounded and incredibly creative initiatives.

I was encouraged when several grads shared their stories during the January Worship Seminar. The topic of discussion: The single most significant impact IWS has had on your ministry. Three stories are included below in the Alumni Focus. Be sure to click on the [Read more . . .] link to see the rest of the story and a bevy of beautiful photos that accompany Rodney Shores' article on applied theology in sacred space.

It's our desire to keep you connected, informed and inspired. So be sure to follow the links in this edition that point to pictures and resources on our Website from the June Session.

The Lord be with you!

Kent Walters, D.W.S. (Alpha 2002)

President's Column: IWS Grants Honorary Doctorate to David Neff
by Dr. Jim Hart

Last month’s commencement service saw the awarding of the second honorary doctorate in IWS’ history. Dean of the Chapel Darrell Harris was the first recipient in 2002, and this year, the Doctor of Humane Letters was presented to well-known editor, writer, pastor, teacher and church musician David Neff, editor-in-chief of the Christianity Today Media Group. The following is the script that was used in conferring the degree:

Dr. Eric Bolger, Academic Dean:

Mr. President, I have the honor and pleasure of presenting to you Mr. David Neff, who has committed himself to Christ and His calling as a pastor, teacher, editor, writer and church musician, and has demonstrated outstanding merit and distinction which exemplifies the mission and goals of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, to receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

David Neff has worked in Christian journalism for nearly 30 years, serving in the early 1980s as an editor for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s magazine for college students and for the past 25 years at Christianity Today, where he is currently editor-in-chief. Before becoming a journalist and editor, Mr. Neff served as a pastor and religion teacher. He led churches in California and Washington state and taught religion at Walla Walla College. As a pastor and as a church musician, he has had an abiding interest in liturgics. He has served as an organist and choral director at Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Episcopal churches. For the past 23 years, he has been organist/ choirmaster at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. During that time he has also served as the chair of the St. Barnabas liturgy commission and composed hymns, anthems, and organ works.

Mr. Neff is active in the American Guild of Organists, serves on the executive committee of the National Association of Evangelicals, has served as president of the Evangelical Press Association, and has been on the boards of Bread for the World and the Association of Theological Schools.

Before the death of Robert Webber, the Webbers and the board of Northern Baptist Seminary asked Mr. Neff to serve as director of the Robert E. Webber Center for an Ancient Evangelical Future.

Dr. James Hart, President:

David Neff, having committed yourself to the work of Jesus Christ, the ministry of worship leading and renewal, and a distinguished career in Christian leadership, upon the recommendation of the faculty, by action of the Board of Trustees, and under the authority granted by the State of Florida; I confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto and together with a representative of the Board of Trustees do hereby present to you the symbols of the degree.

The diploma was then presented, and Dr. Neff was hooded by Dr. John Lindsell, Chairman of the board of Trustees.

This was David Neff’s second trip to IWS, having visited as a guest speaker in January of 2008.  IWS has enjoyed a strategic partnership over the past four years with the Robert E. Webber Center for an Ancient Evangelical Future and we look forward to a long-term friendship. Congratulations, Dr. Neff! [Click on the pictures below to see the full version.]

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Faculty Column: Is God Just Hanging Out on the Sofa? Initial Wonderings about the Inactivity of God
by Lester Ruth

A few years ago I published in a couple of places a review that I had done about the Trinitarian quality of the most used contemporary worship songs in the United States.  The study looked at the lyrics of any song that had appeared on one of CCLI’s twice-a-year list of the most used 25 songs. One of the things I noticed in that study was how few of the songs mentioned two or more of the Triune Persons (e.g., the Father and the Son) in the same song and, the few times it was done, how little the songs spoke about any sort of activity the Persons did to, with, or through each other.

The striking thing about that omission is how out of sync it is with the New Testament, where the interactions of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are reported quite frequently. Indeed, what the Three do to, with, and through each other seems to be the heart of the apostolic Gospel. (Look at Romans 1:1-4 for example.)

And so I had begun wondering: how do the most used songs speak about divine and human activity? Who gets the most and the best verbs? While I haven’t finished my analysis on the 91 songs that have appeared on the CCLI lists, I can make some preliminary observations:

  • The songs have more instances of human activity than divine (just under 500 instances of human activity and just over 300 for divine);
  • A few of the songs have no references to divine activity at all;
  • Interaction among the Persons of the Godhead is pretty minimal, as I have already noted;
  • The doctrine of the atonement (what it means for Christ to die) is largely underdeveloped (it’s interesting to note that I can find only one instance of the verb “crucify,” which is in the song “Above All”);
  • There is little remembering God’s activity prior to the first coming of Christ and remembering divine activity in the second coming of Christ;
  • The most used verb attributed to God is “come,” which is connected with God more than the words save, love, or die.
  • There are as many instances of the songs speaking of us loving God as they do of God loving us.

All of this data does not mean that I don’t like contemporary worship music, which some might have thought after the first study. I actually love this music. And this data does NOT mean that we shouldn’t use these songs. Of course, we should use them. It should mean, however, that we are conscious of how the rest of the things we do in worship help to paint a richer biblical portrayal of God’s redeeming activity because, in the end, aren’t we saved by what God does rather than by what we do? If so, let’s let God have some good verbs.

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Alumni Focus: The Impact of IWS on our Ministries

The three stories that follow were verbalized in an interesting discussion during the January Worship Seminar on the single most important impact of IWS education on our ministries. I asked three grads to put their stories into writing. The first is from Jim Smith about the use of Scripture in worship. The other two stories, by Dean Moyer and Rodney Shores, focus on worship space. Would you like to share how IWS has impacted your ministry? Please contact me.


"Bibli-full" Worship
by Jim Smith

Jim Smith (D.W.S., Epsilon 2007) is the Lead Pastor at Bethel Missionary Church in Goshen, Indiana.

The most visible impact my studies at IWS had on the weekly worship service of the church I pastor has been the principle of "revelation and response." This "little" principle now gives the shape to our worship; so, our worship has indubitably become "bibli-full." Our services usually only included the text for the day before understanding this principle. Now our services always include a biblical call to worship, an Old or New Testament lesson, a Gospel lesson as well as the text for the day.

I can testify that our congregation now expects and loves this shape for worship. They consistently report a depth and substance to our worship that was not there before. They also consistently report on how the Word is minimized in worship services they visit during their vacations, describing in detail the paucity they experience in their spirits because of its lack.

I must admit that we lost people from our congregation because of our increased public reading of the Word. Though I grieve over their departure, I would not give up what we have gained in our worship.

I thank Dr. Cherry for her soul-convicting study of how time is spent in worship, for it was her charts that finally motivated me to reshape our service of worship. And I will be forever grateful for the ministry of IWS; its impact on my life and ministry is incalculable.


Legacy of Space
by Dean Moyer

Dean Moyer (D.W.S., Beta 2003) is Worship and Fine Arts Pastor at Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone, NC.

Five years ago Alliance Bible Fellowship embarked on a journey to expand our facilities enabling us to move out of a 500-seat gym into a permanent worship facility. With the conviction external spaces shape internal beliefs, our desire was to create a worship environment that would help us proclaim the Gospel of our Savior not only to those who would worship there each week but also to the many from our community who would use this facility. Could our new big, metal building and the furnishings serve to tell the Story?

In determining design we first needed to agree on the primary use of the space. For our purposes there were two options: worship space or event space (dramas, conferences, concerts, community events). Understanding this was to be worship space, I led our team to give consideration as to how this space could reflect our theology. To this end, we set out to address three facets of truth about God and his incarnational work among us: transcendence, imminence, community. Here is an overview of how the truths were integrated:

1) Transcendence: God is big, other, beyond us, holy, Creator

·         Design that lifts the eye upward, beyond ourselves

·         White, high ceiling rather than “black box” theatre

·         Inclusion of windows for natural light

·         Attention to beauty (acoustics, surfaces, visual, natural elements)

2) Imminence: God with us, Jesus Christ, incarnation

·         Inclusion of an “always present” Table

·         Display areas for art

·         Central presence of a cross (a custom art piece)

·         The Bible/pulpit design

3) Community: We are the body of Christ; called to serve/worship in community, fellowship

·         Large foyer/gathering space

·         We chose theatre seats, but the arm rests can be moved up to foster community rather than isolationism or independence

·         Room design (seating and stage) has an “in the round” feel; stage is low and creates a warm community feel

·         Baptistery is a prominent part of the worship space

·         Audio/video/lighting/acoustics to support strong worship/singing and a welcoming environment

I am grateful for the impact IWS is having on the body of Christ here at Alliance. The truths learned and now implemented are enabling us to not build a monument to our great success but to leave a legacy of space that retells the Story of our Savior to those present and to generations who follow.

[Click the picture above to enlarge. Click on this link to see additional pictures and video.]


The Influence of IWS on Sacred Space at Tampa Covenant Church

by Rodney Shores

Rodney Shores (D.W.S., Zeta 2005) serves as Pastor of Worship and the Arts at Tampa Covenant Church (Tampa, Florida), Assistant Professor of Worship Ministries at Trinity College of Florida (New Port Richey), and director of Voce di Vita, Le Petit Choeur, and Mannchor of the Gulf Coast Youth Choirs (Tampa).

In January of 2002, I began the D.W.S. program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. By June of that year, the congregation of Tampa Covenant Church, where I serve as Pastor of Worship and the Arts, had decided that it was time to construct a new worship space on their existing property. Directly influenced by the inspiration and fresh discoveries I was gaining at IWS, particularly through Professors Constance Cherry and Mark Torgerson in the “Music and the Arts” course, the building committee set to work attempting to implement an architecture and subsequent structure that would incorporate their theological sensitivities in the physicality of the space while on a shoestring budget.

After several months of meetings, theological discussions, mock-ups, and brainstorming sessions, the team realized they were getting nowhere. That’s when the miracle happened. A couple of very humble architects began to attend worship services—Albert Alfonso and Angel del Monte from the prestigious Alfonso Architects firm in Ybor City, Florida. Given their passion for sacred architecture, they soon joined the building committee, which started from scratch. The design and building process continued simultaneously as the foundation was poured and the cost-effective pre-fab steel framing was erected, becoming the “box” the architects had to work with.

Needless to say, the creative genius and financial wisdom of the gentlemen from the Alfonso firm along with the theological detailing of the pastoral and elder staff came to fruition. The new sanctuary was dedicated January 3, 2010.

The notes and photos that follow explain the theological intentionality of the space, and reflect our desire for the environment to form the gospel of Christ within the parishioners. Click on the pictures to see the full-sized versions.  [Read more . . . ]

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Chan Seminar Report

Theologian Simon Chan graced the IWS campus in June and served up a feast of liturgical theology in his seminar, The Liturgy as the Epiphany of the Church. Having nearly lost his voice during a demanding series of talks before coming to IWS, he spoke a bit softly the first day, but was not deterred in presenting the full-course meal.

Audio and print resources from the seminar are currently being edited and will be available soon on our Website audio page. Photos from the seminar are available here.

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Here are reactions from two seminar participants:

It was truly a blessing to be on campus for the Alumni Seminar! Dr. Chan gave us a compelling vision of God's glory in his Church, rooting us deeply in God's Story and inspiring us as we engage in this ongoing epiphany through liturgical theology and practice for the sake of the world. It was a time of spiritual refreshment for me and I am looking forward to being back again. [Kendall Hafermehl, D.W.S. 2009].

While reading Simon Chan’s Liturgical Theology, I was struck by his challenge to churches about their worship: “Bad worship produces bad theology, and bad theology produces an unhealthy church.”  When I learned that Dr. Chan was speaking at IWS I could not wait to hear him. I loved his call for integrity in our liturgy and worship. Dr. Chan helped us understand that worship distinguishes the Church as Church, worship realizes the Church and worship is God’s action in the Church. The seminar was time well spent. [Stan Pylant, D.W.S. 2010].


Make plans now to attend the next Alumni Seminar:

January 10-11, 2011 with Dr. Don Davis

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January 2011 Seminar with Don Davis

The opportunity to return to the IWS campus and be part of the community is enough to draw most alumni to a post-grad seminar. But the desire to keep the flame of worship renewal burning also ranks among the top reasons alumni come back for one of these events. I hope you can "come home to IWS" this January. And hopefully Florida will not set new low temperatures again as was the case most of last winter!

We have an incredible guest lecturer for the January 2011 event. Don Davis is reincarnating the vision of Bob Webber and nurturing ancient future sensibilities with creativity in the urban context. His work is a shining example of Bob's challenge to his students to work for worship renewal in their particular setting. Author of Sacred Roots: A Primer on Retrieving the Great Tradition, Dr. Davis is the Vice President of Leadership Development of World Impact, Inc., and the founder and Director of The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) in Wichita, Kansas, which is the research center for World Impact, an interdenominational mission organization dedicated to evangelism, discipleship, and planting churches among the unreached neighborhoods in America's inner cities. The TUMI Web site is loaded with useful resources.

Save the dates:
January 10-11, 2011

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Congratulations, New Graduates!

Thirty graduates received their degrees in the June 13 Commencement Service: seventeen D.W.S., two AGCWS, and eleven M.W.S. See a listing of their names and thesis titles here. The IWS alumni association now totals 265.

David Neff, Editor-in-Chief of the Christianity Today Media Group offered the Commencement sermon (available here), and he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by IWS during the service. You may view the Commencement worship bulletin here. Follow the links below to see addition photos.

Commencement Service & June Session photos

Photos of 2010 Graduates

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Student and Alumni News

Bill Cummings, D.W.S., Gamma 2004, is moving to Charlotte, North Carolina where he will serve as Director of Music and Arts Ministry at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

Bill Davis, D.W.S., Lambda 2007, writes: "I assume duties as Chair of the Division of Music and Worship at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville on July 1. BCF is a small college owned and operated by the Florida Baptist Convention. Its mission is preparing men and women for ministry, and offers majors in theology, music and worship, education, and business. I am excited to be part of the school's vision for building a strong worship and music program."

Brent Gibson, D.W.S., Nu 2009, reports: I was married on January 30, 2010 to Nancy Cucheran, who has worked as a missionary for Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) for the last 10 years in Romania. She is now working for our PAOC International Missions Department training and nurturing missionaries. I'm teaching worship and music as an adjunct at Pacific Life Bible College in Surrey, BC. I am also designing an "Executive Certificate in Worship Leadership" for the PAOC in partnership with Trinity Western University's Center for Ministry Excellence. It will include four courses that can be taken either for non-credit, undergraduate credit or graduate credit. The proposed launch is Fall 2010. Finally, I am more than halfway through an Audio Engineering and Music Production diploma program at Harbourside Institute of Technology in Vancouver. I'm working on setting up a music label for the PAOC. IWS has definitely opened up many exciting ministry opportunities.

Mark Jonah, D.W.S., Omicron 2009, begins a new position this fall as Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry/Worship Arts at LeTourneau University, Longview Texas. He writes: The position involves designing and developing a new undergraduate major in Worship Arts. During the first year, I will design and develop the course work and recruit students for the program which begins in the fall of 2011. The chance to design a worship program is a unique opportunity. I will also be responsible for the worship teams for the chapel services, and I will direct the University Chorus. Our oldest son is off to university in Toronto this fall and the rest of the family is staying in Edmonton for another year. This enables our second son to complete high school.

Julie Janisch, D.W.S candidate 2011. In the previous edition, I reported that Julie had created a Stations of the Cross display that featured the artwork of members of her congregation at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in St. Albans, VW. Since then, the Charleston Gazette published a news video. Check it out here.

Larry Kochendorfer, D.W.S., Nu 2008, accepted a call to special service as Assistant to the Bishop, Synod of Alberta and the Territories, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. He will assume duties on August 1 and a Service of Installation will take place September 25 at Ascension Lutheran in Edmonton where he has served the past 8 years.

Bruce Makowski, D.W.S., Nu 2008, reports: "I am in the process of planting an Old Catholic Church. After 21 years of serving in the Foursquare Church, I was ordained as a deacon on May 30 and will be ordained into the priesthood in September. We are part of the growing Ecumenical Catholic Church USA and will serve under Bishop Robert Burgess of the western St. Thomas Diocese. We have about twenty people who are committed to the work and have rented (for Sunday services) a small former Catholic Church now called the Canby Wedding Chapel in Canby, Oregon. Our church is charismatic, evangelical, and sacramental as per the first seven ecumenical councils."

Matt Packer, D.W.S., Gamma 2004, is music director this summer for Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat through Swartz Creek Center Stage, a community theater group. He reports: “I am music director at the Flushing United Methodist Church, director of the Flint Male Chorus, and serve as accompanist for the choirs and with band and choir students during solo and ensemble at Swartz Creek Community Schools. In addition to this, I have an active concert ministry to churches and senior facilities (www.mattpackerlive.com).”

Barb Reid, D.W.S., Lambda 2007, reports: "I was ordained with American Baptist Churches USA in December 2008, and finished 7 years as Worship Director at First Baptist Church in Dubuque, Iowa on May 11, 2010. I am currently pursuing pastoral ministry/preaching opportunities in the Midwest tri-state area. I continue to serve as Assistant Head of the Nursing Department at the University of Dubuque and I also help with the undergraduate chapel ministry."

Karen Roberts, D.W.S., Pi 2010, shares: “Beginning this fall I will be teaching the Foundations of Worship course at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. The course will involve students in planning and leading some of the seminary chapels. In the spring the course will be offered online. I am very excited about this opportunity to engage students with the biblical, theological and historical foundations of worship. I believe one of the reasons I was considered for this position is that I am a graduate of IWS. Bob's work and legacy is held in high regard at North Park. My ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Illinois is as Director of the Neighborhood Arts Centre, a ministry that shares the gospel through the arts with children and adults in our congregation and community. We recently added pre-school classes for children and parents, and we are developing a special learner's component so that we can provide support and encouragement to families who are impacted by disabilities.”

Patricia Stromsta, D.W.S., Gamma 2004, received a M.Div. degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan this spring. She is Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, MI and a candidate for ordination in the PCUSA.

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© 2010 The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Contact Information
Robert E. Webber
Institute for

Worship Studies
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Director of Alumni Activities and Editor of Anamnesis
Kent Walters
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