|In This Issue|
|The Transformation of Lives (From the editor) · Reframing the Conversation (President’s column) · Let Someone Else Praise You (Darrell Harris) · January seminar reflections · June worship seminar with Chris Hall · Faculty news · Alumni news · Alumni focus: Alan Brisco · Student focus: Jonathan Powers · Spiritual Formation Institute: Carla Waterman · Ancient-Future Faith Network · Thank You, IWS (Milt Henderson)|
Bob Webber’s vision for IWS from the beginning was the transformation of lives through renewed worship. He recognized that, while most of the academic materials for postgraduate study were readily available in print and countless digital sources, transformation is a process that requires interaction, give and take, the fruitful work of iron sharpening iron. Webber envisioned a dynamic academic environment in which historical theology was “done” in community.
Over the past decade more than 300 graduates have experienced the life-changing effects of the IWS journey. Now, numerous stories are being told of congregations, colleges, small groups and families that are experiencing corporate transformation due to the direct influence of IWS students and alumni.
In this edition, we celebrate the exponential results of Bob’s vision and work by telling some of these stories of transformation.
The Lord be with you!
Kent Walters, D.W.S. (Alpha 2002)
by Dr. Jim Hart
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
“Worship does God’s story.” These four words simplistically describe the biblical theology of worship articulated by Bob Webber. In Christian worship we celebrate, proclaim and enact the great story of re-creation, and we locate ourselves as participants in that story as our personal narratives are caught up into his great narrative. James Torrance refers to this participation in the life and work of God as a “relational ontology.” In other words, we find our very reason for existence in relation to God and each other in God’s great work of redemption and re-creation in the earth.
Knowing this to be true, our full participation and engagement in Christian worship is a natural response to such immense graciousness of God.
|New IWS Website|
|The IWS Website has a fresh look with numerous new features and interactive capabilities. Some of the data from the previous site is still being transferred, but links to the old site make everything readily available. Thanks to Sam Horowitz, our Director of Distance Learning Technology and Webmaster, for this attractive and useful upgrade. Check it out!|
Recently several blogs or open letters have been written by a few prominent, respected and scholarly theologians. These blogs and letters have been addressed to worship leaders/church musicians/music ministers, and have been focused on how various practices diminish congregational participation. The issues raised include overly loud volume, low lighting, musicians being visibly prominent in the worship environment, overly complicated contemporary musical styles, and generally performative approaches to worship. While I fully agree that these practices are common and lead to diminished participation, these are really symptoms that are related to a lack of theological reflection on worship.
We need to avoid addressing symptoms while thinking we are really treating the root malady. I want to advocate for a reframing of this conversation. Let’s take style out of the prominent place of the conversation and admit that it is a totally negotiable element of worship. Let’s first address the content and structure of worship. The content of Christian worship is God’s story, the gospel. The structure is a dialogical and dialectical one: God calls and we respond; we not only remember and rehearse God’s saving deeds, but we also anticipate the final restoration of the coming Kingdom. If the content of the worship we plan and implement is clear, and the structure of our worship supports that content, I believe that the stylistic hindrances spoken of by these scholars should evaporate. When worship leaders know that participation is at the core of a solid worship theology, they should do all they can to ensure their congregations participate and engage fully with the Lord.
We need to focus on the non-negotiables of the content and structure of worship instead of focusing on the negotiable element of style. Let’s press for solid biblical theology to drive the conversation instead of stylistic biases.
We worship leaders should facilitate God’s invitation to come to his dance of life. As John the Baptizer proclaimed, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
The Lord be with you!
James R. Hart, President
by Darrell A. Harris
Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips (Proverbs 27:2).
We are all tempted to brag, at least a bit, right? It’s just plain old human nature. If I’ve accomplished something or done well, I want as many people as possible to know about it. Don’t you? But the scripture urges us to lay back and wait. Listen to see what positive things others have to say.
Here are some comments made by pastors, overseers and colleagues about D.W.S. students in the thesis course on the impact they are having in their ministries.
A Bible college president in the Southeast writes about the “transformation” influence of the student in their chapel worship. Their chapels have moved from an “emotional-based worship experience centered on music to a scripture-based worship experience. . . . Mere words are not adequate to describe what happened in several of our chapels as the presence of God, the glory of God rested upon us.”
A professor and Associate Dean at a Bible college in the Northeast described an IWS student who teaches there as “the finest worship planner and leader I have ever had the privilege to work with.”
An Elder for Worship, Music and Arts at a Presbyterian church in the Northwest applauds an IWS student who is Director of Worship there as having an “incredible understanding of the One whose story is being told.” He credited this IWS student’s “leadership, wisdom and creativity for opening our eyes to truths of scripture that we had been ignoring for far too long.”
The Director of Worship and Arts at a Church of God in the Southeast commended an IWS student who is serving as Assistant Director of Worship for their development of a Stations of the Cross service. “He is one of the wisest and most creative people I know. [He has] been instrumental in shaping the way we respond to God in worship.”
The pastor at an Episcopal church in the South found most candidates for their Music Minister position confused when asked about their personal theology of worship. But when the IWS student was interviewed, he “was not confused, but became energized and took off on a 20-minute oral dissertation on the subject. After two years, his energy and love for the Lord continue to be an incredible gift to us.”
|January 2012 Session Audio|
|Click here to download or listen to streaming audio from the Jan Session|
A United Methodist pastor in the southeast says of an IWS student who is their youth pastor: “I have never seen 7th graders engage scripture and theology so thoroughly.”
A senior pastor of a Baptist church in New England says of an IWS student serving as Director of Music and Worship Ministries: she “has broadened our use of extra-Baptist church liturgies, lending a depth and richness to Sunday services that appeals to persons from higher church backgrounds . . . without compromising our Baptist identity.” She is a “remarkably astute, creative and conscientious leader of worship with a profound love for Jesus and a passionate commitment to lifting others into the heavenlies each Sunday through music, prayer and reading.”
A Baptist pastor in the southeast praised the leadership of an IWS student there in helping their people understand how to lead family worship. “His work in this area has been most helpful as our church has adopted a new strategy for family discipleship. He did an outstanding job of collecting resources and demonstrating how they work to a group of parents over a period of several weeks. We believe his work in this area will have a lasting effect in our church ministry.”
There is a uniquely endowed ministry couple that has matriculated at IWS They are both gifted in mime and dance. One elder at the Bible church where they serve in the Midwest said of her: “There were not many dry eyes in the house and afterward many commented as to the tremendous power of seeing the scripture portrayed before us as we sang.” An elder said of him: “He is truly a servant leader.” This elder took the IWS student with him to observe a Bible study he was leading at a maximum-security prison. The IWS student “gave a wonderful teaching and a mime without any preparation or music and brought many to tears.”
|First graduating class 10 year reunion|
|June 16-19, 2012: Make plans to return to IWS for our 10th year reunion during the June 2012 session. Events begin with lunch on Saturday, June 16. More info here.|
In addition to this current commentary, there are approximately 30 alumni teaching worship in various contexts (Bible colleges, seminaries, etc.). Worship Leader magazine awarded IWS the Best of the Best in worship education once again this year. These are not things we are saying about ourselves. These are things being said about us by others. But even then we must put the praise in context. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he said “And they glorified God in me.”
All praise to God from whom all blessings flow! And praises to him for sweeping us up into his glorious story and letting us have a small role in it.
Chuck Fromm’s two-day seminar in January on communication theory and its application for worship in the church proved challenging and engaging. Fromm based his work on the theological foundation of communications set forth by Robert Webber in his book, God Still Speaks.
Here are a couple quotes from seminar attendees:
Dr. Fromm is a fascinating man who digs far below one’s superficial understanding of how we communicate our faith in order to understand the impact of the various means of communication on the message and the importance of staying abreast of current trends in transmitting and sharing the story of God.
The material concerning technology issues in the church was fantastic, and Chuck skillfully navigated these discussions.
Audio files of the sessions are available to download or listen online here.
Click on the pictures below to see the full version. To see more pictures from the seminar, click here.
|Register now for the June Worship Seminar:
June 18-19, 2012 with Dr. Chris Hall
Our guest lecturer for the June seminar is Christopher Hall. The dates are June 18-19. The seminar title is, “Worshiping With the Church Fathers.”
Dr. Hall is chancellor of Eastern University and dean of Palmer Theological Seminary, and has served in several countries, including a pastorate in France for five years and in British Columbia for two years. He also served as Director of Pastoral Care at New Jersey’s only state gero-psychiatric hospital.
Chris is the author of a number of books, including Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, Worshiping with the Church Fathers (InterVarsity Press), and The Trinity (with Roger Olson; Eerdmans). He is an editor-at-large for Christianity Today, is associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series (IVP), and has published articles and reviews in Christianity Today, Catalyst, Christian History, inMinistry, Books and Culture, Christian Scholars Review, Modern Theology, and Crux.
This seminar is sure to be one of our most popular seminars to date. Be sure to register before May 1 for the best rate. See the links below for seminar details.
Worshiping With the Church Fathers
|Schedule and Seminar Description|
|Register online / Register by mail|
Jeff Barker traveled to Africa twice in recent months, once to accompany his touring drama team in their presentation of his play “Iowa Ethiopia” and once to research for the next play in his Africa series entitled “Zambia Home.” In Ethiopia, the play was received with great enthusiasm. Jeff and his team also met with family members of the first democratic president of Ethiopia as well as various theatre professionals and church denominational leaders.
|Chris Hall on the Church Fathers|
|“I have learned from the fathers that the church is much broader and deeper than I had ever imagined. My individualistic, evangelical bent has been tempered by a historical, theological and spiritual lengthening of memory. My listening skills have been enhanced. Voices that once seemed strange, foreign and occasionally distorted…are now old friends” (Worshiping With the Church Fathers, 13.).|
Constance Cherry‘s book, The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services, is in its third printing in less than two years after its release, and it is currently being used in some 55 college and seminary classrooms as a required text. Congratulations, Constance!
Baker Books has recently published The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Andrew Hill and Gary Burge (also of Wheaton College) are the editors. Reggie Kidd wrote the section on the Pastoral Epistles.
Carla Waterman, along with and Linda Borecki (D.W.S., Zeta 2005), recently presented weekend seminars in churches of IWS alumni. Wally Horton (D.W.S., Zeta 2005) serves at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Springfield, Virginia where the seminar was on the cries of the heart in prayer, weaving Psalm 42/43 with deeper understanding of collects, litanies and caims in the Psalms. The event was well attended by parishioners, area pastors and LCMS district staff. The following weekend Carla was in Long Beach, CA, to lead a Women’s Retreat at Bethany Lutheran Church where Carol McDaniel (D.W.S., Iota 2007) has served as the Minister of Music and Organist for the past 22 years. Carla concluded, “It is so exciting to see our grads thriving, growing and bearing fruit in their contexts!”
Rebecca Abbott, D.W.S., Pi 2010, writes: I’m working as an adjunct professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio, while home schooling Daisy in kindergarten and teaching Baby Lucy how to walk and talk. This semester I’m teaching “Introduction to the Christian Liberal Arts Experience,” a required course for all freshmen, and next semester will teach “History of Song in Worship” for upper class music and religion majors. This month I presented a mini-hymn festival for Hope Lutheran Church on “More than ‘A Mighty Fortress’: The Hidden Hymns of Martin Luther,” and occasionally teach songs to Sunday school children and substitute as an organist in the Columbus area. The variety of activities is really a joy!
Warren Anderson, D.W.S., Iota 2010 (Dean of the Chapel, Judson University), was named Director for the Center for Worship at Judson University, which will be housed in the Alice and Edward Thompson Center, the former fine arts building. He will oversee worship arts, music, Judson Theatre, and the recording studio, Ember Records. Two of the first three speakers for their worship arts lecture series were Constance Cherry and Jerry Borchert.
Alan Brisco, M.W.S., Beth 2006, D.W.S., Xi, 2010, founded The Cornerstone Community in 2010 with the goal of serving those who oversee or influence change in Christian contexts. The ministry produces online resources to inform intentional people about change-related topics.
Dr. Robert Kysar, Bandy Professor of Preaching and New Testament Emeritus at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, wrote, “The church has a history of difficulty in dealing with change.” Alan concludes, “Few seminary students spend any time studying change, yet change is the one thing they all will contend with throughout their ministries. If you get change wrong, it’s tough to get the other things right.”
|January Session Pictures|
|Pictures from the January Session 2012 are published on the IWS website. Pictures of the Fromm Worship Seminar may also be viewed. To see the archive of photos dating to January 2005, click here.|
Alan’s blog, Wisdom for a Change, provides insights from sacred and secular perspectives. “The first step towards processing change is to learn a bit about change. The blog provides bite size nuggets from a uniquely Christ-centered perspective,” Alan explains. Since its inception in July 2010, the blog has engaged readers from 72 countries.
In 2011 Alan launched his syndicated online podcast, Provoked to Newness. Walter Brueggemann’s expression “God’s newness” spawned the show’s title. “I advocate ‘worthy change’ that enables people to participate in God’s newness,” Alan says. Recent guests include the president of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, the director of the Abolitionist Faith Community in the Not for Sale Campaign, Grammy-Award winning musician David Baroni, and authors Terry Smith and Phyllis Tickle. Future podcasts will feature Annie Downs, Mark Lau Branson, Andy Crouch, and Ken Medema. Current listeners come from almost every State and province and more than a dozen countries. All podcasts are free, and everyone is invited to listen and join the conversations by commenting.
by Jonathan Powers
Jonathan Powers, Chi, D.W.S. candidate, has served as Worship Leader and Youth Minister at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky for four years. He and his wife, Faith, have recently accepted the position of Directors of Student Involvement for World Gospel Mission at Asbury University, where Jonathan will continue as adjunct professor in worship arts. I asked Jonathan for permission to publish his testimonial, which fits the theme of this edition of Anamnesis: transformation of lives through and beyond the IWS community.
|Chris Hall on Worship|
|“Thinking and speaking about God is surely a possible and praiseworthy endeavor, if our reflection and speech are formed and informed within the context of worship. For it is within worship, the fathers insist, that we encounter the mystery of God and God’s acts on our behalf and learn to think, speak and reverently respond to divine realities–all the while acknowledging that our words fall far short of the wonder they are feebly attempting to encompass and describe.” (Learning Theology With the Church Fathers, 11.)|
My research focus at IWS has been on catechism. For DWS 703, my project was on catechetical practices during the season of Lent. In DWS 704, I studied the importance of catechism as preparation for baptism in the early church, while tracing the relationship between baptism and catechism throughout church history. As a result, I implemented a catechism for a confirmation class for middle school youth at my church. My doctoral thesis is on renewing baptism through catechism.
The teaching pastor with whom I work has also been intrigued by the idea of catechism as an ongoing process of discipleship. We have collaborated to develop additional materials. Asbury Seminary recently expressed interest in publishing our work. Over the past few months we wrote and edited catechism resources, which we have entitled Echo: A Catechism for Discipleship in the Ancient Christian Tradition. A promo was recently launched featuring our teaching pastor, Teddy Ray. In addition, I have been asked to write a resource on leading a youth confirmation through catechism for publication in the fall of 2012.
I have to acknowledge that all of this is the fruit of my time at IWS, so I am immensely thankful to the school. May this testimonial be encouragement to keep up the great work! I know I will never be able to show proper gratitude to IWS for the opportunities it has given me and for the incredible ways it has formed me.
Based on the concept of baptism informed formation, Carla is launching several new teaching initiatives for everyone from the lay person to the credentialed professional through In the Kingdom Ministries from her new home base near Orlando.
Extensives, courses that meet one day a week for several weeks in the greater Orlando area, will focus on various Christian topics. The first class, Sin and Salvation in Narnia, meets Thursday nights, April 12-May 17 at the Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center. Carla is also offering an online version of this class. Contact her for more information. Click here to see the classes offered in the coming months.
Intensives, 3-day retreats at Canterbury, offer focused exploration of our identity and activity as baptized Christians in a contemporary world. The next retreat, Die Before You Die, is scheduled for October 21-24. Click here to view the retreats for the coming year.
|New Ascension Hymn|
|“Incarnate Son from Heaven” is a stirring hymn text by Constance Cherry for Ascension Sunday. Click here to see the hymn along with contact information for permission to use it. Just in time for Ascension worship this year! Thanks, Constance!|
The Faith Formation Certificate Program involves six courses associated with 3-day retreats at Canterbury aimed at equipping those interested in mentoring others. Click here for more details.
The Doctoral Program is a distance learning course of study that combines sessions at Canterbury and Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. The first session for this D.Min. in Faith Formation degree is in October 2012. Click here for additional information.
Congratulations to Carla on this bold and creative initiative that is sure to have significant impact in the kingdom.
by Chris Alford
This coming June 18-21, the newly-forming Ancient-Future Faith Network will gather for its first annual convocation. Held in cooperation with and on the campus of IWS, the convocation will feature Dr. Christopher Hall, (the first two days), and a variety of other speakers including Dr. Joanne Webber, Dr. Phil Harrold of the Trinity School of Ministry and the Webber Center for an Ancient-Evangelical Future, and various Network members (for the next day and a half). Find a list of speakers and topics, as well as details about costs and logistics, at www.AncientFutureFaithNetwork.org.
The AFFN sprang up from the grassroots, from genuine need, and from the hearts of many whose passion unites them in a desire to come together in a common vision. It also started when many of those same individuals, in early 2010, sensed that the Spirit was especially at work in the renewing of the church and her worship.
The vision of the AFFN is to grow and facilitate a network of like-minded individuals and churches. At its core is Bob Webber’s 2006 “Call to an Ancient-Evangelical Future” (which now calls the new AFFN website its home). But the association is not so much about doctrinal bona fides as it is about mutual encouragement and resourcing. The very heart of the Network is its members and the desire is that members will find a vibrant place for interaction. Click here to learn more or join the Network.
by Milt Henderson
Reflecting on my doctoral studies at IWS always brings fond memories. Though each semester would begin with a tedious two day drive from Ontario, Canada to Orange Park, those long trips were filled with great expectation of refreshing fellowship and renewal with members of the IWS community. Class sessions brought inspiring insights into worship through gifted teachers and mentors. Who could forget those morning chapels as faculty, staff and students joined together in prayer, praise and thoughtful instruction?
It is impossible to count the myriad ways that studying worship at IWS has impacted my ministry as a worship pastor and seminary lecturer. It has been my distinct pleasure to study under Bob Webber and the faculty at IWS. I am blessed!
Financial giving to IWS is one way that I have been able to say thank you and support the ongoing ministry of this great institution. Knowing that my gifts are being used to assist in the development of worship leaders around the world is intensely gratifying. I encourage you to consider supporting IWS through your prayers and financial gifts. Just think of the impact your gift could have as IWS continues to train worship leaders around the globe!
Blessings in Christ,
Milt Henderson, D.W.S., Xi 2009
Alumni Annual Fund Co-chair
Click here to see giving options.