June 2015 Seminar: Worship That Shows and Matters

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Mark Labberton for our June Worship Seminar, June 15-16, 2015, during the summer on-campus intensive of IWS. This event is open to the public, but requires registration.

Dr. Mark LabbertonMark Labberton (Ph.D., Cambridge University) is the President and Lloyd John Ogilvie Professor of Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. He has served in pastoral ministry for 30 years, most recently at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, CA before his work at Fuller.

An outgrowth of his passion for worship, Mark has a deep commitment to the needs of the world. In 1982, he co-founded the Christian International Scholarship Foundation (CISF) to help fund the theological education of Majority World leaders. He has also been chair of John Stott Ministries (which provides books, scholarships, and seminars for Majority World pastors), co-chair of the John Stott Ministries Global Initiative Fund, and senior fellow of the International Justice Mission.

In addition to publishing articles in such periodicals as Christianity Today and Radix (for which he also serves as a contributing editor), Labberton has authored the books Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today (2014), The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus (2010), and The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (2007).

Bookstore Spotlight
Preview Dr. Labberton’s books in the IWS Bookstore.

Register now online or by mail.

Seminar Description

Worship That Shows and Matters

This seminar will explore the biblical, theological, pastoral, liturgical and missional themes and practices in which worship, preaching and justice cohere. The evidence of faithful worship is measured by how it fosters lives that reflect the God we worship, especially in the stewardship of power. Public and private worship nurtures public and private lives meant to mirror and embody God’s reign of love, mercy and justice. Why? In what ways? To what ends?

Seminar Objectives

  • To examine biblical and theological convictions that underlie our expectations and intentions of worship;
  • To consider the internal and external, personal and public nature of worship in light of the transformative influence of worship;
  • To reflect on the criteria we use in our experience, planning and leadership to measure or evaluate the integrity and faithfulness of worship;
  • To practice designing worship that seeks the convergence of worship, preaching and justice in community.

Seminar Schedule

Monday, June 15 Tuesday, June 16
7:30 am Breakfast 7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Chapel 8:30 am Chapel
9:15 am Seminar Session 1
The God of Worship
(Isaiah 40)
9:15 am Seminar Session 5
The Reorder of Worship
(Micah 6)
10:30 am Break 10:30 am Break
10:45 am Seminar Session 2
The Call of Worship
(Psalm 8)
10:45 am Seminar Session 6
The Community of Worship (John 7)
12:00 pm Lunch (provided) 12:00 pm Lunch (provided)
1:00 pm Seminar Session 3
The Evidences of Worship
(Isaiah 58)
1:00 pm Seminar Session 7
The Freedom of Worship
(Philippians 2)
2:15 pm Break 2:15 pm Break
2:30 pm Seminar Session 4
The Crises of Worship
(Matthew 7 & 8)
2:30 pm Seminar Session 8
The Hope of Worship
(Revelation 21)
3:45 pm Free 3:45 pm Free
5:30 pm Dinner 5:30 pm Dinner
6:30 pm Practicum Presentations 6:30 pm Healing/Communion Service

Session Descriptions


Session 1—
The God of Worship (Isaiah 40)

Worship that is for and about God involves the right ordering of reality. If worship is our central purpose, then God is worship’s author and audience. All worship takes its lead from the character and glory of God. Whatever our context, God is the origin and measure of our worship. In today’s church cultures, this is a radically counter-cultural claim and the heart of various crises in the life and mission of the church.

Session 2—
The Call of Worship (Psalm 8)

Worship is our human vocation within the context of the whole created order. It is an encompassing and communal vocation that is meant to involve all dimensions of our lives and extend to all aspects of the world we inhabit. Worship is a life of paying attention.

Session 3—
The Evidences of Worship (Isaiah 58)

In a world of suffering, pain, injustice and sin, worship shows up when our vision of God becomes evident in our vision of and our relationship to our neighbor, especially those in vulnerable need. When the liturgies of the sanctuary enable us to become the liturgies of grace and justice in the world, our worship brings glory to God.

Session 4—
The Crises of Worship (Matthew 7 & 8)

The “worship war” that matters most to God is whether we will live our worship. The major and minor prophets, and the life and teaching of Jesus especially, underline this again and again; it is the worship crisis of first importance. Idolatries of many kinds sever, distract, and distort this connection. Grasping and engaging this issue is a matter of first importance for the church in the past and in the present. It is truly a matter of practice.


Session 5—
The Reorder of Worship (Micah 6)

Sabbath casts a rhythm of practice that holds all the hope, limits, and promises of a worshipful life. It reorders power in all dimensions and directions. Our liturgical, theological and homiletical expressions must create and enable the practice of rhythmic Sabbath-keeping in order for God’s people “to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before our God.”

Session 6—
The Community of Worship (John 17)

In contrast to any sense that worship is primarily an inward and invisible grace, our practices of worship place us in the context of the church and the world—global, diverse, historic, contemporary, and needy. It is not the story of “my” worship but of “our” worship; and it is not for “my life” but for “our life.” The community of God’s unlikely and divergent people shares in “the work of God’s people” by the liturgy of sanctuary and of street. “We” are a worshiping community in and for the world.

Session 7—
The Freedom of Worship (Philippians 2)

The liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a freedom that moves us towards God, the people of God and the world. Our liturgies need to be tools that help such liberty become the environment that liberates us to love in relation to lives and places in which injustice, suffering, pain rather than justice, shalom, and hope rule.

Session 8—
The Hope of Worship (Revelation 21)

The trajectory of worship points beyond this moment to a resurrected life and hope to which our worship testifies, practices and prepares us. This is not liturgical and ecclesiastical denial, but enactment. It shows in the sanctuary and it shows in the streets.

Make it a Spiritual Retreat

You are welcome to craft your own schedule to incorporate additional time on campus to take in chapel sessions, visit classes, read and research in the library, or spend time alone with God. You may plan to come early and stay through Wednesday if you’d like. Let us know how we can help.


Cost: $175 ($25 early registration discount applied before May 1)
Includes lunch on Monday and Tuesday

Register now online or by mail.

After you have registered, hotel and additional seminar information will be sent to your email address. Questions? Call the IWS office at 800. 282. 2977.

About the author

Alumni Director, Practicum Professor, and DWS graduate.