January 2017 Seminar: Models for Worship Renewal

Dr. Gerald Borchert returns to IWS for a January 9-10, 2017 seminar that will take place during our winter on-campus intensive. This event is open to the public, but requires registration.

Dr. Gerald BorchertGerald Borchert (Ph.D. in New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a former Trustee, Emeritus Professor and Thesis Director at IWS. He continues to serve as Senior Professor at Carson-Newman University, Tennessee. Formerly a Canadian lawyer, his extensive studies include post-doctoral work in Jerusalem, Cambridge, Hamburg, Duke, Boston and San Francisco.

Jerry is committed to the work of church renewal, served several churches, taught at a number of schools in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and has been the dean of two American theological seminaries. He has led over 50 teaching tours to the Holy Land and the Mediterranean World and has written 2 volumes as guides to visiting The Lands of the Bible (2011 & 2012, Parson’s Porch).

A translator for the New Living Translation, he has penned over 200 articles and numerous books including commentaries on John (in Mercer Commentary on the New Testament, 2003; 2 volumes in the New American Commentary series, Holman Reference, 1996 & 2002), Galatians (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary series, Tyndale House, 2007, also translated into Chinese), Revelation (in the New Living Translation Study Bible, Tyndale House, 2008), Thessalonians (Guidepost, 1986), and Worship in the New Testament: Divine Mystery and Human Response (Chalice Press, 2008) as well as works on evangelism (Word, 1976), pastoral care (Westminster Press, 1985) and grief (Parson’s Porch, 2011). His most recent works include Jesus of Nazareth: Background, Witnesses and Significance (Mercer University Press, 2011) and forthcoming is The Portraits of Jesus and the New Illiteracy (Smyth & Helwys).

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

Register now online or by mail.

Seminar Description

The Portraits of Jesus: Models for Worship and Mission Renewal

Based on the forthcoming work, The Portraits of Jesus and the New Illiteracy, the seminar will examine the implications of understanding the crucial New Testament portraits of Jesus as models for enhancing and re-envisioning the renewal of worship and mission in congregations. The increase in biblical illiteracy in churches today demands our attention. It challenges Christians to rediscover the centrality of Jesus in the biblical narrative, to recognize the many facets of this Jesus who is Lord in the biblical portraits, to re-imagine those portraits as clues for developing authentically integrative patterns of worship and life, and to redeploy them as paradigms for renewal of both worship and service in order to impact present and future ministries.

Seminar Objectives

  • To reflect on the growing biblical illiteracy in our contemporary culture and to consider possible patterns of relating and ministering to such people in our churches.  
  • To examine a number of the major portraits of Jesus which are presented in the New Testament as keys to renewal in Christian worship and service.
  • To employ the portraits of Jesus in addressing social issues among followers of Jesus such as: lack of power, alienation in society, stagnant traditionalism, lack of caring, and inappropriate Christian behavior.
  • To develop further skills in analyzing theological issues related to the salvation process and applying that understanding to Christian life, worship and service.

Seminar Schedule

Monday, Jan 9 Tuesday, Jan 10
7:30 am Breakfast 7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Chapel 8:30 am Chapel
9:15 am Seminar Session 1
The Challenge of the New Illiteracy
9:15 am Seminar Session 5
Living “In Christ” (Gal & Rom)
10:30 am Break 10:30 am Break
10:45 am Seminar Session 2
Portraits of Power in Mark
and Peter
10:45 am Seminar Session 6
Living “In Christ” (Cor & Col)
12:00 pm Lunch (provided) 12:00 pm Lunch (provided)
1:00 pm Seminar Session 3
Confronting Stagnant Traditions with the Jesus of Matthew and Hebrews
1:00 pm Seminar Session 7
Jesus’ Incarnation in John’s Gospel
2:15 pm Break 2:15 pm Break
2:30 pm Seminar Session 4
Luke’s Vision of the Caring Jesus
2:30 pm Seminar Session 8
Jesus’ Incarnation in John’s Revelation
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—
Redeploying the Portraits of Jesus for Today: The Challenge of the New Illiteracy for the Worshiping Church

Reflecting on the perspectives of the new generation with its growing biblical illiteracy and wrestling with the implications. What pictures of Jesus do people in this generation carry in their minds? How do they relate these pictures to their perceptions of reality? How do their perceptions impact the way they worship and serve others?

Session 2—
Employing the Portraits of Power in Mark and Peter for Worship and Mission Renewal

Reflecting on the issue of power in this divided and frustrated world and how society affects the way we do Christianity. How awesome is Jesus in our faith communities and where do we find our “home” in this alienated generation?

Session 3—
Confronting Stagnant Traditions with the Jesus of Matthew and Hebrews

Reflecting on the nature of religious traditions and what happens when they become static and ineffective. What if any similarities are there between our generation of worshipers and those in the era of the New Testament? What are the possibilities and bases for change and what are the implications for renewal?

Session 4—
The Importance of Luke’s Vision of the Caring Jesus for Worship and Mission Renewal

Reflecting on the nature of caring in the Christian community today and its implications for renewal. How significant is caring for understanding the nature of the Christian gospel? How comfortable are our communities with this aspect of their worship? How are caring and confidence related to Christ and to a dynamic Christianity?


Session 5—
Grasping the Implications of the Developing Pauline Vision of Salvation “in Christ” through Galatians and Romans

Reflecting on how we understand salvation in the light of Christ and its significance for discovering a viable Christianity. How do we best understand both Christian freedom and transformation? Why is it so difficult to live an authentic Christian life? What are the implications of these themes for renewing worship and mission in our communities?

Session 6—
Grasping the Implications of the Developing Pauline Vision of Living “in Christ” through Corinthians and Colossians

Recognizing that living truthfully and speaking the truth in love require wisdom, discernment, and the other practices, we will explore ways to strengthen the practice and to address the dangers and consequences of deception, dishonesty, and hypocrisy in community.

Session 7—
Appropriating the Understanding of Jesus’ Incarnation in John’s Gospel as a Pattern for Worship and Mission Renewal

Reflecting on the pattern of authentic living in the light of John’s Portrait of the incarnation. What does it mean to “know” in this era of information overload, empty knowledge and pseudo-patterns of living? How do uniting the creation and the coming of Jesus bring focus and perspective to the goal of renewal?

Session 8—
Appropriating the Understanding of Jesus’ Incarnation in John’s Revelation as the Ultimate Pattern for Authentic Renewal

Reflecting on the dramatic realities of John’s Pictures of heaven and the reigning Christ in our concluding book of the Bible. In what ways do the visions of worship and victory in Revelation provide a sustaining hope and confidence for Christians? What is the significance of a future assurance in the development of Christian renewal patterns?  Why do many in our world think that such a futuristic hope is merely a “pie in the sky” construction? How do we fit into this dramatic picture?

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 longer if you’d like. Contact the IWS office. Let us know how we can help.


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

Register now online or by mail.

About the author

Alumni Director, Practicum Professor, and DWS graduate.