Public worship


Miles Anson Hanbury D.Min.
This project seeks to address the problem of a lack of experiencing the presence of God in church services by exploring the history and theology of God’s presence in worship and constructing a four-week sermon series at Christ Church, Lake Forest, IL aimed at helping people invite, expect, and experience the presence of God in worship. Drawing on data from eighteen research participants, several key lessons were learned about ways church leaders can modify worship services to engage congregants more deeply. Among them are creating quiet space for reflection, giving explicit permission to engage God, and giving various opportunities to engage God.


Brian Olson D.Min.
This project set out to examine and evaluate the use of first-person narrative as a possible alternative option to be included in a regular rotation for preaching in a public worship service. It also set out to examine the process of developing the sermon. It also set out to determine if it can be used to effectively communicate the biblical message to a post-Christian, entertainment-oriented culture without compromising its faithfulness to the message of Scripture?

The research was done on the Biblical and theological foundations of preaching to accomplish these goals. An evaluation of current literature on the subject was conducted. A system of evaluating existing sermons was developed and implemented. A sermon was produced and presented in the first-person narrative mode. Survey feedback was received from individuals who were present for the sermon. The surveys from the sermon produced for the project and the earlier evaluated sermons were processed to reach the goals and determine the proper steps for moving forward.

A key understanding derived from the study was that first-person narrative preaching is often mistakenly viewed as lightweight storytelling. The reality is that it is more work than a traditional sermon. It requires that same work for those sermons, but it also requires a heightened understanding of the Biblical story's cultural, sociological, and personal attributes.

Also learned was the importance of story as a means to communicate truth. We teach theology to children through stories, and these same stories can teach the truth to adults. In the west, we have become convinced that science and facts are the most important things and that these are the way to communicate truth. But in much of the world and history, story was the primary means of communicating truth.

Seeker sensitive worship in a Reformed context

Burt C Twomey
This project is designed to assist local pastors and worship teams who desire to become more seeker sensitive in worship. Though it is written with a particular bent toward Reformed worship, it is designed to bring theological reflection and practical ideas for existing mainline Protestant churches who desire renewal in worship without forsaking their unique history. The project grows out of the experiences of a local congregation, Faith Reformed Church, Traverse City, Ml., over a five year period.

This project shows that it is possible for existing congregations to become more seeker-sensitive in worship through an approach that blends their own traditions with more open, expressive forms of worship. Seeker-sensitive worship, when done with integrity, can edify the believer while also attracting seekers to faith in Christ.

Keep it real : starting a Christian hip-hop service in a Reformed context

Reginald Smith
This project was designed to provide a working model of bridging the African American community and the Reformed faith. The gap between the community and church has grown wider because churches are using models of worship that are outdated and paternalistic for the Hip Hop generation.

Chapter 1 will provide a biblical and theological basis of "witness"as the prevailing symbol of being the people of God, who were saved to be a light to the nations.

Chapter 2 reports the history of Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church. I will give attention from the great beginnings of two churches to their eventual deaths, and their resurrection into Roosevelt Park Community CRC.

Chapter 3 records my own spiritual journey. My story will provide spiritual markers that has lead me from the Black Baptist church into becoming a minister in the Christian Reformed church.

Chapter 4 provides an analysis of the Hip Hop culture and its hold on the young urban generation today. What are the held values of Hip Hop culture? Can the Reformed faith provide answers to their questions about life, God and spirituality? The Reformed faith can speak to the heart, soul, and spirit of the Hip Hop generation.

Chapter 5 presents a preaching model that can reach the Hip Hop generation. Preaching is more than a single event, but part of the larger context of worship which seeks a multi-dimensional approach to preaching to the young people of the Hip Hop culture.

Chapter 6 sketches the "Keep It Real" service from an idea to the first worship service.

Chapter 7 reflects on what I learned in starting this service, with its mistakes and triumphs and what can others learn from this project for other urban Reformed churches.

The food of God for the people of God : reconnecting food to the Eucharist

David Ryan Boes
There is an old saying that “you are what you eat.” But I think it goes further than that. We aren’t just defined by what we eat but who we eat with, where we eat, and how we eat. All of it says something about us. Food is cultural as well as biological—it’s spiritual as well as physical. Food is a ritual, communal, and relational act. All living things are part of what we call the food chain: all things are eating or being eaten. For Christians, the Table of the Lord, the Eucharist, should be the height of our eating. It is the apex of our interaction with food. At the Table, we enter the mystery of provision as we are fed by our good and gracious Father.

However, many of us have lost this connection of table to Table. The Western diet has stolen our diverse and bountiful diet and replaced it with the tepid slop of a fast food nation. Our theology of the Eucharist as been boiled down to individual memorialism of Jesus’ death, instead of a robust and hearty theology of remembrance, communion and hope.

So how might we go about reconnecting table to Table? I started with scripture where the Apostle Paul reminds the Church about its identity at the Table and how every table that we gather around forms us. Then I followed this thread through the theology of John Calvin to discover this connection within the Reformed tradition. Additionally, I use the voice of Jean-Jaques von Allmen to demonstrate how every meal that we eat is the prelude to and an echo of the meal that we eat at the Table of our Lord. Finally, I invite the gathered Church and households to engage in some practices of reconnection.

Creating contemporary worship : interventions for developing contemporary worship that is theologically sound, liturgically mindful, and culturally relevant

Woods Bradshaw Lisenby
"Worship is a central feature of Christian communities. In the twenty-first century, expressions of worship take on many different characteristics. One style of worship that churches around the world offer, with increasing regularity, is Contemporary Worship. . . . The main question this project aimed to address was, how do we create Contemporary Worship services in the United Methodist Church that are conducive for church growth but do not sacrifice the essence of what makes us United Methodist. The author of this project offers interventions at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama, to develop a process for creating Contemporary Worship that other United Methodist Churches can replicate. This project focused on creating worship that is theologically sound, liturgically mindful, and culturally relevant. . . . " -- Leaf [2].

Past, present, and future : embodying beloved community through multicultural worship

George Winkfield
The purpose of the project was to develop a worship experience that honored the past but better represented Loch Raven UMC’s multicultural present and future. The project was intentional about including other cultures into the worship at Loch Raven. The first phase added a cultural component with a sermon that addressed cultural diversity. The second phase of the intervention used an integrated approach that utilized a theme and cultural diversity throughout the service that connected to a sermon series. Outcomes suggest that when cultural diversity is integrated into the theme of the service it produces more overall engagement in worship.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Developing a worship revitalization strategy for Stetson Baptist Church, DeLand, Florida

Carlos Martinez
The purpose of this project was to develop a worship revitalization strategy for Stetson Baptist Church, DeLand, Florida. The project included four phases. The first phase of the project explored the field of worship revitalization in order to determine the best practices. The second phase of the project required the project director to conduct an internal and external demographic study to determine the continuity between the worship practices of Stetson Baptist Church and its surrounding community. In the third phase of the project, the project director led a select team of worship ministry leaders to develop a worship revitalization strategy for Stetson Baptist Church. In the final phase of the project, the project director presented the strategy to the Church Council and Pastoral Staff of Stetson Baptist Church for approval. As a result of the project, the project director increased his knowledge of worship revitalization and strategy development.

Training manual on the Lutheran divine service : a response to Pentecostalism in the ELCT, South East of Lake Victoria Diocese Agape parish

Daniel Henry Mono
The project was conducted in Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, South East of Lake Victoria Diocese, Agape Kahama Parish (ELCT-SELVD). Pentecostalism has been seriously penetrating among the Lutheran members to the extent that some of them do not value the Lutheran Divine Service. They claim that the Lutheran Divine Service is not spiritual because it is guided by the book or written materials and therefore, not spiritual.

The study made a survey of the use of the ELCT hymn book for worship called Tumwabudu Mungu Wetu (TMW) which has biblical contents. The project results proved that many Lutheran members in ELCT did not fully understand and believe what is contained in the book.

The study developed a training manual for the Divine Service for pastors use so that they are well equipped to teach their members so that they remain faithful Lutherans.

Witness of grace, a liturgy of hope dialogue in weekly worship as sacred encounter

Jessica Patchett
This project proposes that the practice of dialogue in response to scripture and sermon in weekly worship offers a vital liturgical and evangelical experience, offering participants a sense of connection with the church community and hope for their lives and the world. It includes narrative accounts of the practice, describes how it works, proposes theories for why it functions as a source of hope, and outlines dimensions of the practice that are more mundane, unpredictable, or unintended. The research shows that the practice offers a critical contribution to the contemporary reformation of the church.
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