WORSHIP IN THE CRC
(This paper was originally presented to the Reformed
I. The Traditional Pattern of CRC Worship
When my father was in seminary (1949-1952), he was invited to preach in many churches. As a child I often went with him. No matter what church I went to, the sermon was the same. And no matter what church I went to, the worship service was the same. At that time almost every church in the CRC had the same order of worship.
When I preached in various churches during my seminary days from 1964- 1967, I had basically the same experience. All worship services in the CRC were virtually identical until the 60's. They were quite similar to the traditional worship services of the Reformed Church in Japan.
Worship services were quiet, solemn, and simple. The only people who actively participated were the minister and the organist. The minister led the service, prayed the prayers, and preached the sermon. The only thing the congregation had to do was stand and sing the hymns, sit and listen to the minister pray, read Scripture, and preach, and give their offerings.
No one was bothered by this, because everyone felt that worship services were preaching services. People went to church to hear a sermon. Everything else in the service was secondary. The one exception was the communion service, but this was held only four times a year.
The evening services were almost exactly the same as the morning services--with perhaps two exceptions: In place of the law, the congregations recited the Apostles' Creed; Instead of preaching an expository sermon based on a Scripture text, the minister preached a sermon based on the Heidelberg Catechism.
This way of thinking concerning worship was reflected in our seminary training. We received only one course on liturgy and no practical training in it.
II. The Practice of Worship in the CRC Today
Today there are still many CRC congregations which still worship in the traditional style, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. In 1990 the CRC Worship Committee sent our questionnaires to about 160 churches asking them about their worship practices. 118 congregations responded. The questionnaire revealed that the CRC has undergone much change in the last 25 years.
A. Bibles and Hymnals
The NIV Bible, which was first published in 1973, is now used in 83% of CRC congregations. The Psalter Hymnal published in 1988 is now used in 60% of the churches. It has a much greater variety of hymns than the old Psalter Hymnal, including many contemporary style hymns, songs to be sung with guitar, etc.
B. Creeds and Liturgical Forms
Now only about half the churches are preaching through the Heidelberg Catechism annually. 28% use the "Belgic Confession" in sermon series. 23% use our Contemporary Testimony called Our World Belongs to God in sermon series. About half of the ministers do not follow the liturgical forms exactly. Many added comments on the questionnaires that the forms should be shorter, more flexible, more celebrative, and less didactic.
C. Lord's Supper
Churches now celebrate the Lord's Super more frequently than they used to. Only 11 per cent celebrate the Lord's supper four times a year. 67% celebrate communion 5 to 7 times a year. 22% celebrate it more than 8 times a year. One congregation celebrates it weekly. Whereas almost all CRC churches used to serve only wine at the supper, now only 8% serve only wine. 31% serve both wine and grape juice. 61% serve only grape juice.
D. Children and Worship
72% of the churches reported that children 12 years old or younger have made profession of faith in their churches. Written comments revealed that there is much disagreement concerning the Synod 1988's decision to encourage younger children to make profession of faith.
Children's messages have become very common. 37% replied that they always have children's sermons. Only 16% said they never do. 40% of the churches reported that many men and women, not just the minister, gave the children's sermons.
More and more churches have the children leave for part or all of the service. In fact only 39% have the children stay for the entire service. Some churches hold church school classes for the children and others have children's worship services.
E. Participation in Worship Planning and Leadership
In the past the ministers planned the worship services alone. The percentage of ministers who plan worship services alone is now only 40%. 42% team plan with musicians. Whole committees plan the services in 23% of the churches.
In more than half of the congregations, laymen read the Scriptures, lead in congregational prayer, the diaconal prayer, or even the entire service. 10% of the ministers only preach the sermon.
F. Emphasis on Experience
There is a very strong feeling within the CRC that its worship has been too intellectual and didactic in the past. People do not want merely to hear about God; they want to meet Him in worship. They do not want to worship God with their minds only. They want to love Him with their heart, soul, strength, and mind. Some want to use all of their bodies to express their worship. Many want their worship to be joyful, free, contemporary, and aesthetic. 82% of the churches now hang banners in the sanctuary. 25% use overhead projectors--12% frequently.
III. Worship Issues Facing the CRC Today
There are at least six worship issues confronting the CRC today.
A. Is liturgy important?
Historically, the CRC answer to the question, "Is liturgy important?" has been "No." We did not think about liturgy very much. Many people in the CRC were not even aware that Reformed churches have a liturgy. Liturgy belonged to the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Anglicans.We accepted the pattern of worship that we received from our forefathers without asking questions. As long as we had good preaching, we were satisfied.
But in the 1960's the CRC became aware that worship was more than preaching. Through the study of Scripture, the study of church history, and the influence of other denominations, the church realized that worship is Word and Response. Worship is a dialogue between God and man. Because response is important, liturgy is important. In 1968 Synod recommended the Liturgical Committee's Report for the churches' study and consideration. The synodically approved report very clearly affirmed the importance of Word and Response in the worship. Since then the liturgical renewal movement in the CRC has steadily gained momentum.
The CRC is not alone in this movement. For the last quarter of a century all the mainline traditions of Christianity, except for the Orthodox and the Anabaptist, have been involved in this liturgical reform movement. The new liturgies being recommended are all very similar in structure and content. In a very real and startling way the unity of the church is coming to expression in our liturgies. Why this liturgical convergence? The churches have been influenced by each other to some extent. But more than that, they all have become aware of the liturgy of the church around 200 A.D. All the liturgical reform commissions have returned to the structure of the liturgy that Justin Martyr describes for us. As Wolterstorff says, "In my judgment we must regard this emergent coalescence as nothing less than the work of the Spirit." ("The Reformed Liturgy," p.276)
The large majority of CRC churches have acknowledged that liturgy is indeed important, and they have begun searching for ways to renew their worship. On this question a consensus has emerged: liturgy is important and we must work for liturgical renewal.
B. Should we strive for uniformity?
The uniformity of thirty years ago has been replaced by a tremendous diversity within the CRC. Is this a good thing? Should synod exercise more control? Even when the CRC had a very uniform style of worship, it never adopted a standard order of worship. But the CRC has been very strict in its attitudes toward the use of sacramental forms--insisting that they be followed very faithfully. But last year the synod allowed the churches to adapt these forms according to the needs of the congregation. Since diversity in worship styles has now become prevalent, it would be impossible to enforce uniformity. Harvey Smit says,
I think we're past the times of enforced uniformity. The church air has a "congregational" whiff. Few churches would pay much attention to new directions--even those mandated by the highest church bodies.
On the other hand, some common patterns seem valuable. We should work together at developing a shared understanding, a common mind, a biblically and historically rooted perception of Reformed worship. Any effective directory expresses, rather than enforces, such an understanding. ("How Uniform Should Our Worship Be?", p.2)
Among the conservative churches there is some uneasiness about the changes in the CRC worship styles, and there is much interest in studying what it means to worship in a Reformed style, but hardly anyone is advocating uniformity in worship.
C. How Can We Restore the Worship Dimension to Our Liturgy?
Most of the discussion about worship renewal in the CRC today centers around the theme, "How can we restore the worship dimension to our liturgy?" A large majority of the people in the CRC no longer agree with the idea that the worship service is mainly a preaching service and that everything else is secondary. There is a general consensus that praise and worship is just as important as listening to God's Word. Many of the articles in the new magazine Reformed Worship deal with this theme. Recently there have been many articles in The Banner concerning this theme too.
1. Two Basic Patterns
People are trying a large variety of approaches to renew their worship, but two basic patterns can be discerned: the "high" liturgical style and the free, informal style. The first is characterized by choir processions, litanies read by the congregation, observances of the church year, banners, liturgical colors, and preachers in robes. The second is characterized by hand raising, hand clapping, spirited singing, and the use of a variety of musical instruments. Many churches mix the two patterns.
The high liturgical style is found most often in large upper middle class city churches, whereas the free, informal style is found most often in young churches and churches for ethnic minorities. Suburban churches typically take some of both emphases and mix them with a basically traditional style.
2. Congregational Participation
Common to both styles is an emphasis on active congregational participation in worship. This happens on three levels: worship planning, worship leadership, and congregational participation. In more and more churches a committee rather than the minister plans the worship services. Sometimes this group is just the minister and the musicians. Other times it is a committee appointed by the consistory. Ladies with artistic talents are often asked to make banners which can be hung in the sanctuary.
Probably in the majority of churches the minister still leads the services, but lay led services are becoming much more common. Many churches have different people read Scripture, pray, give the children's sermon, and lead the singing.
Not only are more people involved in leading the worship; the entire congregation participates more actively--not just with their minds, but with their emotions, their senses, and their bodies as well. Whether "high church", or free-flowing, the worship is expressive, marked by an atmosphere of celebration and joy, and carefully planned.
3. Praise and Worship
Recently more and more CRC churches have accepted the Praise and Worship style of worship. This Praise and Worship movement has become so widespread in the CRC, that in June of last year Reformed Worship devoted an entire issue to it. Robert Webber says that the two main characteristics of P & W are: 1) It touches the affective side of the person. 2) It recaptures the praise element of the Old and New Testament.
A P & W service begins with praise to God for what he does and then moves to worship of God for what He is. The order of the service is often patterned after the worship in the Old Testament tabernacle or temple. It begins in the outer court, moves to the inner court, and then to the Holy of Holies. In the first step the congregation sings several songs of praise which are upbeat in tempo. They tend to be choruses of personal experience or testimony. In the second step the congregation sings songs of thanksgiving. A typical song would be a Scripture song from Psalm 100. The emphasis shifts from consciousness of what has been done in the worshipers to who did it for them. During this stage worshipers are thinking of themselves and of God. In the third step, into the Holy of Holies, the worshipers are not conscious of themselves; they are conscious only of God. They do not think so much of what God has done as who God is. They sing songs like "Father I Adore You," "I Love You, Lord," and "You Are Worthy." The worshipers have a strong awareness that they are in the presence of God Himself. It is a time of quiet devotion. Then the typical P & W service moves through a time of teaching, a time of intercessory prayer, and then a time for ministry when people with particular needs may be invited to come to a private room. There someone may pray with them.
Much of the P & W service is similar to the traditional service. What is most different is the beginning. In the CRC most congregations have a song service before the evening service in which they sing about four or five songs. Robert Meyering says that P & W has taken the song service and raised it to a new level. Besides the organ there are many other instruments. Instead of using hymnals the words are printed in the bulletin or projected on a screen by an overhead projector. And the leader will actively encourage the singing. Between songs he will quote Scripture texts, and insert personal testimony and encouragement to praise. This time of praise affects the rest of the service. People feel they are not just singing about a distant God: they are talking through songs in an intimate way to their heavenly Father. There is a sense of expectancy, of energy, of freedom and joy. The congregation is drawn into the presence of God Himself. So when it comes time for the sermon, people are eager to hear God's Word.
Rev. Duane Vander Brug, Personnel Director for Christian Reformed Home Missions, in an article entitled "Worship as Witness," offers six strategies for using P & W in worship (Reformed Worship Twenty, pp.20- 22):
1) Planning: Prepare Worship with All Worshipers--Both Members and Non- members--in Mind. This planning will include the following:
a. Understand who is present and what their mental and emotional framework is
b. Tune into what happened in their lives during the week
c. Meet needs, bring comfort , and challenge each person
d. Maintain enough consistency to make worshipers comfortable
e. Include enough variety to keep congregation responsive and awake
2) Leading: Guide the Worshipers into God's Presence
a. Assume that worshipers come unprepared for worship
b. Lead them into the presence of God and introduce them to Jesus
c. Under the leading of the Holy Spirit, carefully and prayerfully develop the art of leading people to God.
3) Focusing: Create a Deep, Focused Attention on God
a. Gather stray thoughts of worshipers
b. Make what happens in worship important to them as individuals
c. Do this at the beginning of the service
4) Singing: Ignite Worship with Sustained Singing
a. Through sustained joyful singing, enable worshipers to focus on God
b. Through singing create an awareness of presence of God
c. Through singing create a quiet, peaceful reverence
d. This singing is a powerful witness to nonbelievers
5) Matching: Use Singing that Suits Your Intended Audience
a. Analyze the musical tastes of your congregation and those whom you wish to reach
b. Adapt your service to appeal to these people
c. For young people you may need drum, guitar, and keyboard
d. For older people you may need the organ
6) Supporting: Organize the Whole Church to Pray for the Salvation of the Nonbelieving Attenders
a. The congregation must consciously decide to reach out to nonbelievers
b. The congregation must pray for these people
c. The congregation must seek to be God's instrument in finding the lost
d. The congregation must organize itself to warmly welcome new people
e. In this context P & W singing will be a powerful too for evangelism.
The P & W movement's most prominent characteristic is praise. Its second prominent characteristic is prayer. Rev. Michael Reitsma, pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, tells how his church changed its prayer life. It all began when a young man, who was a very committed Christian, told his pastor how boring the prayers of the worship services were. This resulted in a process of self-examination. The first thing they realized was that they needed to change their perspective concerning worship. They realized that instead of their receiving mentality they needed to have a giving mentality. Instead of coming to church to receive blessings, they needed to come to church to give God praise.
This change in perspective completely changed the church's prayer life. From then on prayer became central in congregational life. When the pastors, worship leaders, musicians, and worship team gather to plan the worship services, they spend much time in prayer. The church council began praying regularly for the worship services. And at the monthly Saturday night prayer meetings the whole congregation began praying for the worship services. Immediately prior to the services the pastor and all those who have special responsibilities in the worship services pray together asking God to help them lead the congregation in worship. At the same time the council also prays for the service.
During the worship services the format for the prayers is varied. Usually the worship leader prays, but sometimes the pastor or another member prays. Sometime the pastor goes through the congregation with his wireless microphone and asks for prayer requests and then presents them to God. Sometimes the whole congregation breaks up into small groups to pray. In special children's services the children pray. After the service people with specific concerns are invited to come to a special place to pray with elders or other mature Christians. Preparations for worship, the worship itself, and the response to worship after the services are all bathed in prayer. Rev. Reitsma says, "In all that we do, prior to, during, and after the service, we strive to develop a sense of intimacy with the Lord" (Reformed Worship Twenty, p. 25).
Lynn Likkel, Director of Worship and Prayer for Christ Community Church in Nanaimo, British Columbia, says that a new focus on prayer has resulted in more blessings and more growth. One basic change in their church's prayers has been in the way they approach God. Whereas they used to approach God as an almighty, distant God, now they approach him as their loving Father, as the God made flesh, and as the Nurturer, the Holy Spirit who fills their being. In worship they approach God intimately as One who is involved in every aspect of their lives.
Not everyone in the CRC approves of the new P & W emphasis. Some disapprove. Others feel we should be selective in our use of this emphasis. But the large majority of CRC-ers desire to improve the response portion of our worship services. They not only want to hear God's Word; they want to meet God in worship. As Wolterstorff says, one of the two great liturgical issues facing the CRC "is our suppression of the worship dimension of liturgy relative to hortatory address and inwardness" ("The Reformed Liturgy," p. 299).
D. How Frequently Should We Celebrate the Lord's Supper?
A fourth issue facing the CRC is how frequently we should celebrate the Lord's Supper. Wolterstorff says that the infrequency of our celebration of the Lord's Supper is the second big worship issue facing the CRC today. Wolterstorff maintains that the practice of the early church, our Reformed theology, and Calvin's position all point to the importance of a weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper. He shows that the enduring pattern of liturgy in the church from Justin Martyr to the Reformation was Word/Sacrament. This pattern was maintained until Holy Week in 1525, when Zwingli instituted two distinct services in the church in Zurich: a weekly preaching service and a Lord's Supper service held four times a year.
The 1968 Synodical report on liturgy also states that weekly communion is the ideal, but because infrequent celebration of the Lord's Supper is such a deeply rooted tradition in the Reformed churches now, it would be impossible to change this practice now or in the near future.
But as the results of the above questionnaire show, the CRC is slowly moving to a more frequent celebration of communion. There is also a strong movement in the CRC to make the celebration of communion just that--a celebration. Many people can no longer tolerate the long reading of the form. Several articles have been written in recent years pointing out that all the theological instruction in the forms completely destroys the celebrative mood of the Lord's Supper. Last year Synod has for the first time officially approved a flexible use of the sacramental forms. This will no doubt result in shorter and more frequent celebration of the Lord's Supper.
More and more people feel that children should be allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper, but there is still no consensus in the CRC on this issue.
E. How Should Children Be Included in Worship?
A fifth issue confronting the CRC today is the question: how should children be included in worship? There is general recognition that children should be included in worship just as much as adults. And most churches admit too that our worship patterns have tended to exclude children. In 1990 CRC Publications published a book by Edith Bajema entitled Worship: Not for Adults Only. She says that many churches make the following unspoken assumptions about children and worship:
Children are too young to worship God.
God doesn't address children.
Children have nothing to offer in worship.
It's good discipline for children to learn to sit quietly through the service.
Children interfere with the adults' worship.
Mrs. Bajema argues on the basis of Scripture, psychological studies, and experience in her church that children can indeed worship God. Children, even children of unbelievers seem to have an intuitive awareness of God.
Christ demonstrated very clearly that God does speak to children. But the sermons of our typical worship services are inappropriate to children's level of understanding. How can children be addressed? Through story, symbol, imagery, song, color, movement, and ritual. Children learn best when they can touch, see, and hear.
Bajema also insists that when we say it is good discipline for children to sit quietly so they will not interfere with the adults' worship, we make our children hate worship. Instead we should actively include children in our worship, for they have much to offer.
These are some suggestions for including children in the worship:
1. Ask children to read Scripture.
2. Ask children for prayer requests and invite them to pray.
3. Ask children to take the offering.
4. Encourage children to give their own money during the offering.
5. Involve children in the music as much as possible--through children's choirs, bell choirs, solos, using motions for the songs, having children accompany the organ with various instruments children can play, and of course, hymns that children can understand and sing.
6. Before the sermon begins, let the children leave to attend children's worship in a separate place.
7. Allow the children to remain in the sanctuary during the sermon, but try to direct the sermon to children as well as adults. Use stories, share personal experiences, use visual aids, be active, use simple language, symbols, images, and metaphors.
8. Use right-brain elements: color, texture, movement, story. E.g., use banners, candles, the cross, colors and symbols of the church seasons, dance, drama, puppets.
9. Include children in the celebration of the sacraments. During infant baptisms invite children to come forward so they can see the baptism clearly.
F. How Can Worship Services Be Used for Evangelism?
For many churches in the CRC this question is not asked. They make a clear division between evangelism and worship. They feel that evangelism occurs primarily through personal witness, cell groups, Bible studies, church education classes, etc. Worship may have an evangelistic aspect, but worship services are not planned as a means of outreach. Recently, however, more and more churches have begun to realize that worship services can be effective tools for evangelism. There are basically two approaches to evangelistic worship services.
1.Manifest Presence Evangelism
Manifest presence evangelism is "the experience of being grasped by the over-powering presence of God in worship" (Robert Webber, "Bring Them In," p.5). One lady described her conversion as follows:
I became a Christian sitting in a pew, experiencing worship. It wasn't the sermon that did it. No one presented me with the plan of salvation or led me in a prayer of commitment (though that did come later). I simply basked in the presence of God as the worship service progressed around me, and when I left the church, I knew that God had entered my life. He was alive. I had encountered him, That day I was born again in my spirit.
Lynn Likkel in article entitled "Worship That Grabs the Lost," (The Banner, October 21, 1991, pp.10-12) says that evangelistic worship services have the following three characteristics: God is real, the worship is contemporary, and the services are well-planned.
a. God Is Real
Manifest presence evangelism fits very nicely with the goal of P & W services: to lead worshipers to God in a very real way. Mrs. Likkel describes the experience of a newcomer named Jim who came to the Christ Community Church in Nanaimo, British Columbia, for the first time. He had not been to church for twenty-two years, but on this day he went because he was desperate. "Jim and his wife are now separated and in the process of getting a nasty divorce. His kids are unhappy, work is not going well, and most of his friends have deserted him. Jim has come to church today only because he is desperate"(p. 10). Through the songs, the prayers, and the message he is drawn to God. "For the first time in his life, Jim is certain that he has met God"(p. 11). God is real to him, and he feels hope. Worship in which God's presence is keenly felt is naturally evangelistic.
b. The Worship Is Contemporary
The second characteristic of manifest presence evangelism is that it is contemporary. Churches like Nanaimo Christ Community Church express the Christian faith so that non-Christians can understand it. They follow the model of the apostle Paul, who said, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (I Cor. 9:22). They recognize the fact that there is a big cultural gap between church language and culture and the language and culture of society as a whole. Much of the language used in church as well as the type of music is unfamiliar to the non-Christian.
Instead of expecting the newcomer to go through a time warp to join in worship, Nanaimo Church builds bridges to where non-Christians are. The church uses music that is familiar to unchurched people. Since baroque organ music is unfamiliar to most people, this music is not used. Instead instruments like drums, guitars, keyboards, saxophones, and clarinets are used. The Nanaimo area has a keen interest in jazz, so Christ Community Church uses gospel jazz to connect with Nanaimo. Four of the church's members are young jazz musicians who first came into contact through the jazz music.
The words used in songs, prayers, and sermons are simple and directly related to people's everyday lives. All unfamiliar words are removed. The result is that newcomers understand what is happening in the worship services and they feel at home.
c. Services Are Well-planned
Contemporary services take much planning. This planning is hard work. It takes much more time than planning for traditional services. Along with the planning goes the need for prayer and a high degree of commitment. But the extra work results not only in evangelistic fruit, but in spiritual growth in the members of the congregation.
Likkel offers the following advice to get started in planning for evangelistic worship services:
(1) Contextualize: get to know your community. Look at worship through the eyes and ears of the people in your community.
(2) Share your vision for evangelism with your congregation.
(3) Form a task-force of skilled musicians and mature Christians who share your vision and give them training.
(4) "Form worship-and-praise teams that will plan and pray and work to share the gospel in a new way" (p.12).
2. Seeker Services
The second approach to using worship services to evangelize is the seeker service. The March, 1992 issue of Reformed Worship (Twenty-three) is devoted to the theme of seeker services. The seeker service is not merely worship that is sensitive to the needs of seekers. Churches planning seeker services design every part of the service in light of the seekers' perception, experiences, and needs.
One of my supporting churches, Shawnee Park Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, in April, 1991, began holding two services every Sunday morning, a service for believers and a service for seekers. Traditional types of evangelism met with little response, so after much study, the church decided to try this new style of evangelism. The church began by forming five ministry teams:
(1) A drama and testimony team to plan dramas and find people to give testimonies.
(2) A hospitality team to recruit ushers, greeters, and nursery attendants and distribute bulletins.
(3) A publicity team to design and distribute flyers, to place signs in the neighborhood, and to encourage members to invite neighbors.
(4) A set-up team to arrange placement of instruments and podium, recruit and train sound and tape attendants, and hang banners.
(5) A music team to recruit a band and lead singers, to choose songs, and arrange for outside music groups.
The church also hired a sound technician and a team of musicians and found two drama directors. Ruth Vander Hart says seeker services have changed the church. Many non-Christians are attending the services and some are in the process of joining the church. Many college students, both Christians and non-Christians come to the services. And some members who previously did not participate now serve actively in the church.
Churches all across Canada and the U.S. are discovering that evangelism and worship are very closely related. Churches undergoing worship renewal are growing numerically and spiritually.
A. Balance between Tradition and Contextualization in Worship
The CRC today is trying to accomplish two goals in its worship: remain faithful to our biblical and Reformed traditions, and at the same time be relevant to a fast changing culture. Christians and non-Christians are caught up in tremendous social changes. We cannot ignore these changes in our worship. But neither can we ignore our rich biblical and ecclesiastical traditions handed. We need to find the proper balance between the two. To find that balance we need to be led by the Spirit.
My personal opinion is that to maintain the proper balance we need to emphasize tradition less and contextualization more. The Bible itself points in this direction. There is no one set pattern for worship in the Scripture. Barry Liesch points out that there are at least five patterns of worship in the Bible:
1. The pre-Sinai model: parent-led family worship
2. The Pauline model: small-group worship marked by freedom, Spirit- guided unity, and maximum participation
3. The synagogue model: small-group worship emphasizing structured liturgy centering around prayer, Scripture reading, and biblical exposition
4. The tabernacle-temple model: large-group worship which includes drama, symbolism, the fine arts, and praise
5. The Revelation model: large-group worship which includes elements from all the other models (Barry Liesch, People in the Presence of God, pp.xv-xvii).
The CRC today is responding to the rapid societal changes around it and the influx of so many ethnic strands into its fellowship by experimenting with a variety of worship styles. These new styles of worship are different blends of the synagogue-Pauline-temple models of worship. As far as I can tell, all of them maintain the basic Reformed principle of worship: God speaks and we respond.
B. Balance between Intellect and Emotion in Worship
Many of the changes in CRC worship are motivated by a desire to restore
Personally I heartily endorse this trend. We must worship with heart, soul, strength and mind. We must take seriously the complaints of so many people that for them worship is boring and they hunger for joy and reality in worship. I also feel that there is a danger of going too far in this direction. In our desire for more joyful, expressive worship, we must not lose the importance of doing everything in order. And above all we must not sacrifice preaching of the Word.
C. Three Keys to Worship Renewal
Three crucial questions to ask concerning worship are:
1) Is God's presence and his Word real? If it is not real and powerful, what is needed to make it so?
2) Does the style of liturgy fit the culture of the people in that area?
3) Are worship services well-planned and well-prayed for?
If worship passes these three tests, it will be blessed.
D.Openness to the Holy Spirit
As Wolterstorff says, the liturgical renewal in our church and in other churches as well is a wonderful work of the Holy Spirit. We must be open to that work of the Holy Spirit. If we are not, we may find ourselves not only impeding the work of the Spirit, but actually fighting against Him.
Part of being open to the Holy Spirit is being open to each other. As you learn what is happening in the CRC, you may be able to learn some things that will help you in your worship. You also may be able to show us how the Holy Spirit is leading you in this area and offer us some helpful advice. Together under the leading of the Holy Spirit let us seek how we may best glorify God and enjoy him forever.