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Troy Bronsink

Some of the churches, artists, and pastors that I have talked with about this say that they have to devote their "music" or "con ed" budgets/time to more practical events since the excellence of the "performance" is the primary value for their worship services. I can't think of anything more practical than learning from the breadth of the Christian tradition why Christians have worshiped and how our missional identity is influence by the way we plan and have worship gatherings. The result of too many worship conferences that teach how to do cool religious art, or what new equipment to purchase, or what the newest materials are, is the failure of missional imagination.

True, God's people have been called repeatedly to build "excellent" art witnessing to God's inbreaking reign. Excellence is valuable but how do our late-capitalistic perspectives of "excellence" effect other values of experimentation and innovation? This event is oriented toward helping us rediscover how to evaluate and render a “new song” of worship. Unfortunately, excellence has become a buzz word for the "good packaging" of empty calories instead of the captivating beauty of daring to write-out our vocations in God's story, or the congregation's hermeneutical engagement with their neighbor, or the place where God's people wrestle within the texts of scripture. What has worship been to the community of God across time and place and ecclesial bounds? What might God dream for worship to become?

Tim Keel reminded me not long ago of a quote by Henri Nouwen, “Discipline means the effort to create some space in which God can act… that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on.” Good theological work is such a discipline. It is the art of opening up space for God to inspire your community to greater engagement in the emerging culture. Every artist knows that preparation is a very practical discipline.

So pastors, artisans, and sojourners in the way of Jesus, if you want to be practical come expecting to reimagine ways for your whole community to be woven into the fabric of worship gatherings and witnessing in your neck of the woods to the rich art of God’s unfinished story.

jason

Good comments, Troy.

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