The Worship Quote of the Week for (06/28/2004):

Worship in Difficult Times
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How do congregations worship in times of crisis or conflict? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from Kathy Smith’s thoughtful article in the current issue (June 2004) of REFORMED WORSHIP. [Please see the information below about how you can get a FREE trial issue of this quarterly journal.]

Even though Christians worship individually and often do so outside of the sanctuary, the weekly worship service is the occasion when, more than any other time, the congregation gathers to express its identity. So when a congregation experiences a difficult situation, symptoms are bound to appear in worship. The leaders of the congregation must carefully discern how to plan worship appropriately during these times. Ultimately, worship may be the element of congregational life that has the most potential to help the congregation through the process of healing. . . .

When a church building is struck by fire, an alternative location to meet for worship is found quickly. The members of the worshiping body want to be together in times of crises to comfort one another. Even congregations experiencing severe conflict still meet for worship, so it is the most appropriate venue for healing and reconciliation. And this is possible because in worship we recognize that we need to abide together and abide in Christ. As we pray and sing, offer lament and give thanks, hear God’s promises and dedicate ourselves to live for him, we remember who we are in Christ and are able to become one in him.

—Kathy Smith, “Worship in Difficult Times: Thoughtful Leadership During Crisis, Conflict, or Transition.” REFORMED WORSHIP: Number 72, June 2004, pages 3 and 5. Kathy Smith is the Director for Continuing Education for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship ( and Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

REFORMED WORSHIP is a 48-page quarterly journal packed with practical resources for planning, and leading congregational worship--all resources, no ads. For a free trial issue, call 1-800-777-7270; if you like it you will receive three more quarterly issues (a full year) for $25.95; the free copy is yours to keep.

Please consider forwarding the following paragraph to pastors or church musicians who might benefit from a wonderful WORSHIP WORKSHOP this summer.

WORSHIP TO THE GLORY OF GOD (July 12-16, 2004, in Louisville, Kentucky) will feature lectures by Harold Best and Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries. You can look at the WQOTW archives ( for provocative quotes from both of these speakers. The five-day event is available as a two-credit course at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary or simply as a workshop for interested participants. You can expect an intensive experience combining both theological reflection and practical guidelines for planning and leading authentic biblical worship in today’s church. All lectures and materials will be relevant to both traditional and contemporary expressions of corporate Christian worship. If you have questions, please call 1-800-626-5525 (Ext. 4115). Full brochure at Click on “2004 Summer Workshops.”

Have a great week.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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