Q&A

Does anyone have a printable church year calendar (Advent, Christmas, Lent, etc.) that they use? I'm a visual person and would love to print something like this out. 

October 11, 2017 0 3 comments
Blog

Jesus is no “rose, trampled on the ground.” This is no victim, “taking the fall” for other criminals. This is sovereign God, laying his life down on our behalf.

April 13, 2017 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

As we go through Holy Week and celebrate Easter Sunday, I'd love to know: What traditions and/or parts of the week are most meaningful to you? 

April 12, 2017 0 8 comments
Resource

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has compiled a list of songs to shape Holy Week. 

April 11, 2017 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

It's too late to share ideas for Advent but as my Christmas gift to anyone who will take it (and in hopes of getting some fresh ideas back in the process) here are a few Lenten series I've done in the past. 

December 8, 2016 0 3 comments
Resource

Advent is a time of intense longing, waiting for peace. Our fellow Christians in Syria, Lebanon and Germany share this Advent Liturgy and urge us to join them in worship and prayer for peace for Syria.

December 1, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Growing up in a Christian Reformed Church, I can’t say that I was very aware of the season of Lent. 

February 8, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Reformed Worship has many ideas to help you plan your Thanksgiving worship service. 

December 28, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Looking for ideas as you plan for Pentecost? The Reformed Worship Journal has many, many free resources in the archives on their website. 

January 28, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Here are four songs for the Christmas season composed by Keith Getty in collaboration with others. Like good worship planning, perhaps a team approach is the ideal for songwriters too!

December 3, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

In the interest of making Scripture reading in worship more interesting, noteworthy, and formative, we offer some suggestions for worship planners to consider.

January 7, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

As we reflect on being but dust and ash and follow Christ’s journey to the cross, we’re reminded of how much we need the resurrection. 

March 1, 2009 0 0 comments
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A bit off topic but I just came across a Think Christian post (Martin Luther at the Movies) that lists four movies on Martin Luther that are available for home viewing. Could be interesting for individuals, small groups, etc. 

Yes we are! We're celebrating all month using the 5 Solas series by Carol Hochhalter in the June 2017 Reformed Worship. We are using the Reformation Hymn by Chris Anderson and Bob Kauflin as our theme song, and we also have visual arts of the 5 Solas.  It has been wonderful to delve deeper into these basic foundational truths this month! To God be the glory!

I have done this by simply asking the non-professing parent if they support this decision.  I also explain that as parents both of them have a role in raising this child.  Obviously, this is something that needs to be discussed ahead of time with both parents.  If either one has an issue with it then you should talk about it before the baptism.  So far every time I have done this it has worked well.  I don't have specific wording for this question because I have never written it down but I think that you have the words in your request.

I also like the "Salt of the Earth" calendar that Joyce refers to (http://christiancalendar.squarespace.com/). It is not something you can download and print, but you can order it and it is a beautiful calendar with art and with information on the litugical seasons and holidays. I think you would like it a lot.

This one isn't printable but I've used it in the past and appreciated it: http://christiancalendar.squarespace.com/

Historically the funeral has not been a "church/ecclesiastical" event.  The Church Order was changed in 2010 to soften that approach but as a result to my knowledge the CRC has never had an official liturgy for funerals which is why you don't find any on the Liturgical Forms page.  Of course, synod could change that by requesting that some be provided.  Currently one of the best resources out there is the book "In Life and in Death" which is available through Faith Alive https://www.faithaliveresources.org/Products/400150/in-life-and-in-death...
Don't forget to check out the "Death and Dying" section of Lift Up Your Hearts, which includes "A Litany for the Sick and Dying" #461

For some additional reflections and a sample liturgy see: 

https://www.reformedworship.org/article/june-1992/rethinking-reformed-re...

 

 

posted in: Funeral Liturgy?

The CRCNA holds funerals as such: Funerals and memorial services within the body of Christ should reflect the confidence of our faith and should be conducted accordingly. Such times provide opportunities to minister love, provide comfort, give instruction, and offer hope to the bereaved. (art. 70 of the Church Order)

But the Worship institute has a few examples/ideas of what a funeral/memorial service might look like: https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/in-times-of-death-...

Here is the search for funerals: https://worship.calvin.edu/search/?q=funeral

posted in: Funeral Liturgy?

Great Stuff!

 

I posted your question on the CRC Worship Ministries facebook page and this is the advice given there. Big thanks to all those who responded.  

Carmen Huttenga We used to use EasyWorship and switched to MediaShout. If you have a PC MediaShout is what a recommend if you have a Mac I recommend ProPresenter. 

My experience with MediaShout is that it has so many more multi media options. We can integrate videos much more smoothly. I can incorporate songs from Digital Songs and Hymns one time into the database and use them over and over. The multiple Bibles are a great tool, I could go on. 

Alicia Boekee We use EasyWorship and it works very well for us! Easy to input songs or search for them on the fly. I updated a few of the options to personalize it a bit (live view, etc). It works very well for our volunteers as well.

Sarah 'Sikma' Cupery We use Easy Worship and like it. Even my 9 and 7 year old sons can do it!

Elly Boersma We are currently looking into other options besides Easy Worship - mostly because of issues we've had with the program freezing or crashing, and most recently in upgrading to Windows 10, Easy Worship had some major glitches that made for a VERY stressful Sunday morning that is still etched in my memory. (They may have fixed those bugs, but I still haven't done the most recent upgrade since I don't trust it to be right yet.) It also struggles when switching from song slides to powerpoint slides, which is what we use for litanies and sermons - I'd love something with smoother transition. That said, it is very user-friendly and easy to run - One of my projection guys always says "a monkey could do this."

Carmen Huttenga There is a compatibility issue with PowerPoint and MediaShout. It is best to save files as jpeg interchange files and import them into MediaShout that way. That is what has worked best for us. Microsoft did an update that wasn't compatible with MediaShout. Last I knew MediaShout was working on a patch. I don't know the status of that. I do know the jpeg works great for us.

Richard Bodini As well, if you run a PPT file outside of EasyWorship while the program is still running, when you return to EW, it has a tendency to crash. So you have to restart the program. That was happening every week after my sermon PPT. So I had them put it into the program... and they now switch the slides when I Q them instead of my doing it throuhg my phone. Problem has been solved.... for now.

Carmen Huttenga EasyWorship was constantly crashing for us which led to our change.

John Medendorp We use ProPresenter...but you really need a mac to use it...and you really need a pro to run it...building slides for Sunday worship is a 2-5 hour job per week on its own.

 

 

Update: I just read an article on an app that CRCNA is putting  out, and I'm trying it now on my phone. I am going to ask our secretary about using that app rather than Planning Center for our directory. I need to find out more about how it might work with tracking our offerings. Link:  https://www.crcna.org/news-and-views/crcna-offers-social-media-tool-brid...

We switched from Easy Worship to Proclaim.   We liked how we could all build the service throughout the week from our home computers.   We felt that Proclaim helped out small church feel like a big church.  I believe we pay in theneighborhood of $200 a year. 

For our replacement of Power Point, our church tried Easy Worship and Pro Presenter by having our "Power Point team" try using them for a couple weeks. We ended up not going with either but instead are using Proclaim. That has turned out to be the easiest to train people on (our team is several people who take turns doing the slides at a service, so no one on that team becomes a "master user"), and the people who create the slides like it, too. 

For planning our services, we use Church Planning Center (https://planning.center/). It's working great for the worship leader and pastor and secretary who update it throughout the week. Our volunteers are doing well on it, too. We started small with just the true worship planning team on it, but now we have accounts for all volunteers - sound, power point, praise band members, accompanists, nursery, hospitality elder, deacon who intros and prays about the offering, everything. The secretary offers personal assistance for those who need it. There are a couple people who don't have email, but not too many.

I'm encouraging our secretary to move toward using Church Planning Center for our membership and offering tracking, too. I think it'll be good to have all that in one system.

We use EasyWorship (EW). It is simple to use, especially if you stay within the program. We often use powerpoint slides with it, because we find it easier to put litanies or responses in powerpoint, and we have had problems in the past with EW and Powerpoint working well together. But we have kept EW updated, and now everything seems to be working well.  It is very simple to add songs and scripture readings in EW.

Our church had used easy worship, but is now using pro presenter. I think there was some talk of going back to easy worship, but I think that had more to do with some of the litanies already being in easy worship. I think Pro Presenter may also play better with a Macintosh computer (not sure though). 

Beer and Hymns is brilliant! I can't believe I did not catch on to this event sooner. As for my favorite part....well, it is a combination. I guess my first favorite part is simply the opportunity to sing hymns! We just don't sing enough hymns anymore these days. And I do love a variety of music styles. But singing hymns at a casual gathering like this just brings joy to my heart and a big smile to my face. I see the very same in others around me as well. As far as a favorite hymn...that is hard, too. I have dozens of favorites. Just to name a few: Blessed Assurance, Great is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art, By the Sea of Crystal. I also enjoy ending the night with the good old "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms".  The Spirit of God is so powerful in this monthly gathering. I love seeing folks of all ages, singing their hearts out together and enjoying food, drinks, and community. Just for the record, I am not even a beer drinker. But "Coke and Hymns" or "Tacos and Hymns" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. ;-) Lucky for me, drinking beer is not a requirement. This is just a great community gathering in praise to God. I love to invite friends and family to come and check out Beer and Hymns. And whenever I do, they too fall in love and want to keep coming back, month after month.  Many thanks to the inventors of this wonderful event! I hope it continues for years to come.

I always love requesting and singing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. My younger self probably would request The Trees of the Field.

Email me: kevin@beckwithhillscrc.org and we can "talk".  My wife has fibromyalgia so I understand the "fibro-fog" thing.

 

Thank you for responding. I have taken piano lessons sporadically since I was a child. As an adult I took lessons from our church piano/organist with the focus being the organ. She also taught me about chording to add more interest on the piano. She passed away quite some time ago. I have played the organ for our church in the past regularly. I have been taken away from that role for different reasons. I do well with hymns and "churchy" stuff.

My issue now is that we sing mostly praise and worship music. I know my role should be easy as we have a wonderful praise band. I may be making things more difficult than I should. However, I wonder if I can add to this type of worship with different techniques; I certainly need to understand the sounds and combinations the organ can create.

I am completely overwhelmed! It doesn't help that I have fibromyalgia which causes difficulty with concentration.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions. And lots of prayer!

Diane

Steve - yes! We will be recording the webinar and will post it on our Worship Ministries website several days after the webinar takes place. That way many more can take advantage of the learning.

Hi Steve, I know Worship Ministries is planning to post this webinar recording on The Network. Stay tuned later this week! 

Will this webinar be available for listening to at a later time?

Thank you for your response. It is more helpful than you know. I have a feeling I am making this harder than I should. I will definitely do as you suggested.

Thanks again

Diane

When you play with a group, you could consider starting by playing only the melody line, and then gradually work from there. The organ is able to provide a sustained note better than any other instrument and can also be used to solo out the melody this way. For the rest, one would need to know what kind of playing you do. Did you take piano lessons? Do you mostly chord, or can you play in a more traditional way? In many communities you could probably find people who will help you get started. What kind of organ does you church have? I am a retired pastor, and very much an amateur musician. I would say that above all you should keep it simple. Simple music can be very beautiful!

Message me or skype me.  kevin@beckwithhillcrc.org  I use the organ all the time with a worship band.  It's more than a paragraph to post.

Hi Diane, 

I'm not an organ player so I don't know for sure, but I would think you might be able to glean some information from some of the instructional videos on YouTube for playing keyboard in worship (it will seem overly simplistic, but when you're playing with a number of other musicians your role in the music decreases, not necessarily in importance, but in the amount of "notes played" as instead of filling the whole spectrum of sound you'll have a particular role). 

If you have specific questions you could ask and I could try to answer out of my limited knowledge. 

Thank you! This was very helpful!

A Note Regarding Copyright/Permissions References on the Songs and Liturgies chart: 

P.D. =public domain (no permission necessary to use these songs)

CCLI#: you can insert your CCLI # to the end of this copyright line and place is on the music/slide to use this song legally. If you don't have a CCLI license you will need to contact the copyright holder directly. 

OneLicense: If you have a OneLicense number you can add it and use this song legally.  If you don't have this license you will need to contact the copyright holder directly. 

Great post, Syd.  As to your question, "how to encourage" such a perspective/attitude, a think a key is to persuade that having a contrary perspective or appreciation is absolutely, unqualifiedly OK, even good.  That's only a key of course, but without it, folks tend to see themselves as compelled to act as if they think/feel the same (that they like rap when they don't, or that they believe food stamps shouldn't be increased when they don't think that), or choose the route of being divisive.  

If we lie about our honest differences to keep community, we ultimately will not keep community.  Nor will we learn, as Mr. Wellstone has, how to "deal with" those differences and how to discern priorities of importance.

I love the special care you've given to the details, like carnations for every woman and fair trade chocolate. Thanks for sharing, Lynnsey!

Our church has given out carnations (to every woman, not just mothers).  We have the children hand them out at the door as people leave.  For the past couple of years we have handed out Fair Trade mini chocolates to everyone as they leave.  We acknowledge mothers in the congregational prayer being mindful of all kinds of mothers.  For Father's Day we have done chocolate, baking, etc.

Thanks for sharing your experience Ruth Ann.  With the number of churches searching for part time worship leadership this may be something for them to consider working with another local congregation on.  Some churches have shared pastors, some share youth leaders, it would take some imagination and coordination but your experience suggests it might also be possible to have shared worship leaders. 

Thanks Jan!  That is lovely that you shared music together with the choirs, great idea!   And good to know that others have done the two-church thing with success.  Blessings!

Love this, Michele! 

In our congregation ALL the ladies get a flower on Mother's Day, usually a carnation, whether they actually had kids or not.  The leadership figures that women who didn't marry and have kids shouldn't be penalized.  I don't remember what we decided to do for Fathers's Day.

Ruth Ann, it's a comfort to read your article. I did the two-church thing as choir director/worship designer for ten years and resonate with all the challenges and delights you listed. Since one of my charges was CRC and the other RCA, there were interesting differences there, but the most helpful thing we did was combining the two choirs semi-regularly and singing in each other's worship services. Many were the times choir members expressed the wish to put aside all the denominational challenges that separated the two groups years ago and "do church" together all the time. I was personally blessed by having two pastors and two worshipping communities. I look back on those years with pleasure. 

Thanks, Reg. I think there is potential for churches to find meaningful ways to honor these relationships, but perhaps it is not necessary on these days. It's been shown that church attendance is up on mother's day and father's day, so there is an opportunity to show hospitality. 

We also celebrate all women on Mother's Day and pray intentionally about difficulties women may struggle with. We always include prayers for those who have never been mothers, those who are unable to conceive, and those who are mother figures.  We don't do flowers--too many of our people have allergies to fresh flowers. We have given a token gift to all women such as a pen or bookmark--something anyone might be able to use.

Neither of these holidays have anything to do with Christianity. They were created by secular society to increase material consumption. The church is supposed to change society, not the other way around. So why celebrate it?

 

Thanks for sharing, Mark. I remember my church doing this years ago as well and I always thought it was a neat tradition. 

I offer a copy of our music and liturgy committee mandate, which may help, as follows:

5.5. Music and Liturgy Committee
November 1, 2006
A. Mandate
To implement the goals and decisions pertaining to music and liturgy as
established by Council for worship by the congregation, and to make
recommendations to Council with respect to such worship.
B. Membership
i. The committee shall normally consist of ten members, the Ministry Elder, the
Senior Pastor, the Music Director, the Contemporary Music Coordinator, all
ex officio, and six members at large.
ii. A term of office of the six members at large will normally be three years;
members may be appointed for a second term. At least one member of the
committee will retire annually.
iii. The Chair shall be appointed by Council Executive.
iv. The committee will select a Secretary.
C. Responsibilities
i. With the ministry staff, co-ordinate and enhance the liturgical practices of the
congregation through, among others, study and reflection on the function of
liturgy, evaluation of liturgical practices and worship services, and the
selection or creation of appropriate liturgy.
ii. To enhance the meaningful integration of music into our liturgy, the Music
Director and Contemporary Music Coordinator will attend all meetings in
order to:
a. Evaluate with the committee how well music and liturgy are integrated in
each worship service, whether the needs of the congregation are being
met, and whether the members of the congregation are satisfied that the
music and liturgy enhance their worship of God.
b. Bring forward proposals for special events or services.
c. Prepare a schedule for musical involvement and participation in the
worship services on a tri-annual basis for the Committee, which shall be
forwarded to Council Executive.
The Contemporary Music Coordinator will assist the Music Director in
developing and preparing the schedule of musical involvement and
participation.
iii. To ensure that worship is enhanced through the effective use of sound and
visual aids, the Chair of the Audio-Visual (Sub) Committee will report to the
Committee as requested to:
a. Review procedures and develop policies as needed.
b. Ensure that enough qualified volunteers are available to operate the
equipment.
c. Forward recommendations for technical upgrading or repair as needed.
d. Present budget requests for operating supplies, equipment acquisitions or
upgrading, and team training needs for inclusion in the annual budget.
2
e. Report on Audio-Visual Committee and other volunteer meetings held for
mutual encouragement and training.
iv. To co-ordinate the involvement of participants in the liturgy by seeking
people in various age groups, encouraging participation, and assisting ministry
staff in identifying and equipping members to use their gifts.
v. To keep current with musical and liturgical developments and trends and to
evaluate new forms and practices on a continuing basis.
vi. To ensure that the congregation is informed and, where appropriate, educated
with respect to the music and liturgy of West End Christian Reformed Church.
D. Meetings
Meetings shall be held on a monthly basis or at the call of the Chair, or whenever
at least three members request that a meeting be called.
E. Communication
Copies of the minutes of committee meetings shall be distributed to all members
of Council Executive after each meeting, and to the Church’s Administrator for
filing. Any further distribution of minutes will be done at Council Executive’s
request, via the Church’s Administrator.

Every year, on Mother's Day, we do a Men's/Boy's Walk-up Choir to honor the women in our lives.  Every year, on Father's Day, we do a Woman's/Girls Walk-up Choir to honor the men in our lives.

One of my favourite interview questions was: What is your philosophy of worship? It's a huge question but can also give huge insight into what will drive a person in their ministry and the choices they make for your church. 

Another one that stood out was "describe a 'mountaintop' experience you have had in leading worship?" (referring to Moses meeting God on the mountain). 

I'm thinking above and beyond the standard - "how do you deal with conflict?" types of questions. 

 

For what not to ask - avoid making someone worship plan on the spot. I've had someone ask before, "what song would you choose for a sermon about holiness?" All you're going to get is the low-hanging fruit because you have a person in a stressful situation and feeling a time crunch of not wanting to make the interviewers wait, plus I think it discounts the creative process and assumes that solid worship planning can happen on the spot. Now, a way to phrase that question that could get a more thoughtful response would be, "what is a song you love that talks about the holiness of God, and what about it speaks to you?"

This is a great question.  Check out the free (for CRCs) digital library here, The Church Staff handbook has great content.  See page 97 for some sample questions and ideas on how to get to know the candidates.  

Beautiful prayer. Thanks for sharing. 

Here is a prayer I will use this week for our Friendship Sunday

Thank you so much for sharing, John. The book sounds interesting and insightful. 

Each year during Holy Week - usually on Good Friday - I read through the book "We Call This Friday Good" - by the late Dr. Howard Hageman.  Hageman, who served as a pastor in the Reformed Church of America and served as president of New Brunswick seminary - writes about each of the 7 words Jesus speaks from the cross.  His writing helps connect me anew with the humanity of Jesus.  Each year, as Holy Week draws near, I find myself eager to again listen and experience anew the deep love of Jesus.

 

Powerful. Thank you for sharing Patiliai. 

Love this! "While Easter is deeply personal, it is also universal" is a statement that really resonates with me. Thanks for sharing. 

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