The Center Blog

  • Gourmet vs Fast Food

    Church Music in Cultural Contexts-beyond the metaphors of gourmet and fast food

    By Rev. Dr. Jim Marriot

    Culture matters. Context matters. Through certain practices, we can learn to value culture. We can learn to value the uniqueness of culture that guards us from cultural elitism. We can learn to value the inherent meanings of cultural symbols that keeps us from misappropriating culture. This, as the Newsboys so eloquently taught us years ago, is truly how we learn to sing the “song of the redeemed.”

  • Hymnal

    Pragmatics and Theology of Worship

    By Rev. Dr. David W. Loy

    Worship is never theologically neutral. Every worship form can be analyzed in terms of its pragmatics—that is, what it seeks to accomplish. Analyzing the pragmatics of the service will uncover the theological presuppositions lurking beneath the surface of the worship form. Does the service seek to elicit a response from worshipers? This suggests one understanding of worship. Does the service aim to proclaim forgiveness? This suggests a different understanding of worship. Those who plan worship can analyze the worship forms they use to see whether the pragmatics stand up to theological scrutiny.

    Tags: Ministry Leadership, Worship Theology

  • Illustration of a crowd

    Reckless Love and The Different Things People Mean When They Sing

    By Rev. Steve Zank

    Leaders of congregational singing take on a meaningful but difficult role in the church. For example, they must plan services for the whole congregation while the people often disagree about which songs are meaningful/appropriate in church. While many of these disagreements are unavoidable and reflect clashing theological traditions, there is another force at work in the way songs are appropriated in the church. Namely, even though individuals come together to express their common faith in worship, worship remains the expression of distinct individuals. This phenomenon is explored through the popular worship song: "Reckless Love."

    Tags: Ministry Leadership, Worship Theology

  • Illustration of Who's singing around the Christmas tree

    The What and Why of Worship from a Who's Perspective

    By Jon Jordening

    In our common life as Christians we encourage one another as baptized brothers and sisters in Christ, to regularly join together with thankful hearts in the presence of the Triune God. Worship, as celebration, expresses the love we have for Father, Son, and Spirit. But that’s only half of the story of worship. The reason WHY we gather is the most important part –– He first loved us in his Son, Jesus!

    Tags: Worship Theology

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Podcast Network

We teach that there are three core competencies of worship arts ministry that should be embraced, practiced, and nurtured. We continue to explore these 3 competencies through the Center for Worship Leadership Podcast Network. Our shows are:

Worship Theology

Theology in Motion


Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Libsyn
Listen on Stitcher
Ministry Leadership

Ministry Leadership

Practical Skills

How the Soup is Made

The Psalms Project

Miikka E. Anttila calls Ephesians 5:19 the “words of institution” of church music that we speak “to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” While churches often have many resources to facilitate the singing of hymns and other spiritual songs, Psalm arrangements are often less accessible.

The Center for Worship Leadership Psalms Project provides the church with these settings to continue in this tradition of the people of God engaging in and singing the Psalms as a part of their gatherings. Psalm singing connects us to the ancient church, but even more importantly, to Christ. After all, the Old Testament book Jesus quoted the most was the Psalms!

Spring 2020 - "Out of the Depths" (Psalm 130)

Out of the Depths (Psalm 130)

by CJ Armstrong and Kip Fox, Copyright 2020

V

Out of the depths I cry
You hear my voice and you do not turn your eyes
Away from me
Out of the depths I cry
In your great mercy, you will come from on high
To rescue me

C

If you Lord, kept a list of all our sin
Then who Lord, who of us could stand
With you Lord, the turning of our hearts begins
With your forgiving hand

Br

My body, my spirit, my heart and my soul
Is watching, is waiting, is holding to hope
Like watchmen are waiting for morning to come
I wait for the dawn of your unfailing love

Br 2

O church, arise, lift your head, look up
For with the Lord is unfailing love
Redemption comes with the morning sun
So put your hope in the Risen One


CJ Armstrong

CJ Armstrong

CJ Armstrong is associate professor of history and theology at Concordia University Irvine and assistant pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hacienda Heights, CA. He has a PhD from University California Irvine, and especially enjoys teaching Greek and Latin language and readings, ancient history, mythology, social history, and the Bible. He is also the director of CUI's honors program.

Kip Fox

Kip Fox

Kip has been leading worship for 12 years and writing songs for 20. As a nationally recognized songwriter and worship leader he has had several artists record his songs. He currently serves as a worship leader at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Mesa, AZ, and is a student in the MA program at Concordia University Irvine.

Dr. Paul Elliott

Education

  • Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, M.Phil., 2013; Ph.D., 2018
  • Concordia Seminary – St. Louis, M.Div., 2009
  • Concordia University – River Forest, B.A., 2003

Professional Experience

  • Concordia University Irvine, Assistant Professor, 2016-present
  • St. John Lutheran Church, Assistant Pastor, 2009-2016
  • Hebrew Union College/Xavier University/University of Dayton, Adjunct Professor, 2010-2016

Publications Completed

  • “The Israel of God in the Sermon: Connecting Old Testament Texts to New Testament People” in Feasting in a Famine of the Word: Lutheran Preaching in the Twenty-First Century, 2016.

Forthcoming

  • “Community and Closure: The Church in the Individual Complaint Psalms” in The Church as Fullness in All Things: Recasting Lutheran Ecclesiology in an Ecumenical Context, expected 2018.
  • Ambrose of Milan and His Use of Philo of Alexandria in His Letters on the Hexaemeron, Dissertation. Habakkuk, Concordia Commentary, expected 2022.

Teaching/Research Interests

  • Old Testament/Prophetic Literature
  • Early Jewish and Christian Exegesis
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • Northwest Semitic Languages

Fall 2019 - “Long Live the King” (Psalm 72)

Long Live the King (Psalm 72)

By Paul Elliott and Kip Fox, Copyright 2019

V1

There is a king who rides on the heavens
His coming lifts the eyes of the poor
For all the powers of their oppressor
Can hurt them no more

He is a king like no one before him
His justice falls like rain on the hills
And all who live their lives with that hunger
Will have their fill

C

Long live the King
Forever he shall reign
Let the heavens ring with his praise
Long live the King
The sun and moon will fade
His kingdom never passing away
Long live the King

V2

There is a righteous fire in his footsteps
An everlasting peace in his wake
He is the king from ocean to ocean
And age to age
Age to age

B

Humbled low in a manger
Lifted high on a tree
Rose, victorious savior
Jesus Christ, our King


Paul Elliott

Paul Elliott

Dr. Elliott received his Ph.D. and M. Phil. from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and is the lead professor of Hebrew for Concordia University Irvine's Christ College. Dr. Elliott published “The Israel of God in the Sermon: Connecting Old Testament Texts to New Testament People” in Feasting in a Famine of the Word in 2016 and is preparing a commentary on the prophet Habakkuk.

Kip Fox

Kip Fox

Kip has been leading worship for 12 years and writing songs for 20. As a nationally recognized songwriter and worship leader he has had several artists record his songs. He currently serves as a worship leader at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Mesa, AZ, and is a student in the MA program at Concordia University Irvine.

Dr. Paul Elliott

Education

  • Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, M.Phil., 2013; Ph.D., 2018
  • Concordia Seminary – St. Louis, M.Div., 2009
  • Concordia University – River Forest, B.A., 2003

Professional Experience

  • Concordia University Irvine, Assistant Professor, 2016-present
  • St. John Lutheran Church, Assistant Pastor, 2009-2016
  • Hebrew Union College/Xavier University/University of Dayton, Adjunct Professor, 2010-2016

Publications Completed

  • “The Israel of God in the Sermon: Connecting Old Testament Texts to New Testament People” in Feasting in a Famine of the Word: Lutheran Preaching in the Twenty-First Century, 2016.

Forthcoming

  • “Community and Closure: The Church in the Individual Complaint Psalms” in The Church as Fullness in All Things: Recasting Lutheran Ecclesiology in an Ecumenical Context, expected 2018.
  • Ambrose of Milan and His Use of Philo of Alexandria in His Letters on the Hexaemeron, Dissertation. Habakkuk, Concordia Commentary, expected 2022.

Teaching/Research Interests

  • Old Testament/Prophetic Literature
  • Early Jewish and Christian Exegesis
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • Northwest Semitic Languages

CJ Armstrong

Degrees Earned

  • University of California, Irvine, CA, Ph.D. 2012
  • Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, M.Div. 2001
  • Washington University, St. Louis, MO, M.A. 2001
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, B.A. 1996

Research Interests

  • Greek and Latin literature; epic; Augustan poetry, especially Ovid; history of literature; ancient history of Greece and Rome; mythology; New Testament

Teaching Interests

  • Greek and Latin language and readings; ancient history; mythology; social history; Bible; New Testament readings

Liturgies

A good service order, liturgy, or planning template builds meaning and connection at each step. The church has many such resources available, especially in our hymnals, but little is available to those attempting to leverage modern tools in service to the gospel in worship. To provide turnkey resources and curate helpful models, CWL annually produces liturgies in both modern and traditional formats.

In the midst of an often polarized worship culture, the Center for Worship Leadership sets out on a middle way. We recognize that an “anything goes” mentality of worship insufficiently represents how worship shapes believing, and fails to acknowledge that worship is in service to the gospel. A good service order, liturgy, or planning template builds meaning and connection each step of the way, pointing toward, and stemming from, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, as we understand from our Lutheran heritage, our orders of worship “must serve for the promotion of faith and love and not be a detriment to faith” (Luther).

As a training organization we recognize that in many situations people are best served by “learning to fish.” We also understand, however, that there are many ministry leaders within the church who are well served by using, and learning from, a resource that has been created for them. For this reason, the Center for Worship Leadership endeavors to provide orders of worship as a resource for the church. Certainly, our hope is that these liturgies will help those who plan modern worship services. The CWL, however, aspires to support the whole church and is committed to writing liturgical resources that will serve the two broadly defined modes of expression – modern and traditional.

Red Letter Liturgy

The Red Letter Liturgy (RLL) is a liturgy that can be used to support churches going through the “Red Letter Challenge,”or even churches just looking for liturgical resources that follow the themes: foundation, being, forgiving, serving, giving, and sending. These six liturgies emphasize the gospel as the perpetual fuel for discipleship, focus on the finished work of Christ and give room for the natural response of faith.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed within the Red Letter Challenge do not necessarily reflect those of the Center for Worship Leadership.

Download Modern Template Download Traditional Template

WALi One-Day Services

The WALi One Day is a single-day event, designed to support your community in a particular way. Bring a team member to your area to help facilitate empowered learning, common support, and professional inspiration in one of the following areas. Don't see what you're interested in here? We also put together custom events, email us at jon.jordening@cui.edu!

  • Media Integration (Dante, Planning Center Services, Audio Systems, etc.)
  • Liturgical / Modern Service Design
  • Songwriting Workshop
  • Band Workshops

Job Listings

Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries (Full Time)

Cross View Lutheran Church, Edina, MN

crossview.net

To apply, send cover letter with three references and resume to Employment@crossview.net

View Job Description

Director of Worship Arts and Contemporary Music (Full time)

Trinity Lutheran Church, Waconia, MN

trinitywaconia.org

Trinity Waconia, in the Greater Minneapolis / St. Paul area, seeks their next Director of Worship Arts and Contemporary Music. All interested candidates are encouraged to submit their resume and any support media to Anders Davidson, Family Life Pastor, at anders.davidson@trinitywaconia.org.

View Job Description

Worship Director (Full time)

Shepherd's Gate Church, Shelby Township, MI

sgatechurch.org

For more information, contact: Brian Jensen – Executive Search Consultant, Vanderbloemen (bjensen@vanderbloemen.com)

View Job Description

Worship Leader (Part Time)

Redeemer Lutheran Church, Ft. Collins, CO

redeemerconnect.com

Redeemer is a thriving, multi-site church looking to expand their reach in the booming Northern Colorado area. As such, we are looking for an individual to join our ministry team as a part-time Worship Leader for an additional service at our South Fort Collins site. Please see the attached job description and contact Lacey Jo Mirus laceyjo@redeemerconnect.com with inquiries and/or resumes.

View Job Description

If you want to post a job listing here, please contact Jon Jordening at jon.jordening@cui.edu

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