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Worship4Today Part 1
Laying A Firm Foundation
by Helen Bentz & Liz Tipple
Publisher:Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
This is Part 1 of a 3 part series which together provide a complete and comprehensive guide and resource for running the Worship 4 Today course for worship leaders and musicians. As well as full sets of teaching notes and handouts, there are various pro-formas and templates. All handouts and presentations, plus editable versions of the other materials are on the accompanying CD. (The editable files are in .doc format, which can be read by most word processors. The presentations are in Powerpoint .ppt format.)
The book begins with an introduction which runs to over 30 pages. The plan provided spreads the 3 parts of the course across 3 academic terms, from Autumn to Summer. It is an Anglican course, and the materials are based on the experience of running it in the Diocese of Sheffield, where it is part of Continuing Ministerial Education.
Although designed to be run at at a diocesan level, it includes guidance for adapting it to use at a more local level in a less formal way. It would also adapt for use with any other mainstream denomination.
The introduction covers planning, advertising, marketing, recruiting/interviewing, signing up, and venue as well as giving guidance on how to actually run the course.
The course is thorough and quite demanding—there is homework, and active participation and commitment are needed. The authors acknowledge that it will be quite a challenge for those not used to studying. It includes a framework for written and practical assessment, review and evaluation. There is no formal qualification though the Part 3 book includes a pro-forma certificate for authorisation by a bishop, as well as more standard course completion certificates.
The core of the book (about 270 A4 pages) is devoted to the first four sessions of the course, which lay much of the Biblical and theological foundation and are fairly theoretical.
Each session has Teachers' Notes, full and detailed lesson plans, resource lists, and photocopiable handouts (though the copies on the CD will print and copy much better than ones you will get by pressing the book onto a copier glass).
The book comes with a licence for owners of the book to use the copiable materials "within their organisation".
The first 4 sessions, each of which are designed to last for a fairly intensive half day, are:-
1 Theology of Worship: this includes a very helpful "audit" sheet to aid participants in visiting other churches and learning as much as possible from how they worship. (I wish I'd had this when I spent a recent sabbatical visiting other churches.)
2 Who is the God we Worship: Handout 5 in this session looks at creative skills: good bass guitarists may be mortified by "relatively easy to pick up if you have too many guitar players" though sadly, it's all too often what happens.
3 Worship in the Old Testament: this session provides a Biblical history of worship through the Old Testament period, and draws lessons from it.
4 Leadership Skills: looks at the role of Levites, and what we can learn from Jesus (our great high priest) about leadership.
Reviewer: Martin Brasier (14/09/14)