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Anticipating a New Hymnal

Anticipating a New Hymnal During a Pandemic Worship looks different in a pandemic. From the middle of March through the middle of May, most churches were not permitted to meet publicly. Some were shuttered even longer. In their holy zeal to feed their flock with the Word, congregations took their worship online. Although most churches […]

NPH Is Your Partner

NPH Is Your Partner I have enjoyed a partnership between WELS Congregational Services (CS) and Northwestern Publishing House as we have rolled out synod-wide initiatives in recent years, like C19 for Christmas. Feedback from pastors says these programs have been highly appreciated. I’ve especially enjoyed partnership with NPH’s Jeremy Bakken. He composed a new gathering […]

Preach the Word – Delivery Matters

Delivery Matters I can still remember my first real “preaching” opportunity—evening chapel at MLC during my senior year. I triumphantly finished writing my manuscript. It felt so good to be done! I even told my dad that I had my chapel ready. Do you know what he asked? “So have you memorized it?” Huh. Memorizing […]

Preach the Word – Go Deep

Go Deep As you know by now, I’m a fan of simple preaching. I love Luther’s assessment of a good preacher: “He’s the best preacher who can teach in a plain, childlike, popular, and simple way” (AE 54:384). A good preacher refuses to talk in secret pastor code language. He understands the reality of biblical […]

Crises, Hymns, and Faith

Crises, Hymns, and Faith This article covers several themes and purposes. It shares thoughts and resources related to the COVID-19 crisis. It calls attention to the power of hymns—especially in a time of national crisis and private anxiety. It shares some resources planned for Christian Worship: Hymnal (CW21). It points to two new Congregational Services […]

Preach The Word – The Blessing of Knowledge

Simple Preaching: In our last issue, we were encouraged to preach simply for the benefit of all of our hearers. We heard from Luther, “He’s the best preacher who can teach in a plain, childlike, popular, and simple way.” One reader shared this feedback, “[Your article] reminded me of a remark made by one of […]

Preach The Word – Simple Preaching

Welcome a new writer: Nathan Nass has served at St. Paul / San Pablo Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI since 2018. After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2013, he served at St. Peter Lutheran Church in St. Peter, MN from 2013-2018. In this new series of Preach the Word, he will encourage us […]

Audio, Acoustics, and Video in the Worship Setting – Part 1

Audio, Acoustics, and Video in the Worship Setting Part 1: Acoustics Our company is a design consulting firm. We design audio, video, and acoustic systems primarily for liturgical churches—Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, etc. With 30-plus years of experience, we have worked with many situations both in new construction and in existing buildings. In this series […]

Wisdom from Wittenberg – Part 2

Wisdom from Wittenberg – Part 2 Martin Luther’s Pastoral and Practical Revisions of Worship Creativity is careful to honor the arts. Though Luther considered Karlstadt’s experiments to be troubling (see part 1), he realized that they weren’t unique. By 1524, worship experiments were underway all over Germany, many initiated by reformers who were becoming increasingly […]

Wisdom from Wittenberg – Part 1

Wisdom from Wittenberg – Part 1 Martin Luther’s Pastoral and Practical Revisions of Worship The story behind Luther’s creative worship In the year 1517, The Feast of all Saints—November 1—just so happened to fall on a Sunday.1 The alignment of this date and the day of the week wouldn’t have escaped the notice of Christian […]

Preach The Word – Not without Testimony

Apologetics in Preaching Not without Testimony We are not left without testimony (Ac 14:17). This is true in every aspect of life. Imagine waking up to a world without any knowledge passed down to you. No set language to imitate. No wisdom to ponder. No technologies invented. I am thankful that I didn’t have to […]

Preach The Word – Resurrection Apologetics

Apologetics in Preaching Resurrection Apologetics I have to admit, to my great shame, that I had trouble preaching during the Easter season. Easter Sunday was great. Preaching on Doubting Thomas the next Sunday was always a delight, but the rest of the season was tough for me. What’s left to say? One bit of advice […]

Preach The Word – A Claim on Reality

Apologetics in Preaching A Claim on Reality I teach freshman, a lot of freshman. As I become acquainted with the spiritual lives of these brand-new college students, it is apparent that there is often a separation between their spiritual lives and their lives of reality. These two separate realms don’t often meet. When they do […]

Preach The Word – Luther and the Lectionary

Treasures Old and New Luther and the Lectionary “Ah, Luther.” Like an audiophile commenting on Bach, confessional Lutheran pastors utter the name with a sense of awe, respect, and thanksgiving for the life, work, and heritage of Dr. Martin Luther. We revere him, quote him, point to him, apologize with him and, on occasion apologize […]

What do you do with children in worship?

Series Introduction The Look. You know it well. It comes in different shapes and sizes. It comes in different times and places. It comes in different expressions and amounts of seriousness. There are many variations to The Look, but it’s all essentially the same. You certainly have seen The Look before. You probably have received […]

Worship coordinators carry Christ to the heart

With emphasis on Reformation 500, the 2017 National Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts brought hundreds together to focus on Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone. Exuberant worship used various instruments—the bright sound of the trumpet, the lustrous tones of the violin and (one of my new favorites) the loud clank of the tire […]