Quality worship experiences (Community)

Just before the Christmas break a couple of us from CSI had the opportunity to meet with John Witvliet, Kristen Verhulst, and Betty Grit from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. They have excellent resources for schools interested in improving the quality and intentionality of their worship experiences for students. They shared with us a model called Vertical Habits, using childlike language based on the Psalms. Click here for a further explanation. There are a couple of CSI schools using this model – Muskegon Christian, MI and Unity Christian in Hudsonville, MI. The Institute has been, and will continue to, offer workshops for school worship leaders and also has a helpful blog devoted to worship thoughts/needs/ideas.


Filed under community, distinctively Christian, worship

2 responses to “Quality worship experiences (Community)

  1. Erin Zielke

    This is a very powerful idea. Improving the quality of a worship service on the student’s behalf is awesome! What a great experience to offer students in a Christian school. The main focus when teaching students needs to be how you can provide them with the best experiences to strongly equip them with what they need later on down the road. Being in a Christian setting is a privilege for these students whether they realize it yet or not. I attended a Christian school my whole life and looking back on my experiences, I would not trade them for anything. As I got older I definitely realized just how important it is to train a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6.) My teachers who have set a Christ-like example truly have had an effect on me. Not just in the way they talked, but in the way they acted. I agree with Dr. Witvliet’s view on how communication and faithful speech is central to the Christian life. He lays out a perfect picture of how worshipping is not just a one-sided conversation talking to God, but it is when God speaks to us as well! An amazing quote from him states, “Authentic worship, for both brand-new and lifelong believers, expresses who we are and forms what we are becoming.” Hearing all of this is clearly an exciting opportunity for the students. Do we want our children to receive the most out of where they attend school? Yes! Therefore, improving the quality and intentionality of their worship experiences would be very beneficial and powerful to our students.

  2. Bethany Vande Hey

    Worship is a common word thrown out in the Christian faith. I love how Vertical Habits broke down common words of worship. Even the word worship can be so overused that we miss the main idea of what it is. I think it is great to use elementary language in worship, to stress true and meaningful worship, but I also think it is integral to help the children in understanding what worship is. It isn’t necessarily something you will find in a black and white definition. We often get caught up in thinking that worship is something that we can only do at church. However, schools need to instill the concept of worshipping the Lord in everything they do. Whether it be playing on the playground, taking a test, or singing at church, all of these things can be considered worship. I see it as a matter of lifestyle. After that has been developed in a child, I think the child will better understand worshipping. This emphasis can really help to improve the quality of any child’s worship experience. All children can do this, not just those who have a good voice and can memorize songs. Overall, I think this would be difficult to implement because it would take a big committment and understanding among the staff, which isn’t always something that is in fact a reality.

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