A Community at Worship

 Embracing your congregation’s unique theology, culture, and practice of worship

Join Pastor Dan Nicewonger and Dr. Christopher Wells as they help you discern your congregation’s unique worship norms.

A Community at Worship

For a congregation to experience the fullness of worship it must learn to speak a common worship language. This starts with that congregation’s unique set of worship norms: their worship practices, their worship culture, and their theology of worship

Practices are the logistical realities of planning for and executing a worship service. 

Culture refers to the patterns, rhythms, and history your community has developed over time, as well as the broader context in which your congregation exists. 

Finally, theology speaks to how an understanding of God, scripture, and the call to follow Jesus shape what we believe about worship. In particular, how a community decides if it worships well and in a way that honors God.

Every congregation has these norms: 

More often than not, they are unspoken, and the fact that we do not acknowledge and embrace a shared understanding of what our worship is (or could be) can lead to conflict. Practical matters are elevated to make or break decisions. The inertia of tradition dominates how we worship, as opposed to a dynamic, living expression of our love of God. And, too often, we lose sight of the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of worship altogether.

Deeper expressions of Worship:

Discerning and then living into that common language invites people to deeper expressions of worship. As leaders and participants grow in their ability to use the worship language of their community, people will be drawn closer to the One worthy of our worship. The Spirit of God is alive, well, and working in the world. We can see it in ourselves, individuals, and the wider community. Helping people encounter God amid their everyday, ordinary life is an extraordinary calling. By speaking the language of your community’s worship norms, you can help remove the scales from their eyes. 

This is not just a calling for pastors or worship leaders; it is a calling for all people of faith.

Worship sharpens our focus by removing the cares of this world and worries about what the future may hold. In a state of worship, our once captive hearts are set free to focus on God. 

How A Community at Worship can help:

This book provides a theoretical framework for evaluating your community’s worship norms, as well as practical examples of how to discover and document them. Furthermore, it is designed in such a way as to be usable by individuals or a team. We hope that by working through the content of this book within your context, you will be better equipped to answer that call. 

Chris and Dan are not interested in telling you the “correct way” to worship. Instead, they want to help you discover and live into the unique worship norms that exist within your congregation.

About the Authors:

Pastor Dan and Chris effectively help congregations think through first the “Why” and then the “How” of Worship. Their book isn’t birthed out of the musings of a pastor and worship leader but out of the lives of two practitioners who have sought to lead their congregation through the challenging discernment process of what makes for healthy, God-honoring worship in their corner of the Kingdom. The journey has been affirming and life-giving for their local church, and now they want to share their learnings with the wider family of the Body of Christ.

Rev. Dr. Frank Frischkorn, Retired Regional Executive Pastor, American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware (2007-2021)