The Institute Of Contemporary & Emerging Worship Studies Launches

Our Institute One Year Diploma students arrive at SSU end of this week, and we’re getting ready for a great start to the year. The UK, Germany and Canada (great white north of Yellowknife!) are all represented in this class thus far, and it promises to be a year of formation and reimagining the worshiping life.

As they delve into a year of university life and thinking, I have the privilege of sharing with them in a piece of their journey, along with an entire community. It’s that part I’m always grateful for; new friendships centered around common values and a willingness to learn – which always involves vulnerability. To become vulnerable in learning means that old views of the world, of people, of God, of culture and of faith become fair game for transformation.

Next Wednesday night, we share a time of Coram Deo together; which orients us to the riches of worship history as we center our learning year on honoring God, and choose a face to face (Coram Deo means “in the presence, or face, of God”) encounter with God in our academic learning. I.e. candles, old songs, new songs, liturgy, eucharist, prayers, you know.

Here at SSU, we see the learning process as one that must mutually dignify the teacher and the student, recognizing that both will learn from one another in a connection that transcends the sharing of information – we opt for a relationship that invites friendship and transformation. Roundtable, conversational community learning aids that symbiotic relationship.

The guidance of the Holy Spirit creates a “curriculum within a curriculum” among us, and as one friend has said, our quest to bring together the wisdom of the ancients with the abstractions of the present and future seems to create a “peculiar wisdom” within our community. I like that idea, hard won as it is.

Every Wednesday morning we light some candles as a symbolic action demonstrating our shared devotion to and with Christ, and we pray for the Institute – and for SSU. If you’d like to join us today in that holy enterprise, we’d be so grateful. As a teacher, I feel very vulnerable in these times – wondering if what you have to give in the equation is helpful or even important. Yet I always find that as these stones tumble together, there is a mutual polishing and discovery that makes the journey the destination, and the learning process the richest gift we share.

Again, your prayers, even for a moment as you read this post, are so appreciated. Thanks, friends.

P.S. Our Intensive Program from Oct. 30-Nov. 10 is filling up nicely, and it looks like we’ll have a fantastic program together. Experienced worship leaders from many places are gathering for this time of deepening. It will be so rich; worship leaders from Canada, the US, the UK and Brazil will be joining us, with more possible.

RELEASES FEB. 8, 2022 | Brazos press

Sheltering Mercy helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

Pre-Order below, and join my email list, to get author notes and updates about the book and events around it. If purchasing for Christmas gifts, soon you’ll be able to download a Christmas Gift Certificate PDF here so you have something for under the tree!).

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