The Formation Of The Contemporary And Emerging Worship Leader

Well, after an amazing Two Week Intensive Certificate Course and some rest, we have some evaluations coming back in from the 10 worship leaders/artists who joined the Institute family. Canada, the US, Australia and the UK were represented in this amazing 12 days sojourn.

I am stunned by how each of the Two Week Intensives is so very unique, as it is built around the learning community that has formed for that brief time. I feel like a part of a new fellowship of companions each time, and my only heartbreak (for fixing later, I note) is that I’m not able to bring everyone who has participated in Institute events together at one time! A reunion is in order.

We pray that God would bring the right people, for the right mix, for each, and that it would be its own unique “fellowship of the ring” (to use a Tolkien metaphor) for a season of discovery.

I put in a few of this group’s quotes here, as it is both encouraging to me to continue on in this dream of the Institute for the creative leaders of our generation, and important to me to present these wordes for your encouragement.

For those that wonder in the emerging Church world, there is hope and joy ahead for the creative community of the 21st century Church. There are too many GreatHearts living and breathing among the worship leaders of this generation for us to fail in this key role in the Church and in culture. I meet them every program. This one is no exception.


“This intensive came at a perfect time for me. I was reminded of the reasons I began leading worship and was encouraged to follow what God has placed in my heart. Learning concepts about the hugeness of God’s story and experiencing such a rich time with such wonderful people is a blessing I will never forget.”

“It’s been a great ride to look back thousands of years and see how men and women have struggled in their faith and knowledge of God; yet many have found something worth living and dying for. I’m beginning to understand the reasons behind much of the stuff I believe, some good, some bad, and some strangely ugly. I’m coming to a place of tension-filled peace that I believe can both listen and respond to the church and culture.”

“It reinforced the idea of God not seeing things as simply sacred or secular – which opens up a lot of stuff (for worship leaders especially)!”

“The most exciting things I’ve learned (these two weeks) came me from listening to everyone’s ideas and responses to the material we’ve covered.”

“This intensive was an exciting time of learning and fellowship. I enjoyed the diversity of cultural world views, theology, and history all brought together to enrich our lives as worshipers and leaders.”

“The story that we find ourselves in is huge – I feel free to go and tell it in a thousand ways in confidence. I’m tooled up and ready to continue the next part of the journey. It’s also been hugely positive: searching for treasure on my knees.”

“We bear the image of a sovereign God who loves us.”

“This season of study was packed full of exciting ideas, theology, expressions of worship, ancient and current literature that has filled me with confidence in how I can lead worship.”

“The beauty and power of liturgy was so evident. Lexio Divina and Ignatian Prayer will now become an integral part of my time with God.”

A quote about your experience that we can use to advertise the Institute:

“This two-week Intensive is an experience like no other. It is a beautiful program bursting with creativity, new friendships yet family, rooted in sound, passionate theology.”

“I believe this course provided some essential studies on some essential questions for essential formation of creative leaders. Did I mention ‘essential’?”

“This experience has invited me back to the innocent love a child has for his father and creation. I feel alive in a way that music hasn’t fully been able to bring, rather the aliveness is stirring melodies in my soul.”

“The Institute is a strategic, formational experience that I would highly encourage for anyone connected to creative leadership in the church.”

“What a great environment for growth! Lecturers who listen and invite active discussion as they teach seem to make things “stick” long enough to have relevance in my life.”

“The most enriching two weeks of my journey to date.”

“Coming to the Intensive was like being a sponge that soaks up all the water until it can’t hold anymore and when it is picked up it pours out on anyone who will take it.”

“I came expecting nothing and walked away with a deeper love and experience of God.”

“I am so thankful to have both learned and experienced the stretching of my understanding and knowledge of the context we are in, as well as a demonstration of God’s goodness in times of community, reflection, and inspiration.”

“We learned some great perspectives on how to approach key issues.”

“I learned enough things to make me want more to know more – to experience more.”

“The Institute Intensive has given me a great thirst for God and his people.”

“Whenever I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I look to the Institute, and I have hope.” (ed. note: “Ha.”)

And my personal favorite:

“This whole experience was a huge gift that God just placed in my arms. It has been a “marking point” in my life that I will always refer to. I stepped into the waters that are compelling me to get into my wee boat, push away from shore and take the journey of a lifetime. I have a better understanding of what I believe, how God sees me, a changing worldview, an expanding God-view, an appreciation of creational theology, a reverence for the “imagebearer” in myself and others. It’s been so rich.”



Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, 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.