New resource helps evaluate non-LCMS worship material

The Synod’s Commission on Worship has developed a 32-page booklet to help pastors, musicians and others involved in worship planning assess the “acceptability” of worship material from non-LCMS sources.
Titled “Text, Music, Context,” the new resource is the commission’s response to a resolution of the 1998 Synod convention that asked the commission to “enable a process by which songs and liturgical materials from sources other than LCMS publications might be reviewed for acceptability so that congregations may be assisted in their goal of using doctrinally pure worship materials.”
In an introductory “Theological Overview” section, the commission says that it “recognizes there are divergent worship practices in our Synod.”
“Far from simply providing lists of what is and is not appropriate for use in worship,” the commission continues, “the questions and commentary that follow identify important issues regarding the theological content of texts, the nature of music in worship, and larger issues concerning the nature and purpose of corporate worship.”
Among the 11 questions are the following:

  • “What does the Word of God say concerning worship?”

  • “What are features that make a text strong?”

  • “What makes a melody particularly appropriate for congregational singing?”

  • “What issues should be considered when choosing hymns and songs for corporate worship?”

  • “In what ways can variety be added without losing the overall structure and pattern of the service?”

After a section with commentary and examples addressing the questions, the booklet ends with the questions in reproducible form to help worship leaders assess material from outside the Synod.
“The Commission on Worship sees this as an eminently practical tool that can assist any pastor and musician in the Synod who is involved in planning worship,” said Dr. Paul Grime, the commission’s executive director.
To order “Text, Music, Context” (item No. S05505), call Concordia Publishing House at (800) 325-3040.  The per-copy prices (plus shipping and handling) are $5 for a single copy, $4 for 2-5; $3 for 6 or more.
The commission’s February Reporter insert, which has excerpts from “Text, Music, Context,” may be downloaded in PDF format from the Web site  A free study guide for the resource is being planned for availability at that site sometime in April, according to Grime.

Posted March 12, 2004

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