Thinking Worship Interviewed on Worship Links

Brad over at Worship Links email-interviewed me recently, and it was posted today. Brad’s intro:

I like to describe Stacey Gleddiesmith as a worship theologian. With a strong academic background in the theology of worship, she shares some excellent insights on worship at her blog, Thinking Worship. Recently, Stacey talked to Worship Links about the lack of theological training in worship ministry, the future of church worship, and how many different keys is too many for one song.

I like to describe myself as a worship theologian too. It’s good to be on the same page! Incidentally, we also discovered that we share a common problem: pet hair.

Here’s the FULL INTERVIEW. What say you – am I off base or on?

Now Taking Questions

There is no point in my “rabbiting on” (as my husband would say) about things you care nothing about. Therefore, I would like to start a Q&A series in which I, and others (I won’t claim omniscience for myself), research and answer questions you have about worship (theology, practicalities, ethics, relationships, church, liturgy, music… you name it). So bring on the questions!

Please also consider sharing this post with others who might have questions in this area: those who lead worship at your church, your pastor, a friend who is interested in plumbing the depth of such things. The more questions I get, and the more conversation partners we have, the better this series will be.

Leave your questions in the comment box, and if you want to throw in a few suggestions for other things you’d like to see on this blog, I’ll take those now as well.

Why another worship blog?

A friend once asked me if I thought it was absolutely necessary to add my own words to the repository of books – short and long, hard cover and soft, good, middling, and awful – in the world. Weren’t there enough books out there already; did I really have anything new to say?

The same question could be asked of me now: why add my own voice to the throbbing millions pushing to be heard in the blogosphere?

I have yet to write the books I was discussing with my friend – but I still intend to do so. Yes, there are a lot of books out there already, but no, there are not enough. Yes, I have something new to say, several new things to say in fact. Yes, I am vain enough to believe that it is important for me to say them, and vain enough to believe that people (at least a few) will read them. I feel the same way about this blog.

As I considered whether or not to begin my own worship blog, I decided to research other blogs on the topic. Here’s what I found

  • set-lists
  • “Sunday evening ramblings”
  • tips for worship in a certain style
  • music advice
  • presentations of new songs/music
  • advice on the use of various technologies
  • arguments for the adoption of various trends
  • post after post after post entitled “worship is…” containing a vague list of personal opinions about the nature of worship, usually making no reference to scripture and almost entirely dependent on the etymology of the English word “worship”

Some of the above I read with interest. Some of the above I found quite helpful. Some of the above made me extremely nervous. Some of the above made me want to tear my hair out. None of the above addressed theology of worship.

I’m not saying there is no place for practical worship blogs that explore the real challenges of leading worship, including all the technical elements involved. I’m not saying that there are no hard-hitting theology of worship blogs out there (if you know of any good ones, please let me know!).

I am saying that there seems to be a need for a blog that bridges theology and practice. J.I. Packer says, at the start of every theology course that he teaches (and sometimes, if he forgets he said it already, at the start of every class!), “all good theology leads to doxology.” The two are to be inextricably linked. Worship is tied to every aspect of theology, and therefore good and careful theology should under-gird every act of worship.

You can read more about my perspective on worship in the church on the Thinking Worship page of this blog. I hope you will. And if you feel I’m off track, I hope you’ll let me know. And if you feel I’m on to something, I hope you’ll join in the discussion.


Stacey Gleddiesmith