Monday, January 08, 2007

Welcome to my new blog

The purpose of this blog is to provide a sort of accountability journal for the work I will do to complete my thesis project for my Doctorate of Worship Studies. My goal with this blog (and I invite you to hold me accountable to it) is to post every day about the progress of my thesis project. Perhaps some of my posts will make it into the thesis itself, or into the evaluative process of the thesis. At any rate, it is my prayer that this blog, and any conversations with you will help keep me on track, focused on Christ and my goal, and positive throughout the process.

First, let me tell you about myself. I am an organist for a church in Oklahoma, though playing organ is only about 10% of my job. I also play the piano, accompany all the ensembles in the church, coordinate the children's music programs, direct one of the children's choirs, co-direct the youth choir, direct one of the handbell choirs and work closely with the rest of the music and ministerial staff to plan worship for our church.

Currently, I am working towards my Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Institute for Worship Studies, in Orange Park, Florida. If you are at all interested in the area of worship studies, I highly recommend this program. They offer both a MWS and a DWS. The past 2 years I have spent on this degree have changed my life, and greatly effected my work in a very positive way. Through IWS God has increased my faith and shown me great mercy and love. I truly feel that God has called me to ministry, to my current place of service and to this graduate program. I have completed all the course work for this degree and now must complete the thesis, and plan to walk in the graduation ceremony on June 15th, 2008.

Now to the thesis. In completion of the DWS we must complete an applied, practical thesis. In other words, our final project cannot be a research paper, but a major project addressing a problem in our current ministry setting. I have one more day left of in-class work here in Florida in preparation for writing the darned thing. We've been at it for 4 days so far, hashing out our ideas and plans with our wonderful professors: Dr. Gerald Borchert and Dr. Keith Ray. They're tough as nails, but that's a good thing. You know that no bad thesis gets through these guys. My classmates have some wonderful ideas and I can't wait to see how their projects turn out.

I know you're dying to know what my project is. Well, here ya go:

Working Title: Planning and Implementing Transformative and Participatory Worship through the Development and Training of a Worship Planning Team at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City, OK.

Biblical sources: Nehemiah 8:8 (dramatic worship affecting congregation – importance of worship being transformational); Acts 2: 37; 1 Chron. 23:3-5 (old testament worship planned by lots of people - argument for team worship planning); 1 Cor. 12:7 (spiritual gifts – argument for team worship planning)

Research method and design (plan and organization; data and how interpreted): Choose a team of about 10 – 12 people of both staff and lay members that will meet together for 5 or 6 training sessions that will guide the group to a thorough understanding of worship and equip them to plan worship. At the end of those 5 or 6 sessions we would then take 4 more sessions to plan 4 worship services (either 4 Sundays in November with a Stewardship/Thanksgiving theme or 4 Sundays in Advent). After those Sundays have past we will meet again for one more session to evaluate the effectiveness or lack thereof of the services.

So, the first step in the journey is to begin writing my thesis proposal. I technically have until June 1st to get an approval, but I would love to have it done way before then.

Please feel free to comment with suggestions, encouragement, resources and prayers.


Blogger Bmyers said...

Congrats on getting this far. The journey ahead is exciting. Don't be intimidated. Think of how much you have grown in the last two years. Another year of stretching and exciting growth lies ahead of you. I'll be interested to watch your blog as you progress.

I looked at all that you are doing at your church. I know how things usually work, but it would be great if you could negotiate relief from at least one of your responsibilties while you are working on your thesis. Your project will greatly benefit the church and it would be in their best interest, I believe, to help you be as successful as possible. It may be worth inquiring. Just a thought.

You have a very important project. I look forward to working on it with you.

Bob M

9:31 PM  

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