Workshops & Seminars on Worship by Christine Longhurst


Weekend seminars usually include three or four workshops, each approximately 75 minutes in length. Seminars can be chosen from the list below, or congregations can create their own from the list of individual workshops.

One possible model for a Saturday seminar might look like this:


Coffee and registration
9:30 Workshop #1
10:45 Coffee and refreshments
11:00 Workshop #2
12:15 Lunch (provided, or participants bring their own bag lunch)
1:00 Workshop #3
2:15 Seminar ends

1. Encountering God: Planning and Leading Worship in the 21st Century

Recent decades have seen significant changes to the practice of worship in many Christian churches. These changes have resulted in a variety of unique challenges and opportunities for today’s congregations. These sessions will explore some of the significant shifts taking place in worship in the 21st century, and offer practical suggestions for how we might strengthen the shape/content of our worship, and gain a better understanding of our role as worship leaders.


  1. A Changing Landscape: From Modernity to Postmodernity
  2. From Information to Transformation: Implications for Worship Planning
  3. From Emcee to Facilitator: Implications for Worship Leading

2. Choosing and Using Music in Worship

Churches today are surrounded by a rich diversity of worship music styles. How do we navigate the choices available to us? These sessions will address a variety of key issues related to the use of music in corporate worship, offering practical suggestions and examples along the way. Sessions can be tailored to meet the specific needs and interests of individual groups or congregations. A reading session exploring new congregational music in a variety of styles is also an option.

Suggested sessions:

  1. Choosing well: what criteria do we use?
  2. Blending musical styles: is it important? Is it possible?
  3. Leading effectively: suggestions for engaging the whole congregation

3. Critical Issues in Congregational Worship

Churches today have been impacted by a variety of cultural forces that have affected their practice and understanding of worship – consumerism, individualism, and the rise of niche marketing. These cultural forces present a variety of unique challenges and opportunities for today’s congregations. In these sessions we will explore the impact of these forces on corporate worship, and the critical issues they raise for worshipping communities today.


  1. “What You Want is What You Need”: corporate worship in a consumer culture.
  2. Marketing for Success: the appeal of separate services.
  3. Worship and Entertainment: the trend toward ‘programmatic’ worship.
  4. Jesus and Me: the impact of individualism on corporate worship

4. Leading Music in Worship: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities

Leading music in worship is very different today than it was just 15 years ago—musical tastes are incredibly diverse, choosing appropriate songs is more complicated, instrumental accompaniment is increasingly varied, and there is a never-ending stream of new music available. These changes pose many new challenges and opportunities for worship leaders. These workshops will explore a variety of practical issues related to choosing, using and leading congregational music, such as: How do we navigate the many different musical preferences in our congregations? How can we strengthen our effectiveness as leaders? How might we choose and use music in ways that invite and encourage the involvement of the whole congregation?

5. Lessons from History: What the Past Can Teach Us About the Present Use of Music in Worship?

The so-called “worship wars” occurring in many churches today are not a new thing—churches throughout history have faced similar challenges of changing traditions and expectations. What can the past teach us about the challenges we face today? Are there naturally recurring cycles of tradition and innovation in worship music that might give us some perspective on current practices? What does history teach us about the need for diversity in worship music?

Drawing on examples and stories from Scripture and history, these sessions will explore the truth behind the assertion that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).


  1. Is nothing sacred? The complex relationship between ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ music
  2. Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: diversity in worship music
  3. Where to from here?

6. The Three Movements of Authentic Worship

Biblical corporate worship has three primary movements: vertical, horizontal, and centrifugal. Together these movements are essential to authentic, life-giving worship, and each needs to be carefully balanced and held in tension with the others. In these sessions, we will explore these three different movements, and offer ideas as to how we might balance and strengthen the role of each in our corporate worship.

1. The vertical movement of worship. Worship is fundamentally an encounter with God; a dialogue between God and God’s people in which God reveals his divine nature and we, empowered by the Holy Spirit, are enabled to response.

2. The horizontal movement of worship. Our interaction with God is not primarily an individual experience, but takes place in the context of other believers. Our worship helps facilitate the encounter of believers with one another.

3. The centrifugal movement of worship. Corporate worship is not simply a refuge from the world, but is meant to move us beyond our own needs and the needs of our worshipping community. This centrifugal movement of worship calls us to participate with God in God’s larger redemptive purposes for the world.