Dr. Paul Clark addressed our doctoral students last week on the subject of congregational song. Dr. Clark is currently the Director of Worship and Music Ministries in the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Clark articulated the necessity of worship renewal through congregational singing, which requires both the congregation and singing (obvious, but often overlooked). He described several problems of music in the church such as poor participation, lack of unity in churches, overall unhealthy practices, poor and declining appreciation of churches’ history, less connection, etc.
Clark emphasized that worship renewal is not something to do with our achievement but a work of the Holy Spirit, something for which we pray. He argued that everyone worships, but the question is not whether we will worship, but rather who and what we worship.
He particularly defended Theocentric (God-centered) and Christocentric (Christ-centered) worship theology. Music ministries need to teach the congregation Private Worship, Family worship, Congregational worship, and Festival Worship. In addition, he explained that singing helps our Worship since what we sing builds spiritual formation, prayer, and community.
Finally Clark suggested that Christian Worship should be Biblical, dialogical, conventional, Trinitarian, communal, hospitable, generous, God-centered, and evangelistic.
Da Jeong “Juliana” Choi is a Phd student in the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.