As churches navigate uncharted territory of ministering in an age of social distancing, The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music and Worship is providing resources through its Artistic Theologian website to help Christians lead worship in their homes while COVID-19 precautions prevent church members from corporate gatherings.

“Worship was always meant to unite God’s people,” says Joseph Crider, dean of the School of Church Music and Worship Joseph R. Crider. “But during this temporary separation, when we sing, when we pray, when we gather even in our homes, we can realize that we are joining with worshipers all over the world, and with those who worship continually around the Throne of Grace.”

“This unity happens when believers gather around His eternal Word, regardless of where they happen to be physically,” Crider says. “The Word of God is what truly unites us. Worship is that space where heaven and earth meet as believers join in the already in motion praise and adoration of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

The school had already been working to expand Artistic Theologian—its scholarly journal—as an online resource for local church worship leaders and pastors with music, videos, and instructional resources for how to do various aspects of church worship. Although the website is still being developed, the music school wanted to make many resources available now during this time of heightened need.

Crider recognizes that many churches will have resources for individuals and family worship, but especially during an unusual and challenging time, the music school wanted to do everything they could to serve and support churches with additional faculty-created resources.

Resources include: a leader’s guide outlining principles of worship, a suggested service order, videos of hymns with lyrics, a PDF of the hymns, and audio files of hymns with recorded piano accompaniment. Additionally, Crider says, the music school will create a playlist of these hymns to download and enjoy at any time.

“We would also like to help clarify that worship isn’t our response to music, a band, a leader, a choir, or a production,” Crider says. “In worship (corporate and private), the redeemed respond to the self-revealing God, and He gave us His Word as a perfect revelation of Himself. Worship is much like a rhythm—God reveals and His people respond.”

Leaders may visit the site each week to download resources for their church. Visit the Artistic Theologian to learn more. 

The school is also offering a series of eight webinars during the month of April with scholarly presentations on theology and the practice of Christian worship. The keynote addresses will be offered by Ken Myers on April 17. Myers is the host of Mars Hill Audio and author of All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture

For more information about the webinars, click here