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    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
    Doctor of Ministry Office
    130 Essex Street
    South Hamilton, MA 01982
    Fax: (978) 646-4574
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F

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    Take a look at our Doctor of Ministry tracks.

Formational Worship

Dates: TBA
Campus: South Hamilton & Off-Site
Primary Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Currie and Dr. Randy Quackenbush

9.5 Theses on Worship by Dr. Gary Parrett

Informing spiritual passions by...

Forming mentored learning communities, thereby...

Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.






Worship is a biblically mandated and great task of the Church. A distinctive practice of congregational life, worship is the primary responsibility of most pastors. Yet many pastors have opted out of this responsibility, having suffered too many wounds in the "worship wars" raging throughout all parts of the Church. This track is designed to develop thoughtful worship leaders who can help everyone step out of the fray. The goal is not "liturgical correctness" nor producing a "one-size-fits-all" worship format. Rather the Formational Worship track at Gordon-Conwell seeks to equip students to nurture worship that flows from Scripture and theology, that is filtered through a range of historical traditions, and that fits the particular contexts where students are leading worship.


As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three two-week intensive residencies (seminars), one each year for three years. The residencies consist of lectures, case studies, participant reports and individual consultations. The classroom sessions are collegial in style and stress learning within a community context. In preparation for each residency, you read between 2,000 and 3,000 pages of assigned and collateral reading. Following each of the first two residencies, you complete a project related to the residency topic. After the third residency, you complete a major thesis-project under the guidance of the directing faculty.

Sample readings include:

Beale, G.K.  We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry.  Downers Grove, IL:  IVP Academic, 2008.

Carson, D.A., et al, eds.  Worship by the Book.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2002.

Chan, Simon.  Liturgical Theology: The Church As Worshiping Community. Downers Grove, IL:  IVP, 2006.

Davis, John Jefferson.  Worship and the Reality of God.   Downers Grove, IL:  IVP Academic, 2010.

Dawn, Marva. Reaching Out without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.

Parrett, Gary & Kang, S. Steve.  Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church.  Downers Grove, IL:  IVP Academic, 2009.

Peterson, David. Engaging with God.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Torrance, James B. Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace. Downers Grove:  IVP, 1996.

Van Dyk, Leanne, ed.   A More Profound Alleluia: Theology And Worship In Harmony.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

Webber, Robert. Ancient-Future Worship:  Proclaiming & Enacting God’s Narrative. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.


On a journey from Hamilton to Syndey, students will have the opportunity to use and evaluate various worship tools during daily worship times, will visit a variety of worship sites and experience various worship styles, and will present case studies addressing problems related to worship leadership.

In the first residency, students will consider the models and mandates for worship found in the Old and New Testaments, and will establish the Scriptures as fundamental for developing a theology and practice of worship. Students will also consider various theologies of worship, the relationship between worship and evangelism and worship and Christian formation, as well as how to provide theological training for worship leaders, professional and volunteer.

Enhanced by the resources of Hillsong during on-site studies in Syndey for the second residency, students will study how worship traditions of the past shape and inform worship today (researching their own and other traditions). Students will discuss how culture shapes worship, and how worship can then re-shape culture. Students will also learn how to educate congregations about worship and how to effect worship changes without causing a church split.

In the third and final residency, students will analyze prayer, music and liturgy - the typical elements that compose the flow and structure of congregational worship, with particular emphasis on the musical elements. Consideration will also be given to the worship environment, to architecture and the use of technology, and to incorporating drama and movement in worship. Students will also explore the roles of Scripture reading, biblical preaching and sacramental practice, as well as giving attention to the rhythms of the church year and special services.