Next Steps for the IBW Website: Research

One of the incredible blessings of being at Southern Seminary is the opportunity to work in a gospel-shaped community of scholars who realize that the hope of the world is not the academy, but the local church.

Last May, our first Institute of Biblical Worship PhD graduates walked across the commencement stage at Southern Seminary. We would like to congratulate our two graduates, Dr. Scott Connell and Dr. Chuck Lewis. Both of these men embody the mission of our Department of Biblical Worship in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry “To train pastors who lead worship.”  

Research and scholarship are important aspects of training pastors who lead worship. New and exciting studies like Dr. Connell’s and Dr. Lewis’s have already impacted our students and the quality of their education. As new research is conducted by our growing number of doctoral students, we are thrilled to share their findings on the new “Research Tab” found under the Resources Section of our website. Some links on this portion of the website take readers directly to papers and dissertations written by our students. Other links will take readers to new worship-related websites developed by the researchers.

We are thrilled to link our IBW readers with Dr. Chuck Lewis’s new website, The Worship Design Project. Through his survey of worship leaders from around the country and his own dissertation research, Chuck has developed a new website that will be a lasting and valuable gift to the church. Here is a short description of Chuck’s work:

The Worship Design Project (WDP) is a survey of music and worship ministries of the highest attended churches (top 500) in the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States conducted in the spring, summer, and fall of 2014. The WDP sought to discern how ministers of music select and sequence the elements of their services of worship.

Believing that every choice made by a worship pastor is governed by a guiding philosophy, a held value, or a prime objective, the aim of this research was to discover the specific influencers that affect worship design and subsequent practice in Southern Baptist churches. More specifically, the purpose of this quantitative research was to examine (1) how worship pastors select the elements to be included in their services of worship and (2) how worship pastors sequentially order the elements once they have been selected. This research also sought to discern what role, if any, the specific concepts of transcendence and immanence play in how worship pastors select and order liturgical elements (e.g., songs, prayers, Scripture readings, etc.) included in a worship service.   

The results of Dr. Lewis’s research are fascinating and I hope you will take some time to visit his new website. As interesting as the data is from worship pastors all over the country, Chuck’s thorough and desperately needed writing on the concept of transcendence and immanence in corporate worship gatherings may be life-changing for you.

We hope this new section of our IBW website be a blessing to you and your congregation!