Worship gives us a glimpse of the majesty and grandeur of God. But that's not all. It also paints a picture of God's purposes for the world. He is in the process of gathering together a multitude of worshipers from every language and nation. Urbana worship director Sandra Van Opstal shows that worship both takes people where they want to go and challenges them to go where they need to go. Worship creates a space for us to encounter the mission of God. Having culturally diverse worship gives us a more holistic portrait of God's attributes and character. In missional worship, we proclaim and demonstrate that the kingdom of God is here, accomplishing reconciliation, justice and shalom. Such worship is good news for the world and offers God's transcendence and healing to all who yearn for his transformation. Worship can mobilize us for God's mission in the world. As we worship, we can invite the world around us to enter into the praise of the one true God.
Sandra Maria Van Opstal (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is a Chicago-born, second-generation Latina and a leading practitioner of multiethnic worship. A preacher, trainer, liturgist and activist, she is passionate about creating atmospheres that mobilize for reconciliation and justice. She served as the worship director for the Urbana Student Missions Conference and has led worship for the Willow Creek Association, the Christian Community Development Association, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Evangelical Immigration Table. Sandra regularly consults as both a worship leader and a mission trainer with Christian colleges, conferences and local churches, and she serves on the board of Evangelicals 4 Justice. She and her husband Karl minister at Grace and Peace Community in Chicago, and she is the author of .
"Sandra's booklet weaves together the themes most dear to my heart into a beautiful tapestry that brings glory to God. She clearly shows how aspects of God's mission--reconciliation, justice, welcoming the stranger, setting free the oppressed and other elements of God's kingdom--tie in tightly with multicultural worship. This booklet will inspire you, challenge you, cause you to fall on your face before God, cause you to get your hands dirty, cause you to raise your hands and worship with all of God's children around the world. If you want his kingdom to come, and his will to be done on earth as in heaven . . . then read this booklet and live it."
"Thank you, Sandra, for this powerful introduction to mission and worship. This book will broaden and deepen our worship in its forms and cultures and aspirations. It is a mighty tool that God can use to take us all--as worshipers and worship leaders alike--where we need to go. These are the God-ordained places of inclusion and hospitality, justice and reconciliation in our worship, of the 'two feet' of worship and mission that God desires for us all. Please read this book carefully and prayerfully. You will be moved, just as I have been."
" The Mission of Worship powerfully connects a theology of worship to vital aspects of mission, challenging us to engage more deeply with issues like reconciliation, justice, suffering and the discipline of lament. Emerging from the gritty realities of Sandra Van Opstal's multiethnic urban ministry, this book explores how we can more deeply know God through the worship styles of other cultures. As an ethnodoxologist, I found myself exclaiming 'Yes!' and grabbing my highlighter. It energized and inspired me for my own work at the intersection of mission and worship."
"Sandra Van Opstal has wisdom beyond her years as a leader in multicultural ministry contexts. I'm so glad she has put down on paper what I've been so grateful to hear in person. Read this book and let it stretch your worship leading so you can take people not only where they want to go, but where they need to go--where worship and mission intersect."
"In an engaging introduction to worship, Sandra Van Opstal outlines a contextual and robust theology of worship that suggests worship is more than merely singing songs--it must become a lifestyle celebration. Squarely anchored in Scripture and grounded in the character of God who compels worship, Sandra takes her reader on an inspiring yet practical journey of love--one that leads us to God's heart, one that breaks in a world of injustice but finds a healing balm through the worship of the larger Christian community."
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