Global Worship Report
Vol 2, No 3

Global Worship Report Vol. 2, No. 3

October, 1999
Edited by Frank Fortunato
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network

  1. China: Third International Festival of the Arts
  2. Russia: First ever Christian radio and TV
  3. Togo: New believers singing and dancing
  4. India: Tireless Music and Drama Team Visits Indian Schools
  5. Russia: First Church among Mongolian Buddhist Russians
  6. Rome: Letter of Pope John Paul II to Artists
  7. USA: Music in Muslim Evangelism
  8. Resources: Developing Indigenous Hymnody-A new resource for Cross Cultural Workers
  9. Resources: Two software resources for worship musicians
  10. Featured article on Ethnomusicology and Successful Church Planting


A diverse team of professional artists took part recently in the third International Festival of the Arts. The event took place in Kunming, the political, economic and cultural center of Yunnan province, in China. The festival included classical music, dance, theater arts, fine arts, traditional crafts and an international children's festival. Parts of the festival were broadcast live nationwide. The festival was founded under the leadership of YWAM leader Colin Harbinson, International Dean of the College of the Arts, on the belief that the international language of the arts offers an opportunity for Christians to build relationships and trust between people. Cultural exchanges on a global scale have been the fruit of the International Festival of the Arts. Marguerite Nelson, one of the visual artists at the event wrote: "As much as I could, I stood by my quilts, ready and available to talk. The Creation quilt was a powerful visual witness without words. I was questioned and challenged about the story and its implications. Do you believe this story? Do you want us to believe in God? Each question required careful answers. I came home more convinced that ever that the visual arts are a powerful salt and light tool around the globe with the power to communicate across culture and language barriers without words!"

IFA focuses on nations going through profound change. The first festival was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1991. In 1994 "Love without Borders was the theme in Bulgaria.

(For more information about the IFA contact Colin Harbinson at


(Excerpted from a report by Dan Wooding)

Radio TEOS, Russia's first non-denominational Christian radio station, which broadcasts daily to Moscow and St. Petersburg, is now moving into television - and they are hoping that it will spark a revolution of love in the city that saw the beginning of communism in 1917. Dr. Evgeny Nedzelsky, Founder and Director of Radio TEOS, has announced that his ministry has reached an agreement with a St. Petersburg cable station to air 26 minutes of Christian programmes each week - free of charge -- and he is hoping that it will be the beginning of a revolution of love in Russia, which has recently seen so much violence. "The potential audience is more than 3,000,000 people," explained Nedzelsky from his office in St. Petersburg.

Radio TEOS is one of the most exciting projects in international broadcasting today. It was created by a group of Russian believers in 1992 following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Pastor Evgeny Nedzelsky led his team through months of prayer and hard work, bringing the station to a living reality in St. Petersburg on January 1993. For the first time in history, Russian people heard Christian radio broadcasting in their own country. "Five million people in St. Petersburg and nine million in Moscow are now within reception of Radio TEOS, a nondenominational, evangelical radio in St. Petersburg and in Moscow." Classical music and contemporary Christian music both feature as part of the station's programming

(For more information email: For more information about the news service of Dan Wooding, founder and international director of ASSIST--Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times--email:


Edoh Fiozandji, national director of Every Home for Christ in Togo, is delighted by the explosive success of recent literature outreaches in that land. In just 90 days 399 people accepted Christ and 41 home fellowships (called Christ Groups) formed. Not long after more than 800,000 gospel booklets had been distributed by EHC workers resulting in 31,582 responses to the Gospel and the establishment of 349 Christ Group fellowships. Edoh shared: it's wonderful to see men, women and children who used to sing and dance among fetishes and idols in voodoo rituals turn to the living and true God. They now sing and dance for the Lord!

(From the monthly newsletter of the Centre for Mission Direction. Web version:


India Outreach reports that their Music and Drama teams minister to more than 10,000 elementary and high school students over three week itineraries. The songs and skits revolve around the theme of the Father who loves his children. Using puppets, stage, sets and sound equipment the message is tailored to the ages of the audiences. After the presentations the team ministers to the administration and principal ending with a time of prayer for the school leadership. Opportunities open up to take the Gospel into Hindu and Islamic homes as well. When not ministering in the schools the music and drama teams join other evangelists and musicians and help rural pastors develop worship centers and churches.

(For more information: Contact The Hindustan Bible Institute:


Often the first step in a people group coming to Christ is the rediscovering of their historical roots, cultural heritage, art, music, etc. Such is the case among the 150,000 Kalmyks of Russia. This Mongolian group trace their heritage all the way back to the 1600s when they settled near the Caspian Sea. They comprise 45% of the present population of the Russian republic of Kalmykia. After decades of domination this people group is rediscovering their heritage by rebuilding temples, sending their sons to India to train for Tibetan Buddhist priesthood, teaching their ancient Mongol script in schools, and producing traditional musical instruments. Out of this new search for identity a small group of Kalmyks have discovered the God of the Bible, have put their faith in Christ, and now, in the midst of opposition and persecution nineteen baptized believers have formed the first Kalmyk church.

(From the Advance-newsletter. To subscribe, send the message "subscribe Advance-newsletter" to


(Excerpted) God called man into existence, committing to him the craftsman's task. Through his "artistic creativity" man appears more than ever "in the image of God", and he accomplishes this task above all in shaping the dominion over the universe which surrounds him. With loving regard, the Divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power. Obviously, this is a sharing which leaves intact the infinite distance between the Creator and the creature...that is why artists, the more conscious they are of their "gift", are led all the more to see themselves and the whole of creation with eyes able to contemplate and give thanks, and to raise to God a hymn of praise. This is the only way for them to come to a full understanding of themselves, their vocation and their mission...

I invite you to rediscover the depth of the spiritual and religious dimension which has been typical of art in its noblest forms in every age. It is with this in mind that I appeal to you, artists of the written and spoken word, of the theatre and music, of the plastic arts and the most recent technologies in the field of communication. I appeal especially to you, Christian artists: I wish to remind each of you that, beyond functional considerations, the close alliance that has always existed between the Gospel and art means that you are invited to use your creative intuition to enter into the heart of the mystery of the Incarnate God and at the same time into the mystery of man...In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men and women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed...

(For the complete text, send email to Grace Wiebe


(As reported in the "Ethnic Worship & Arts Focus newsletter - Sept99" This newsletter, edited by Grace Wiebe, parallels the Global Worship Report in many ways but focuses more in depth coverage of the Muslim world. The newsletter also features full length articles. See subscription info below).

A new course on "The Use of Music in Muslim Evangelism" was introduced at the Summer Institute of Muslim Studies in Colorado Springs this past August. Students who took the course for credit received it from New Geneva Theological Seminary. The areas of interest of the 15 students spanned the Muslim world, from Senegal at the Atlantic to the Philippines in the Pacific. The course was taught by ethnomusicologist Paul Neeley and Rev. Duane Kruger. In general, the course was meant to give an introduction to musics in the Islamic world, and proceeding from there to ideas on how to effectively use music in a missionary context.

Specific topics covered included: contextualized Christian worship in Islamic societies, art musics of the Middle East, folk musics, the pros and cons of attempting to chant the biblical scriptures in the Quranic form, shared aesthetics of Islamic musics and other art forms (such as architecture), Sufi music and devotion to God, 1400 years of argumentation by Islamic scholars on the proper place of music, typical Islamic instruments, using Muslim professional musicians to compose songs based on biblical texts, a model of a successful Scripture song workshop in a Muslim society in Africa, and more.

Readings and discussions were supplemented by video clips and recorded song examples. In addition, articles particular to the geographical region relevant to each student were prepared beforehand and handed out, so each student could gain some "specialist knowledge" of the music used in the area where they planned to work. Materials will be made available in a bound form for distribution within 6 months, including an annotated bibliography of readings used for the class.

(For more information, contact Paul Neeley:<> To subscribe to the Ethnic worship and Arts Focus Newsletter, contact Grace Wiebe,


Dianne Palmer-Quay has provided an excellent new resource to help missionaries and cross-cultural workers understand the importance of indigenous Christian music and hymnody. This 132-page spiral bound book is a truly unique undertaking, in that it provides the big picture on the growth of indigenous hymnody around the world. Her study first evaluates the level of indigenous hymnody in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas through a review of the published literature. Her discussion then turns to the missionary's role as a catalyst or an analyst, in conjunction with contemporary issues in hymnody development. The remainder of the book is an annotated bibliography of key resources which would assist any missionary in developing the skills necessary to encourage indigenous Christian music. An extensive bibliography of published resources relevant to ethnic hymnody is included in the Appendix.

Excerpt from the Introduction: "When the Lord scrambled the spoken word at Babel, a variety of human cultures resulted. Each culture defines and understands music differently so that what is joyful music to one people may be mournful music, or only noise, to another... The Akoye of Papua New Guinea sing together, but not in unison. At all-night singing and dancing celebrations, large groups of people will sing simultaneously, but each sings his own tune and words.

...The majority of missionaries do have some role in guiding worship services, but few have participated in related coursework. Consequently, the materials chosen for the annotated section are relatively free from musical jargon, making them useful to the widest possible audience. The appendix offers a bibliographic listing of over 550 published materials that discuss some aspect of indigenous hymnody development. These resources are indexed by geographic region and major topic, and many include a short annotation as well."

(For information to order the book contact Dianne Palmer-Quay: email:


For worship leaders and musicians involved in western approaches to arranging and writing music, there are two excellent tools at reasonable prices that many will find useful. The first tool creates "auto-arrangements" of music that can be played through the computer sound card or midi system. The other program is a greatly simplified version of Finale, the most successful software notation program of all time. Both programs are under U$75.

Resource #1: BAND IN A BOX: (Excerpts from product reviews)

Creative computer music software applications are bordering on true artificial intelligence. One of the most useful software application of all time for musicians and music educators is Band-in-a-Box™ by PG Music. The software can generate play-along accompaniments in several musical styles and in any key and tempo in a matter of seconds.. This versatile program can generate drum, bass and various instrumental accompaniment styles, based on a chosen Style and your choice of chords. It can also harmonize solo lines, or even improvise solos.

You construct a Song by entering chords onto the Worksheet bar window. The screen is pre-divided into bars and beats, so just put in the chords at the correct bar. You then define the key, the tempo, and a performance style. You then 'frame' the song by marking the beginning and end of the chorus, and how many times to loop (repeat). There are good basic score-printing facilities as well. Each part in the arrangement can get printed. The program is an ideal teaching and practicing tool. Musicians can study contemporary styles by muting all parts and listening to drum or bass lines, or other instruments of the various styles.

Worship musicians needing to make a quick backing track for a worship song will find the program can save hours of arranging and sequencing time. There are many built in styles that are suitable for worship settings. Also, in response to many demands, a special styles disk for praise and worship has just been released.

(For more information, contact PG Music

Resource #2: FINALE PRINT MUSIC: (From the PrintMusic press release)

Anyone wishing to create, play and print sheet music easily and quickly for a low price now has one of the best products ever available to get them started: Finale PrintMusic! for Windows from Coda Music Technology. Based on Finale, the world's best-selling music notation software, PrintMusic! for Windows provides an affordable way to create quality sheet music just like the world's top publishers. PrintMusic! for Windows is the easiest and most powerful entry-level notation product on the market.

PrintMusic! is easy to learn, and it also has QuickStart video tips that show first-time users all the basics right on the screen. While it is easy to create music "from scratch", the program also comes loaded with over 100 free music pieces to arrange and print as a quick way to get started. It is also capable of helping users download and print thousands of free MIDI files from the Internet.

Worship musicians needing to make quick "lead" sheets or easy praise band arrangements will find the product very easy to use. Notation programs provide a quick and excellent tool to not only create readable music but also to instantly transpose your song into any key.

(For more information: contact Coda Music:

10. Featured article on Ethnomusicology and Successful Church Planting

(The following is a shortened version of an article written by Kirk Bullington, Music Evangelism Strategist / Baptist Spanish Publishing House. For the full text of the article "Why an understanding of ethnomusicology is key to the successful implementation of new directions at the International Mission Board". See below for information on getting the full text.)

Christianity has always been a singing religion. Sooner or later, every missionary attempting to start an indigenous church planting movement will be forced to confront the issue of what kind of music they will use in the emerging churches. The success or failure of an indigenous church planting movement, may rise or fall based on the decisions he makes at this point. The disciplines of ethnomusicology are helping missionaries all over the world to get a handle on what to do.

Ethnomusicology teaches us that music is NOT a universal language. Yes, music is universal but one universal musical language does not exist. We can say, for example, that Spanish is a language and that speech is universal but we would never dare to say that Spanish is a universal language. The same is true in music. Examples of this abound.

The plain truth of the matter is that the music that communicates best to me and that stirs me at the very core of my being may have no effect whatsoever on the members of another culture. If we believe that music is a universal language then we will assume that MY "heart music" will do just fine. As we come to the understanding that music, while being universal, is not a universal language, we will become concerned about not just becoming bilingual but bi-musical as well in order to share the gospel not only in THEIR "heart language" but in THEIR "heart music" as well.

FRINGE CHRISTIANITY (that only reaches the "outside" members of the targeted people group) VS.INDIGENOUS CHRISTIANITY (that reaches the members of the ethnographic core An indigenous church planting movement depends on being able to reach the ethnographic core of the people group being targeted. Unless the music and worship styles of the emerging churches are in the indigenous heart music of this people group, the ethnographic core can never be reached because Christianity will always be perceived as a foreign religion. This is what happens when missionaries teach translated hymns or choruses based on the false assumption that the music and worship styles of THEIR heart music are universal, a common and innocent misconception.

DEPENDENT CHRISTIANITY (that can only progress with outside interventions) VS. INDEPENDENT CHRISTIANITY (that flourishes on its own through means that are readily understood and reproducible by members of the targeted people group) Clearly, anything we do in the area of evangelism and church planting that is not readily understood and reproducible by local believers in their own cultural context will hinder the start of an indigenous church planting movement. It has often been said that you can tell the spirit of a church by the fervor of its singing. Spirited singing indicates a Spirit filled church. Until indigenous music and worship styles in the heart music of the targeted people group emerge, churches will not be truly vibrant and alive with the means necessary to grow and reproduce themselves as part of an indigenous church planting movement.

SURFACE CHRISTIANITY VS.CHRISTIANITY THAT PENETRATES TO THE CORE OF ONE'S BEING When we introduce generic or western translated hymns or choruses we are actually imposing our musical tastes or heart music on them. We might call this a form of musical imperialism. We know that music can stir us at the very core of our being. In areas where an indigenous music and worship style has been fostered the missionaries have heard comments like these: "We like the hymns but... OUR music can make us cry," and "having the Bible in our heart language has made it possible for God to speak to us. Being able to worship God with our music has made it possible for us to speak to Him."

THE ROLE OF THE MUSIC MISSIONARY TRAINED IN THE AREA OF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY The missionary trained in the area of ethnomusicology approaches music in a completely different way. Generally speaking, his role is to act as a catalyst in the creation of Christian music and worship styles in the heart music of the people. Experience has shown that in many places around the world, those who introduce Christianity to a particular people group need to also be the ones to give them the permission to worship God in their own heart music. A little guidance is needed at this point. He might begin his work by doing a heart music survey; carefully studying the heart music of the people group being targeted As he identifies what the various musical styles and instruments are he will begin to study the most prominent one and will start studying how to play one of the more prominent instruments of that style. In effect, he will start trying to not only be bilingual but bi-musical as well.

I would suggest that all church planting teams have one or all of the following:

THE MANY FACES OF GOD The Bible teaches us that we are made in the image of God. For some time now I have felt that His image was shared between the man and the woman so that when the two come together in marriage the full image of God is present. As I have studied more about ethnomusicology I have come to think that God's image is even bigger than that and that it is not just shared between men and women. His image is so infinitely beyond what we can think or imagine that to make man in his image He had to share it with all the 6800 distinct people groups of the world. Taken together, all the cultures of the world reflect the incredible complexity, diversity, wonder and greatness of our God. Every culture is a fallen culture because of the nature of fallen man. And in the same way that there is something redeemable in every fallen man, there is something redeemable in every fallen culture as well.

In Revelations 7:9-10 the Bible talks about "a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe and people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb" worshipping "our God who sits on the throne." Let's allow for an even greater worldwide harvest by making sure that the redeemed arrive with their heart language AND heart music intact. Let's insure that the ENTIRE image of God in all of its complexity and diversity shared by all the 6800 heart languages and heart music systems of this generation and those of the generations that have come before makes it back to heaven where it belongs. And, when we hear them all sounding together for the first time as we stand around the throne, then, and only then, I believe we'll get to hear the very heart music of God.

Footnote: Many of the examples cited in this paper have emerged from the excellent work being done in the area of ethnomusicology by SIL and Tom Avery who is their International Ethnomusicology Coordinator. At this point I would have to consider them to be the great commission group that is most on the cutting edge of music in missions. An excellent overview of their work can be found in the May-August 1996 issue of the Mission Frontier Bulletin.

(To receive the full text of this article, send email to:

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