Global Worship Report
Vol 1, No 9

Global Worship Report - Vol 1, No 9

March/April, 1999
Edited by Frank Fortunato
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network

  1. PANAMA: Wounaan tribe experiences worship explosion.
  2. SUDAN: Lavish open air worship
  3. ALBANIA: Handel's Messiah awakens people to the gospel
  4. ENGLAND: Churches planted in British pubs
  5. TURKMENISTAN: New songbook helps unite Turkmen believers
  6. ROMANIA: Dancing and singing in the worst of prisons
  10. EXPLORING WORSHIP - A worship classic in many languages
  11. MULTI-LANGUAGE MEDIA_worship tapes from around the world
  12. OTHER WEBSITES_for worship related materials


For several years Wycliffe translator Ron Binder and his wife led short term Wycliffe "Discovery" teams to Panama, including teams of music students who get an in-depth exposure to ethnomusicology in missions. Recently a music workshop was scheduled to coincide with the visit of a team of student musicians. Within just two weeks four songbooks with 18 new songs and two recordings resulted from the hymn workshop. Most of the compositions drew on "songs traditionally sung during drinking fests" and thus almost 18 tunes were "converted" to worship use. In addition, a book on Wounaan music styles was published, in Wounaan, and translated into Spanish and English.

Before long copies of the cassettes spread from house to house and village to village. There were 25 present at the first church service when the new tunes were introduced. Then attendance doubled. At a town meeting the pastor introduced the new books and the new hymns. The Discovery students sang a couple of the songs in Wounaan and the people went wild!! Soon church attendance climbed to nearly 100 people. The pastor has encouraged the congregation to keep composing. Since that time the Wounaan church has used the hymns as an evangelistic tool because unbelievers continue to be drawn to them.

(Excerpted from EM News, vol 7, No. 1, 1998, a quarterly publication of the SIL ethnomusicology department. To order a subscription or for more details email Paul Neeley at the following email address:


The believers in Sudan continue to model to the Body of Christ the way in which believers can remain strong in their faith despite the most devastating of circumstances. Christians in the Sudan continue to experience some of the worst persecution of any people in this century, although there are some signs that things are getting better. One of the keys to their strength has been the way God led Sudanese people to worship through their times of difficulty. Take the example of Pastor Luke in South Sudan. Pastor Luke's church regularly meets under a very large tree, with no windows, soft seats or musical instruments. There isn't even a pulpit. Ray Thorne reports: "The most amazing part of their gatherings is watching the lavish worship of these people of God. As the service ends the people have a meal together. After the meal the worship continues. These believers are not ashamed to sing and praise God at the top of their voices as they walk for a mile through their town, witnessing to their great love for Jesus."

(Excerpted from a report by Ray Thorne, in Voice of the Martyrs, December, 1998 page 9).


During Enver Hoxha's scandalous reign of terror in Albania all religion was suppressed. Churches were destroyed. Volumes of classical music were methodically destroyed due to the Christian themes of the texts. In the early nineties, with the change of government and new openness in the country, opera singer Nat Brodsky and his wife Dale went to Albania to try to rebuild some of the lost music heritage. One of the last items they tucked into their suitcase was a copy of Handel's Messiah. Three days after arriving, Nat and Dale persuaded an Albanian choral conductor to help them present the Messiah. Within three weeks of their arrival the performance took place despite the fact that most of the Albanians had never seen or heard the music, had to perform in a freezing hall, and with an out-of-tune piano among other difficulties. The presentation had an amazing influence on the people. Said one Albanian: "This evening was the highlight of my life!" Just seeing my atheist teacher listen to the gospel for over two hours was a miracle!"

The Brodskys decided to stay on and began training musicians to become voice teachers. Soon the Apollo Chorale was born. Voice students also attended the Word of Life Bible School. Villages that had been totally closed to missionaries started inviting Nat to freely visit them, eager for his musical input. Before long Nat had over 100 voice students. After he trained them he sent them back to their own villages as funded voice teachers. Besides giving them badly needed employment it also provided a natural forum for them to share the gospel. With perfect timing, God matched Albania's longing for music with Nat Brodsky's training and availability.

(From an article by Mary Lou Totten, Co-Director of Fellowship of Artists for Cultural Evangelism (FACE), as reported in the Great Commission Handbook).


One of the most accessible of all places in England is the local pub. Not merely drinking establishments, these are the places where people express their sense of community. There are probably two or three of them within easy access of nearly everyone in England. Unfortunately, many of the people who regularly visit the pub don't have a church they can so easily get to. So people have started taking the church to the pubs. In one case, a group began going to pubs and making an offer to the owners: "We'll give you 50 minutes of traditional background music if you will give us ten minutes to preach the gospel." Some agreed. The pub owners realized people would stay longer and eat more. The strategy has worked well enough in fact, that over 36 new pub churches were started in a six-month period.

(As reported by Sheryl Wingerd in the DAWN Report, November, 1997).


This Central Asian nation is just emerging with believers forming into the several small fellowships. A landmark event resulted with the release of the first ever Turkmen songbook a few years ago. Now churches and mission representatives in the area have united to re-edit the songbook. Plans are in place to record the songs as well. The distribution of the song materials in places like Turkmenistan provide a means to unite and give a common identity to the scattered groups of believers there.

(As reported by a missionary working in the area).


A unique feature of the Voice of the Martyrs newsletters has been many article reporting on the way God preserves his persecuted peoples through worship. (These reports have been a regular feature in the GWRs, including the article above from Sudan). Richard Wurmbrand describes how God preserved him during fourteen years of unbelievable hardship in Romanian prisons: "I know about a kind of paradise. In this paradise there have been beatings and tortures. We were deprived of everything. We had nothing to eat or to clothe ourselves with. In winter it was cold. We never saw our wives, mothers, or children. We never had a Bible or a book. We had none of these things, yet there was an inexplicable joy in the Lord. Singing was not enough for us; we have also danced in prison. We had moments when we felt with intensity the nearness of Jesus. There was such joy in our hearts. The gray walls of the cell glowed like diamonds.

The joy cannot be expressed in mere words. Paradise is open for everyone."

(Excerpted from Voice of the Martyrs magazine, March. 1998, page 2).


Robert Wenz in his book, Room for God? says that there is a great deal of "discipleship preaching," the kind that nurtures the saints and focuses on Christian life and doctrine. He also sees a preponderance of "evangelistic preaching" in some circles. But he goes on to say that there is a need for what he refers to as "worship preaching." Wenz defines such preaching as theological preaching that focuses on God, His character, His attributes, His person, His acts, and His glory... "If the music that is played and sung is coupled with preaching that is God-focused, then something truly transforming can occur Sunday after Sunday. Such preaching coupled with God-centered worship will cause people to leave the church services ready to live out a lifestyle of worship."

(Excerpted from an article by Henry E. Shelds in the MGS Servant magazine).


Developing Indigenous Hymnody -- An annotated Bibliography, is an invaluable resource in two parts. Authored by Dianne Palmer-Quay, this resource includes both the book and the CD-ROM. The book surveys the level of indigenous hymnody around the world, discusses the missionary's role as a catalyst and highlights sociological factors which influence the development of locally appropriate hymns.

Fifty key resources are extensively annotated in the bibliography. These readings will assist any missionary in developing the skills necessary to successfully encourage indigenous Christian music.

The CD-ROM contains bibliographic data on more than 500 readings on music and missions in the English language, many with a brief annotation. Although these readings are also listed in the appendix, indexed by geographic region and major topic, the CD-ROM offers greater search capabilities. Annual updates to the database are planned. For more information on this resource, contact Dianne Palmer-Quay at the following email address:


Two new graduate courses devoted to worship studies have started at two prestigious Christian universities. In conjunction with Integrity Worship Ministries, both the School of Divinity of Regent University (Virginia, USA) and Liberty University (also in Virginia) are offering graduate level programs. Both universities will base their degree programs around five core worship courses that will be taught in conjunction with Integrity Music leadership. Regent University will offer both the degree program as well as a certificate for worship leaders who only need to take the core worship courses. At Regent the core worship courses will be taught successively over the period of one full year. At Liberty University the five core courses are taught in week long modules by LBTS faculty and special guest lecturers. The rest of the course material is sent complete with VHS videotapes, course outlines, study notes and textbook. Enroll at any time and take up to 120 days to complete a course.

(For more information on Liberty's program contact the university at the following email address:;<> For more information on the Regent program, contact the Regent Admissions Office at

Two other graduate level courses of study have been in operation preparing music missionaries: Music in World Cultures (a graduate level course in ethnomusicology) offered on the campus of Crown College in St. Bonifacious, MN.

Contact Dr. John Benham at the following email address;

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Southwestern offers a master of music degree in church music with a concentration in music missions. A recent addition to this degree is the ethnomusicological training program to prepare missionaries to use music in their cross-cultural ministries. The courses are taught by Wycliffe/SIL ethnomusicologists.

Contact Stan Moore at the following email address:


One of the truly classic books on worship over the last few years is Bob Sorge's Exploring Worship, (textbook and accompanying Workbook/Discussion Guide). The book provides a balance between Biblical teaching and practical tools for the worship leader and the worship team. The book is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Indonesian, Bulgarian and Russian. Bob has also authored three other best-selling books.

(For information on these materials, contact Bob Sorge at the following email address:


In the MLM catalog are cassettes and a few CDs that circle the globe. This is an ideal way to learn how the Christians sing and worship in different parts of the world. It is also an ideal way to provide materials to encourage believers from these parts of the world. Finally, these recordings provide an effective, low-key way to introduce the Gospel to non-believers from the nations and cultures represented in the recordings.

For information on ordering a catalog, use the following email address:,<> or visit their web site:


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