Aaron Niequist, A New Liturgy

This post is by Kelly Dolan, who is a Chicago-area filmmaker and media producer. You can find him online at about.me/kellydolan, or by following @kellydolan on Twitter.

A New Liturgy

Aaron Niequist’s recently launched worship project, A New Liturgy , isn’t the kind of project that’s likely going to stop churches from obsessing and debating over styles of worship. What it can do, however, is help us lay down that conversation and pick up other far more interesting conversations:

Who is worship for – God or us? In what context is worship best experienced? Do we need to feel differently about God or think differently? Or both? What part does good theology play in our worship experience? What part can worship experiences play in shaping our theology?

Aaron, a long-time friend, has gathered a group of musicians, writers, vocalists, and spoken word artists for A New Liturgy, described as an “attempt to create holy space wherever we find ourselves. A moveable, sonic sanctuary.” It’s something wholly different than other worship projects. It’s not just a collection of songs or simply a snapshot of one community’s worship. It’s a singular 20-25 minute experience that invites the listener to participate in it.

As one who has struggled to engage in any kind of worship experience (personally or corporately), A New Liturgy is a gift to me. Great art has a way of changing the way I see the world around me, as well as the way I see the art form itself. A New Liturgy is no exception, providing a rich artistic experience and opportunity for me to potentially encounter God wherever I am.

And in the process, A New Liturgy is re-categorizing what I believe worship music is capable of doing in our lives and in our churches.



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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Steve

    I appreciate this post so much. Great to see people doing stuff like this.

  • T

    The approach is encouraging, having only listened to the opening song for a few minutes and scanning overview.

    I think asking whether worship is for God or for us is similar to asking if sex is for the wife or the husband. Same with the other questions. Worship without good or deepening knowledge of the other is off, but neither is worship a purely intellectual enterprise. We have to bring our whole selves to worship, just as God has brought his whole being into loving us.

  • Just a question — where does this idea of “personal worship” come from?

  • Chaplain Mike – That’s a great question. In my mind, there’s examples of what we call “personal worship” throughout God’s story and church history. But perhaps there’s no real categorical difference in what actually happens to the individual whether they worship alone or with a group.

    Perhaps corporate worship either enfolds a collection of personal experiences to create something unique, or starts out as something of its own and spins out to a variety of personal experiences. Or likely, as T mentioned above, both/and.

    What do you think?

  • I don’t want to hijack this thread, so I will just leave the question for people to ponder. The relationship between corporate and individual faith is IMO one of the great issues the church faces today, especially when technology allows us to carry our own “holy spaces” around with us 24/7.

  • John Loppnow

    As a good friend to both Kelly & Aaron I want to say how happy I am to see both of their “work” represented here. Both are very talented men who use these talents for the kingdom of God.

    I have purchased A New Liturgy #1 and have enjoyed it very much so. Its so different and unique from what I’ve been able to find. I’m grateful for this piece of work to help me get settled so I can pay full attention to God’s work in this moment.

    Regarding worship there is a question that I would like to add to the conversation.

    What role does singing and music play in worship?

    This is with the assumption that singing is not the only way we worship God. It plays an important part, just not the whole.

    I look forward to the conversation.