Worship Conference 2017

Worship Conference 2017

September 24-26, 2017

St. Paul Lutheran Church
3501 Red River Street, Austin, TX, 78705

7:00 PM Sunday, September 24: Hymn Festival – 12:00 Noon Tuesday, September 26
Monday Lunch and Dinner Included
Register Online or Download Registration Form (PDF)
Download Poster (PDF)

This conference is for pastors, musicians and lay people, and is designed to give insights into how Reformation ideas continue to animate theology, music and worship in the 21st Century.

Leaders of the sessions have presented and been published regionally, nationally and internationally on a variety of topics related to themes of the conference. Some sessions will be hands on/ participative and shaped specifically to the attendees. Other sessions are designed to have more general application to a wider audience.

In addition to opportunities for worship and a hymn festival, the conference is designed to inspire church leaders with ideas they can apply in their home parish as they work to proclaim the Gospel through Word and Sacrament.

Hymn Festival - Sunday, September 24 at 7:00pm

"Dear Christians, One and All Rejoice: Five Centuries of Prayer, Praise, and Proclamation"
Benjamin Kolodziej - Organist
Assisted by Choral and Instrumental Musicians of St. Paul


Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman - LCMS Strategic Mission Developer, Eurasia
Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman recently served as a career missionary through The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS), based in Leipzig, Germany. In this role, he served as an evangelistic missionary, assisting regional and mission partners throughout Eurasia with theological education. He provided instruction in institutions of partner churches, thus enhancing the cultivation of future pastors and leaders within their respective spheres. Additionally, he worked to develop liturgical, hymnic and musical resources, equipping partner churches with essential tools for churchly life and mission. He regularly held both lectures and masterclasses at secular institutions and performed recitals throughout the region, testifying to the person and work of Jesus thematically in both research and artistic expression. Further, he regularly assisted with presiding, preaching, and liturgical and catechetical support in regional congregations.  Christopher and his wife Elizabeth, along with four children, currently live in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Benjamin Kolodziej - Chapel Organist, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
Benjamin Kolodziej serves as Chapel Organist at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, where he has been an adjunct lecturer in sacred music at Perkins School of Theology and where he plays for 150 weddings, memorials, and civic events a year at Perkins Chapel. Graduating with an undergraduate degree in organ performance from SMU in 1998, Mr. Kolodziej holds Master of Sacred Music and Master of Theological Studies degrees from Perkins School of Theology, SMU. He is a frequent organist for hymn festivals and organ concerts, having performed throughout Texas and the United States as well as many times in the UK as well as in Germany, Austria, Norway, Italy and Switzerland. As a lecturer on topics of church music, he has presented to AGO chapters and universities, maintaining an interest in liturgical, hymnological, and theological history and practices.
Sam Eatherton - Minister of Music, Zion Lutheran Church, Dallas, TX
Sam Eatherton is the minister of music at Zion Lutheran Church in Dallas, where he directs the choirs and instrumentalists of the church and school and assists in leading the liturgy and hymns for weekly chapel and Sunday services. Eatherton enjoys composing for both choir and organ and has had several works published by Concordia Publishing House. Sam is currently in a DMA program at Baylor University, studying organ with Isabelle Demers. His research interests include early Lutheran Sunday School hymnals in English and the philosophy of children in worship.  This semester Sam is teaching a class at Baylor:  Formation of the Christian Musician. Sam and his wife, Lois, have been married 21 years and have 5 children, ages 7 to 16. Lois teaches 3-8th Grade Music at Zion and assists with other aspects of the music program as well.
John Krueger - Director of Music, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Houston, TX
John Krueger has served as the director of music at Christ the Servant since September 2004. He holds degrees from Hillsdale College and Concordia University Wisconsin, and recently completed a certificate in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame. John has presented two papers to Societas Liturgica and had an article published in CrossAccent. Over the years, he has sung 45 shows with the Houston Grand Opera, five productions with the Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and ten operas with Opera in the Heights. John has two solo CDs out, has two sanctioned 300 games to his credit in bowling, and loves playing bridge.
Rev. Dr. Mark Nuckols - Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Austin, TX
Rev. Dr. Mark S. Nuckols has been Senior Pastor of St. Paul, Austin since 2004, having served as senior pastor at Holy Cross in Kansas City, MO from 1997-2004, active duty Army chaplain at Ft. Campbell, KY from 1995-1997, and sole pastor of Faith, Richmond, MO from 1989-1995. He was twice deployed as an Army Reserve chaplain for yearlong tours of duty in Iraq while here at St. Paul. In 2004, Pastor Nuckols received a Doctorate of Ministry in “Building the Local Parish on the Marks of the Church” from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne. Married for 30 years to Carla nee Pullmann, they are blessed with two adult children and five grandchildren.
Dr. Robert Achterberg - St. Paul Lutheran Church, Austin, TX
Dr. Robert Achterberg currently sings in the St. Paul Choir, chants, plays brass and woodwind instruments, studies the interaction of Christianity and culture, reads extensively in WWII history, and enjoys photography, furniture building, and remodeling. Prior to retirement he taught a wide variety of the music courses at Concordia University, Texas, including up to 3 sections of Vocal Technique each semester, supervised student teachers in Dallas and Austin, directed a TAPPS High School Class A State Champion choral program, and directed bands and other instrumental ensembles. His high school and university Early Music consorts have performed 9 original madrigal feasts. His degrees include a B.S. in Ed. from Concordia University, Nebraska, a Master of Church Music from Concordia University, Chicago, and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.
Kathy Achterberg - Minister of Music, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Austin, TX
Kathy Achterberg is Minister of Music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Austin. A graduate of Concordia University, Nebraska and of Concordia University, River Forest with the Master of Church Music degree, she has served congregations in Illinois, Michigan, and Texas. She has served as an instructor for Lutheran Music Enrichment, accompanist for the Austin Children’s Choir, worship and workshop leader, hymn festival organist and on committees for CPH, AGO and the Synodical Worship Institute’s planning committee. She and her husband, Robert, have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Conference Schedule

Sunday, September 24

5:30 - 6:45 PM - Registration
7:00 PM - Hymn Festival

Benjamin Kolodziej will be organist for the Sunday Hymn Festival, assisted by the choir and instrumentalists of St. Paul.

Monday, September 25
8:30 - 9:00 - Registration 9:00 - 9:45 - Matins 9:45 - 11:00 - Plenary I 11:15 - 12:15 - Sectional I 12:30 - Lunch 1:30 - 2:00 - Bible Study 2:00 - 3:00 - Plenary II 3:00 - 3:05 - Break 3:05  - 3:30 - Uppsala Paper 3:30 - 3:40 - Break 3:40 - 4:40 - Sectional II 5:00 - Dinner 6:15 - 7:30 - Plenary III 7:45 - Evening Prayer Christopher Ahlman will be the organist for the Monday Evening Prayer service. Prelude: Dan Locklair, Rubrics: a Liturgical Suite for Organ, 4. "The Peace May Be Exchanged" Postlude: Johann Sebastian Bach, Praeludium und Fuge in Es-Dur, BWV 552
Tuesday, September 25

9:00 - 9:45 - Morning Prayer
9:45 - 10:45 - Sectional III
10:45 - 11:00 - Break
11:00 - 12:00 - Sectional IV
12:00 - Sending


"The Discipline of Church Music and the Repentant Life" - Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman
The first of Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses states that "[our Lord and Master Jesus Christ] willed that the entire life of believers be that of repentance." As this includes church musicians just as much as any other Christian in any other vocation in life, it behooves us to consider how church music as a discipline, as a gift of God, is a manifestation of the repentant life--for the benefit of not only of the Church in general, but especially for those tasked with the discipline of church music.
"Musical Catechesis: Teaching the Faith Through Music and Liturgy" - Sam Eatherton
The focus of this session is on teaching the Christian faith through music and liturgy not only to children but also to the whole congregation.
"Church Music for Children: Embodied, Formative, Crossgenerational" - Sam Eatherton
Paper presented at Uppsala, Sweden this September Most would agree that music is a powerful conveyor of truth and can thus be instrumental in forming ideas and habits.  Martin Luther recognized this fact when he famously placed music “next to theology” in its ability to proclaim the Word of God.  If music is so influential, how is the faith of our children being formed through the music they experience in Lutheran worship?  If delivering and inculcating the faith is an important function of church music, then how can music provide a basis for spiritual formation of children that will serve them into adulthood. The analysis in this study provides a musically ethnographic counterbalance to the published literature and offers further insight into the formative role of church music in the life of the church.
"The Gospel Today in Lutherland" - Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman
Given the intellectual and philosophical developments that occurred over the course of approximately 250 years in what is now modern Germany, and given the societal and political developments that transpired in eastern Germany throughout much of the twentieth century, the condition of both the Church and the Christian faith among the German people comes as no surprise. What comes as a happy surprise is how the Gospel is nonetheless living and active and "taking on flesh" among those living in Germany now 500 years in the wake of the Lutheran Reformation.


"Music as Mistress and Governess: Martin Luther and the Publication of Hymnals" - Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman
In his prefaces to newly-published hymnals, Martin Luther personifies the artform of music as a woman, a personification that was common in Luther's era within the context of Renaissance humanism. Specifically, Luther personified music as both a "mistress" and "governess," which is a logical consequence and outgrowth of his Two Kinds of Righteousness paradigm. What results is a comprehensive encouragement for the Church to take up and continue the task of confessing Christ in liturgy and song in and before the world.
"Online Resources for the Practical Musician" - Benjamin Kolodziej
We are increasingly aware of the many online resources through which we can access and print choral, organ, and instrumental music for church. But navigating the Choral Public Domain Library or the Petrucci Music Library Online can seem a daunting task. This session will cover basic usage of online resources, but will also point to specific free, downloadable hymn preludes and choral repertoire of particular use to the Lutheran musician.
"Keeping Children Musically Active in Worship" - Sam Eatherton
How can we expect children to sit through an entire worship service? More than that, how can we expect them to actually participate in a worship service especially when the youngest ones are unable to read? This workshop explores how children of all ages can get through worship and become actively involved in the worship of the church.
"Singing the Sacrament: Martin Luther's Communion Hymns" - John Krueger
Paper presented at Societas Liturgica in August at Catholic University Leuven, Belgium Between low attendance at communion, low literacy rates, and the language barrier, the church had very little connection to what they saw at the altar. Luther used two communion hymns to bring people to and into the sacrament.
"The Incarnation and the Means of Grace as the Antidote to American Evangelicalism" - Rev. Dr. Mark Nuckols
According to the reformers, fellowship with the Creator does not happen by assenting to right doctrine or having power encounters. It takes place when the Gospel is rightly applied to peoples' lives through the preached Word and through the sacraments; the means of grace. When the reformers defined right preaching of the Word and proper administration of the sacraments to be marks of the church, they were safeguarding the Gospel's application to our lives, and they were safeguarding the incarnational manner in which the Triune God desires to be apprehended. The reformers were interested in the words “preached” and “administered” only as they were done “rightly” and “properly.” Therefore, “preached” and “administered” tell us that a church is a place where we are the receivers, not the doers. We receive God's favor, but we deserve His wrath.
"Organ Improvisation" - Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman
An open masterclass on improvisation based upon chorales and hymn tunes.
"Low Budget Hymn Festival Planning" - Benjamin Kolodziej
How can we plan a festive hymn service as simply and cheaply as possible? We will explore how to plan an attractive hymn festival with as little budgetary outlay as possible, and with the least amount of stress for the church musician.
"Utilizing Instrumentalists in Worship" - Dr. Robert and Kathy Achterberg
Whether you have used or would like to use instruments in worship, this workshop will provide practical ideas which will focus on rehearsal strategies, recruitment, space and equipment requirements, repertoire resources and idiomatic considerations in utilizing instrumental musicians in worship.
"Family Choir" - Kathy Achterberg
Topics will include philosophy and rationale, music selection, rehearsal techniques, instrumental enhancements, Orff-type accompaniments and discussion of the unique challenges of a multigenerational choir with a wide range of musical skills.
"Vocal Techniques and Chant" - Dr. Robert Achterberg
Singing and chanting are activities based on vocal production and listening skills. Those psychomotor skills can be learned by people with normal speaking voices and average hearing. This session is designed with flexibility to match the needs and interests of pastors, music directors, or lay people who attend, whether non-confident singers or experienced cantors looking for insights to achieve new levels of service. Psychomotor skills take time and thoughtful repetition to develop, but this session can serve as a catalyst to identify your next steps to singing and chanting enhancement.