Book Review: The Next Worship

Today for “Natasha’s Study” I am reviewing the book, The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World by Sandra Maria Van Opstal.

The Next Worship

Why I picked up this book:

I received this book to review from my publisher InterVarsity Press and I was glad to review it for my friend, Sandra.

Who Should Read The Next Worship:

With this book, Sandra presents a wealth of knowledge from her diverse experiences leading cross-cultural worship teams. Any worship leader who is interested in multiethnic ministry, cross-cultural worship, being a bridge builder or reaching the millennial generation will benefit from reading this book.

Personally, I sought out the book because I am on a search committee for hiring a new Worship Arts Director & College Ministry Pastor for the multiethnic church where I am a member. I like to prayerfully make informed contributions and decisions so I was hoping that this resource could provide insight into the world of multi-ethnic worship, and it did.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Next Worship”

Leadership Issue: Hello! Millennials are Leaving the Church

Millennials

Millennials are leaving the Church. That’s the conclusion that is drawn from much of the recent readings. The statement is only partially true, however, and it presents a great opportunity for the evangelical church to reconsider how she approaches the millennial generation, makes disciples, and views diversity. Taking another look at this problem offers some promising solutions.

Millennials are Leaving the Church

In a recent article titled “59 Percent of Millennials Raised in the Church Have Dropped Out — And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why” on Faith It, writer Sam Eaton reported that “only 4 percent of the Millennial Generation are Bible-Based Believers. This means that 96 percent of Millennials likely don’t live out the teachings of the Bible, value the morals of Christianity and probably won’t be found in a church.”

Drawing on information from a 2014 Barna study concerning this group of 22-to-35 year olds, the findings are consistent with reporting from the past decade or more. A simple Google search of “why are millennials leaving the church” will only lead us to draw a dismal conclusion about the relationship between the church and her lost millennials. In research for my book, Mentor for Life, however, I made a note to highlight that the Black Church is not experiencing the same decline among this coveted group.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

Mentoring Across Generational, Racial-Ethnic, and Socio-Economic Lines

I’m so honored to share the testimony of my mentoring relationship with Mary through this excerpt from Mentor for Life:


The first time I stepped onto her porch, it was a sweltering hot summer day in Maryland. I’d been encouraged to visit the woman who lived in this house because she was offering a Bible study for young women, and that’s exactly what I needed. Although I’d been raised in the church, I was really just a young Christian at the time—only a year into a personal relationship with the Lord. I was still unsure about a lot of things, including what it even meant to be a disciple. I wanted to learn.

Me and Mary at retreat
Mary and I at a women’s retreat during my Naval Academy days.

The door opened, and Mary stepped into my life with her smile, warm hugs, homemade bread, and Snickers cookies. But she didn’t stop there. She shared the Word of God and taught me his truth. It was Mary who prayed me through some of the most difficult times in my young adult life. It was Mary who became one of my closest confidants and advisors. It was Mary who corrected my many shortcomings.

Mary was the first woman who intentionally discipled me. As a young midshipman from South Carolina attending the United States Naval Academy, I didn’t know how to cook. I rarely washed my own clothes. Aside from keeping a clean house, being hospitable, and throwing a great party, I knew little about homemaking because my mother proudly took care of those things. Her priority was to ensure that we, her children, had every opportunity to prepare academically and athletically for our futures. And while personal leadership, responsibility, and accountability were ingrained in me at a young age, I never learned certain life lessons as a child.

Me Mary Tom at Wedding
Mary and her husband, Tom, attending my wedding several years later.

Mary gained wisdom from persevering through life. She was an older white woman, a former nurse, a devoted wife, and a stay-at-home mom. This mother of five (four of whom were still living at home) regularly taught women’s Bible studies, homeschooled her children, and was devoted to serving midshipmen, her church, and her community. She baked the best treats from scratch. During my visits, she would cook and I would eat. I was quite pleased with this arrangement. We were very different, and God used our differences to create opportunities for learning and to grow a beautiful relationship.

Continue reading at Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics.