Brooks Discusses “Church Forsaken” at Calvin Symposium

Mar 04, 2020

Worship leaders, pastors, and other church leaders should be encouraged to recognize the need for worship to be a product of the way we live in our communities and love our neighbors and neighborhoods well, Jonathan Brooks, recruiter and mentor for Trinity’s five-year B.A./M.Div. program with Northern Seminary, told the audience during a seminar at the recent Calvin Symposium on Worship.

During his seminar “Church Forsaken,” which shared a name with his recent book, Brooks, who serves as senior pastor of Canaan Community Church in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, also talked about introducing hip hop as a worship style that the church not only needs to accept, but embrace. “Hip hop is probably the most impactful and globally diverse culture in the world,” he said. “I had Pastor Terence Gadsden, the campus pastor at North Park University, also known as DJ Rock On, who performed with me during the vesper services, join me for the workshop.

“We wanted to show it was about more than music, and that embracing and learning from hip hop is a way that the church can lean into its God-given diversity,” he said.

This is the first time that Brooks has presented at the conference. “But I have been in contact with the Calvin Institute for quite a few years discussing how worship needs to be activated in the community. In other words, real worship can come outside of the four walls of the church and actually be a product of the way we live in the world,” he said. “In my book Church Forsaken, I talk about how my activity in the community and my love for my neighbor has led to a greater and more authentic worship of God.”

Brooks said some attendees were very encouraged by the notion that our worship of God can be enhanced by the way we move closer to our neighbor and are more engaged in our neighborhood. “The premise that our welfare and the welfare of our family is bound up in the welfare of our neighborhood, from Jeremiah 29:7 (‘Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper’), was truly an eye opening reciprocal way of thinking about how we live in the world,” he said.

The annual Calvin Symposium on Worship is a three-day conference sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching held on the campus of Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary.