main cow pic

03.01.15

Introducing the No 6: Examen trailer…

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 11:09 am

 from New Branch Films.

02.16.15

No 6: The Examen is here

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 10:34 pm

The day has come, friends, and we couldn’t possibly be more excited.  You can now pre-order A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen (Extended Edition) and get an immediate download of the 28 minute Examen liturgy…

No 6: The Examen (Extended Edition)

 

And then on 03.03.15, once you’ve had two weeks with this liturgy, we’ll ship you a CD with all the extras…

(1) Audio: An Abbreviated Examen – a ten minute, mostly instrumental version of the Examen.
(2) Audio: The Cross Meditation – a ten minute guided meditation on the Sign of the Cross
(3) Teaching: St Ignatius and The Examen – Fr Michael Sparough teaches the history of The Examen
(4) Teaching: The Five Steps of The Examen – Fr Michael Sparough teaches through The Examen
(5) Video: A conversation with Fr Michael Sparough and Aaron Niequist about The Examen, spiritual direction, and learning from other Christian traditions.

Aaron and Fr Michael interview

Aaron and Fr Michael interview

 

So may this New Liturgy of a very ancient practice help you create holy space wherever you find yourself.

Grace and Peace,
Aaron

02.12.15

Three ways to begin exploring Liturgy

Filed under: A New Liturgy,church,worship — 3:56 pm

The traditional church had the form but lost the heart.
The modern church found the heart but lost the form.
Our invitation may be to anchor our hearts in the form,
and join God in the holy tension.

More and more people seem to be exploring the intersection of liturgy and modern Christianity. My evangelical friends often love the energy of our tradition but feel it’s a little too thin. And many of my mainline friends are deeply committed to their roots, but trying to breathe new life into the form.

It’s a really exciting time.

And while there are many people exploring this both/and path, here are three that really inspire me…

Brilliance / Packiam / Common Prayer

Brilliance / Packiam / Common Prayer

(1) The Brilliance. In my opinion, David Gungor and John Arndt are creating the best spiritual music on the planet right now. Their honest, beautiful, raw, and haunting albums provide a powerful soundtrack for Lent, Advent, and every season of life. Check out their newest project – “Brother” – which comes out next Tuesday.

(2) Glenn Packiam: Discover The Mystery of Faith.  Any time a worship leader asks me: “So what is liturgy all about? How do I move beyond singing into a more formational approach?”…I recommend Glenn’s book Discover The Mystery of Faith. It’s the most winsome, intelligent, and compelling invitation into this conversation I’ve ever seen. Especially for evangelicals. And his accompanying album The Mystery of Faith fleshes these ideas into powerful songs.

(3) Common Prayer (A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals).  This resource by Shane Claiborne and friends is a freight train of goodness. I’ve used it for my personal prayer many, many times, and it continues to influence how we approach Sunday nights at The Practice. Shane and I even got to lead the Willow Creek Community in one of the liturgies (watch video). Most of all, “Common Prayer” connects our inner prayer life with the outer world…inviting us all, over and over, to become contemplative activists.

What resources would you add to the list?  What are the other resources, artists, thinkers, and authors you have found helpful?

02.09.15

Two Liturgies for this season

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 9:18 pm

Next Tuesday (Feb 17th), we are launching A New Liturgy No 6: Examen at anewliturgy.com.  You’ll be able to download the 28 minute liturgy immediately, and pre-order the full Examen Expanded Edition. We hope that it serves you well as we move into this season of Lent…and all year long.

The following day (Feb 18th) begins this season of introspection and fasting with Ash Wednesday. This is a day where many Christians around the world confess our sins before God and remember “from dust we are and dust we shall return.”

In preparation, we are giving away A New Liturgy No 3: Lord Have Mercy on NoiseTrade.  Maybe you happily belong to a modern church but want to also connect into something more historic. Or maybe you are deeply rooted in the high church tradition, but are looking for a fresh way to engage this deep season. May “Lord Have Mercy” be a bridge and a gift in some small way.  (Free until Feb 24th.  Available HERE after that.)

A couple ways you could use it…

(1) Personally.  Lent is such a great time to look inward and invite God to shine light into every dark corner.  Maybe you could set one hour aside each week to pray along with the “Lord Have Mercy” liturgy and see how God leads you to respond.

(2) Small group.  This may be a little intense, but might your small group be ready to engage this together? You could listen and pray through the first six tracks together, and then after the “Litany of Penitence”, pause the recording and spend some time sharing with each other. A question to start might be: “What is one area in your life that you most need God’s mercy right now?” And a second question: “How can we, as your community, help you receive this mercy?”

(3) Ash Wednesday Service.  If you would like to lead your community through this liturgy (or a modified version of it) on Ash Wednesday, you can Download the basic chord charts and string quartet parts. Feel free to use this in any way that would serve your church.

Peace,
Aaron

01.31.15

Announcing A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 9:32 am

Hey friends. I am so excited to announce that A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen is coming on Feb 17th.

Liturgy6Cover shadow

The Story:  Last April, my spiritual director—Father Michael Sparough, SJ—guided our Practice community through the historic Christian practice of The Examen. The night was so powerful and unexplainably holy that we wanted to invite more people into the experience. So we turned the live recording of Fr Michael into a full New Liturgy—fleshing it out with an evocative musical score and three original songs. We hope it helps you connect with God in a deep and daily way.

Because this is such a powerful practice and Father Michael has been so gracious, we are offering
the liturgy in two forms…

(1) A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen - a digital download of the full 25 minute Examen liturgy.

(2) ANL No 6: The Examen Expanded Edition - a digital download and physical CD of the liturgy, plus a number of extras to help you go deeper with The Examen and deeper with God. We’re working really hard to make this expanded edition as robust and helpful as possible, so stay tuned!

You can stay up to date at anewliturgy.com/blog and facebook/anewliturgy.

Really excited for you to experience this one, friends. Grace and peace!
Aaron

03.05.14

Setting up for The Practice

Filed under: A New Liturgy,Discipleship,The Practice — 6:14 pm
The Chapel

The Willow Chapel

So excited.  We spent yesterday setting up the Willow chapel in preparation for our first gathering of The Practice this Sunday night.  I can’t possibly convey how much we’re looking forward to this new adventure.

Our goal for the chapel is to help it feel like a holy living room.  Simple, reverent, and human.  The chairs are set up in the round because we long to become a tribe together, and the Eucharist table is in the very center of the room because we know that Christ is the very center of everything.  It’s simple, but hopefully the room will preach louder than any words.

Becky and I even had the chance to run through some of the opening liturgy.  Friends, we can’t wait to dive into this with you.

T minus three days…

02.03.14

“Lord Have Mercy” FREE on NoiseTrade

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 1:05 pm

In preparation for Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, we are giving away A New Liturgy No 3: Lord Have Mercy on NoiseTrade.  Maybe you happily belong to a modern church but want to also connect into something more historic.  Or maybe you are deeply rooted in the high church tradition, but are looking for a fresh way to engage this deep season.  May this be a bridge and a gift in some small way.  (Free until March 5th.  Available HERE after that.)

A couple ways you could use it…

(1) Personally.  Lent is such a great time to look inward and invite God to shine light into every dark corner.  Maybe you could set one hour aside each week to pray along with the “Lord Have Mercy” liturgy and see how God leads you to respond.

(2) Small group.  This may be a little intense, but might your small group be ready to engage this together?  You could listen and pray through the first six tracks together, and then after the “Litany of Penitence”, pause the recording and spend some time sharing with each other.  A question to start might be:  “What is one area in your life that you most need God’s mercy right now?”  And a second question:  “How can we, as your community, help you receive this mercy?”

(3) Ash Wednesday Service.  If you would like to lead your community through this liturgy (or a modified version of it) on Ash Wednesday, you can Download the basic chord charts and string quartet parts.  Feel free to use this in any way that would serve your church.

Peace,
Aaron

12.12.13

Something deeper

Filed under: A New Liturgy,church,God's movement — 8:35 pm

I just read a great article about the many young evangelicals that are becoming Roman Catholic, high Anglican or Lutheran.  The contemporary evangelical tradition has taken them as far as it can, and they are yearning for something deeper and more grounded.  To be honest, myself and many of my friends feel this too, so the article connected deeply.  But this paragraph stopped me in my tracks…

Andrea Palpant Dilley explains her own shift from Presbyterianism to apostacy to generic evangelicalism to high church: “In my 20s, liturgy seemed rote, but now in my 30s, it reminds me that I’m part of an institution much larger and older than myself. As the poet Czeslaw Milosz said,

‘The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.’

Both my doubt and my faith, and even my ongoing frustrations with the church itself,
are part of a tradition that started before I was born and will continue after I die.
I rest in the assurance that I have something to lean against, something to resist and,
more importantly, something that resists me.”

There are no words to describe how deeply this moves me.  Or how badly I need this.

Amen.

12.04.13

You Can Have it All…

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 5:00 am
available today

available today

 

Today we are launching the inventively named “COMPLETE COLLECTION”, which is
everything that A New Liturgy has created so far.  Including…

  • Liturgies 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 (both physical CDs and downloads)
  • the brand new Remix EP (vol 3)
  • Creation (Live on a Sunday) album
  • Remix EP 1-2
  • the Blessed (Live at Axis) video
  • the Making of No 3 video
  • all the chord charts

You can find this, and each individual liturgy, at the new New Liturgy Store.

So may this Collection overwhelm you with helpful ways to create holy space wherever you find yourself.

Peace,
Aaron

08.05.13

Liturgy is not a style, but a feast

Filed under: A New Liturgy,church,worship — 1:39 pm

As you may know, I believe that our current approach to worship music is both fantastic and way too narrow. The modern rock, anthemic, expression-driven worship music that dominates the CCM world and most evangelical churches is one kind of healthy spiritual food.  And it is wonderful for what it does.  But I worry that a steady diet of it will create malnourished worshipers.  Which is why the liturgy is so brilliant.

The Liturgy is, in my wife’s excellence words, a well-balanced meal.

This doesn’t mean that every church should turn into a traditionally “Liturgical church”, whatever that means. We don’t need to become stylistically Catholic or theologically Episcopalian or suddenly hang stained glass everywhere.  This isn’t about style, but about form.  Do we have a plan in place to help form our community into Christlikeness?  It’s not about the songs we choose or the genre of music, but the questions we begin with.  

So as a worship leader, I’ve been asking myself:  Am I offering the church a well-balanced meal?

Over the course of a month…
-Do we practice a number of different worship forms…or do we only sing?
-Do we focus on many aspects of God’s character…or just the most common in worship songs?
-Do we encourage the full range of human emotion (joy, sorrow, gratefulness, lament, etc)…or find ourselves in a pretty narrow bandwidth?
-Do we learn how to worship from many different traditions…or are we only influenced by our own tradition?

If my church community feasts on the worship practices we offer, month after month, will they become well-nourished worshipers?

well balanced feast

the feast

What about you and your church?  What are the worship practices that keep your community healthy?  Is there a certain “food group” that you might need to introduce…or take a break from?

07.24.13

All the notes, slides, and links from my ECHO breakout

Filed under: A New Liturgy,church,God's movement,worship — 1:00 pm
ECHO

ECHO 2013

This afternoon I have the privilege of sharing a bit of my journey at the ECHO Conference.  This topic is something I’m deeply passionate about, but if I’m honest, still wrestling with.  So who knows what will happen!  The breakout is called…

“Evangelical Worship Leading, The Liturgy, and me.”

“While leading worship in a mega-church for the last ten years (at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, MI and Willow Creek in Chicago, IL), I’ve been feeling more and more drawn to The Liturgy – both personally and as a worship pastor.  The depth, reverence, and historical grounding have been profoundly moving.  But how does this fit into an evangelical mega-church with big screens and moving lights?  Is there a way to bring these ancient practices into this modern context, or are they fundamentally incompatible?  In this breakout, I’ll share what I’m learning, what I’m wrestling with, and a few big mistakes I’ve made.  And then we’ll dream together about the future.”

ECHO Breakout notes

ECHO Breakout powerpoint

Resources:

The Story of A New Liturgy (video)
Ian Cron: “Becoming the Liturgy” (video)
Glenn Packiam’s blog
“Church is Bigger Than the Church” (my article for Relevant)
“Common Prayer”, Clainborne, Wilson-Hartgrove
The Book of Common Prayer online
Brian Mclaren’s open letter to Worship Songwriters

Books:

“Desiring the Kingdom”, James KA Smith
“A Guide to the Sacraments” John Macquarrie

“The Immortal Diamond”, Fr. Richard Rohr
“Everything Belongs”, Fr Richard Rohr
“The Holy Longing”, Fr Ronald Rolheiser
“To Change the World”, James Hunter
“Finding Our Way”, Margaret Wheatley
“Liturgy For Living”, Weil, Price 
“The Wisdom Jesus”, Cynthia Bourgeault

Examples (video):

A New Liturgy No 4: Creation (live at Willow Creek)
A New Liturgy No 2: Blessed to Be a Blessing (live at Axis):   (password = liveliturgy)
Love Can Change the World / St Francis / Have Thine Own Way (live at Willow)
The Resistance Experience (live at Willow)
Worship band IN the room (live at Willow)

07.16.13

Five people who brought ANL No 5 to life

Filed under: A New Liturgy,music — 10:38 am

As you know, an idea is only as good as the team of people willing to breathe life into it. And with A New Liturgy, I am lucky enough to have a ridiculously talented tribe of artists and dreamers who give WAY more than I could ever pay them. Can I tell you about just five of the people who brought No 5: Here Are My Hands to life?

Tracking No 5

Tracking No 5

(1) Aaron Ruse – If you wonder why each New Liturgy sounds better than the last, it’s because Aaron Ruse keeps getting more involved. And on New Liturgy No 5, Aaron engineered nearly every session and then spent a couple weeks mixing it. The quality of sounds he is able to capture on my shoe-string budget blows me away. But more than engineering and mixing, I love working with Aaron because he is a musician. He doesn’t just care about how the kick drum sounds; he is always listening for what is best for the song. Everything he touches gets better.

(2) Eric Niequist – When I asked my brother to help create a video for ANL No 5, I never imaged we’d end up with something as great as THIS. And that is a tribute to his tireless creativity, passion, and vision. My idea was a one-shot interview in a car, and he kindly invited me to dream bigger. Thanks so much, bro! Your encouragement and energy and belief in A New Liturgy blows me away. (If you want Eric a part of your future project – which I think you do – check out NewBranchFilms.)

(3) Robbie Seay – When we landed on “Here Are My Hands” as the central song for this liturgy, it became apparent that my voice wouldn’t cut it. This song needed more soul, grit, and guts…and I kept saying “If only someone like Robbie Seay would sing it.” Well, thankfully, Robbie was kind enough to throw himself into the song and take it into the deep, honest, raw place the liturgy needed to go. Wow.

So here’s the deal, Robbie: If you ever need my sissy voice to make one of your songs less-soulful, less-raw, and less-powerful, just let me know! You are very welcome.

string quartet

The String Quartet

(4) Steve Myers – One of my favorite people on the Willow Creek staff is Steve Myers. He’s been a music director at Willow for about a hundred years, is a killer musician at almost every level, and is pure joy to work with. On Liturgy No 5, Steve arranged all the string quartet parts and directed them in the studio. And as you can tell, he did a KILLER job! The strings are the emotive heart of this journey, and I couldn’t be happier.

(5) Nick Moon – Nick is one of the only people to contribute to all five New Liturgies, and I honestly think that his mastering work on No 5 is his best. A great mastering engineer (in my opinion) enters into the soul of a recording and brings out all the magic, which is what Nick is so freaking good at.
May I highly, highly recommend you check out his work at ToneProper.

07.10.13

A New Liturgy No 5: Here Are My Hands

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 7:10 am

Friends, the new…new liturgy is officially live at anewliturgy.com.  It is an “on the way to work” and an “on the way home from work” liturgy that I hope will help you recapture the holy possibility of your commute.

This 2 minute video shares the heart of “Here Are My Hands”…

 

Check out more and download it at anewliturgy.com.

Thanks and many blessings!
Aaron

07.09.13

First listen of A New Liturgy No 5

Filed under: A New Liturgy — 9:37 am

In the next couple days, we are launching A New Liturgy No 5: Here Are My Hands at anewliturgy.com. It is an “on the way to work” liturgy, and an “on the way home from work” liturgy…I can’t wait for you to hear it!

In fact, because I can’t wait, here is an early listen of the first ten minutes of Part 1…

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