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John D. Witvliet

Professor of Worship
Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship


Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame (1995, 1997)
Master of Music, University of Illinois (1993)
Master of Theological Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary (1992)
Bachelor of Arts, Calvin College (1990)


John D. Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of music and worship at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, respectively. He also teaches in the religion department at Calvin College. His areas of interest include the history of Christian worship, worship practices in various denominations, biblical and systematic theology of worship, the role of music and the arts in worship, and consulting with churches on worship renewal.

He is married to Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet, a professor of psychology at Hope College. They are parents of four very active children, Sheila Grace, Kate, Madeline, and Luke.

“At its best, Christian worship reflects and conveys the beauty of God, profound gratitude for the gospel of Christ, and eagerness to deepen self-giving service in God’s world. In my teaching, I hope to invite pastors and worship leaders to plan and lead services that reflect this vision, to offer worship that is both profoundly biblical and culturally relevant. An important part of this learning process is encountering the wisdom of Christian communities in cultures and historical periods very different from our own. Such encounters deepen our sense of solidarity with the whole body of Christ, and also sharpen, humble, and enrich our ministry.”

Areas of Expertise

The history of Christian worship
Worship practices in various denominations
Biblical and systematic theology of worship
The role of music and the arts in worship
Consulting with churches on worship renewal

Speaking Topics

Sacraments: The Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper
The Theology and Practice of Baptism
Worship: The Glory of God and the Re-centering of Christian Worship
The Life-Changing Perspective of Trinitarian Worship
How Worship Connects with Every Other Ministry in Your Church
Sunday Morning Parenting: Helping Kids Worship
Vatican II, Willow Creek, and P&W: Why Worship Has Changed Over the Years
Praying the Psalms in Private and Public Worship
Ancient Future Worship: What We Learn About Worship from the Early Church
The Building Blocks of Worship Renewal
The Nuts and Bolts of Worship Planning
Catholics, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Orthodox, Methodists and Calvinists: Exploring the Denominational Spectrum of Worship Practices


Prayer Summit Session 1

Blog and Forum Contributions

Featured Publications

John Witvliet is the author of:
The Biblical Psalms in Christian Worship: A Brief Introduction and Guide to Resources (Eerdmans, 2007)
Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows into Christian Practice (Baker Academic, 2003)
Co-editor of Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004)
Proclaiming the Christmas Gospel: Ancient Sermons and Hymns for Contemporary Inspiration (Baker 2004)
The Worship Sourcebook (Faith Alive/Baker, 2004)
Dwelling with Philippians (Eerdmans, 2007)
At Your Baptism (Eerdmans, 2011)
Psalms for All Seasons (Faith Alive/Baker, 2012)
Co-author of Walking Where Jesus Walked: Worship in Fourth-Century Jerusalem (Eerdmans, 2010)
Editor of A Child Shall Lead: Children in Worship (Choristers Guild, 1999)