Q&A with the Rev. Sean Daenzer

Daenzer is director of LCMS Worship and the primary organizer behind the 2024 Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music.

Rev. Sean Daenzer

The Rev. Sean Daenzer serves as director of LCMS Worship and chaplain of the LCMS International Center. He is also the primary organizer behind the upcoming 2024 Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music, set for July 9–12 in Seward, Neb., under the theme “Songs of Deliverance: Psalms in the Great Congregation.”

For the first time in seven years, the Synod will hold a national worship conference. Why is it important for pastors, musicians and worship leaders to gather in this way?

A: As a church, we gather on Sunday morning for the Divine Service. We hear the Lord’s Word, receive His forgiveness and are strengthened in the faith for all of daily life and death as well. Our mission is to bring people into this community — this life of Christ that we receive and join together in echoing back to Him. So it’s essential that we attend to this work by helping our pastors, musicians and other leaders grow in their skills and hone their crafts.

Why did you choose the Book of Psalms as the focus of this year’s gathering?

A: The psalms come straight out of Scripture. They are the Lord’s own hymnbook. Musicians have the joyous task of setting the psalter’s texts to music, and the institute will look at many ways to do that. But I think it is also a great opportunity for pastors, who probably use the psalms most in their individual member care, to take up the psalter in the context of worship and to consider preaching on the psalms. The psalms are common and beloved ground for all Christians. They are the glue that holds our orders of service together and the ideal subject to bring us together too.

What do you most desire for attendees to take from the institute?

A: Above all, I want them to be inspired in their essential tasks to preach the Word of God, proclaim it through song and lead their congregations in singing it. Second, I want them to have a chance to stretch their comfort zones, learn something new and hear from experts. Third, I want them to know they aren’t alone. Musicians, in particular, don’t always have the networks that pastors do, and they need opportunities like these to encourage one another. This is also an opportunity for pastors and musicians to strengthen their mutual bonds, be reminded of their common mission, and see how they can complement and support one another.

Could you summarize what your position entails?

A: LCMS Worship produces resources and provides support for what is happening in congregations. People are probably most familiar with “LetUsPray,” our prayers of the church, which is one way to help our Synod stay united. We are glad to answer questions and offer guidance for those who seek it. We also plan events — such as this institute — to help all involved in making worship excellent grow in that task.

What is “worship”?

A: It’s not an easy term to define, is it? Sometimes it’s our catch-all word for what happens on Sunday morning. Sometimes it means simple adoration. But for Lutherans, it is the Lord’s giving of His gifts to us in His Word, the forgiveness of sins and the Lord’s Supper, and our responding to Him in joy and thanksgiving as we confess what He has done for us. That’s why Colossians 3 is such a key passage. Yes, the pastor is the preacher. But all of us have a task to join in that song and to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly as we admonish and teach one another, with thankfulness in our hearts, through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16).

Cheryl Magness

Managing editor of Reporter and staff writer for LCMS Communications.

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