John D. Witvliet

John Witvliet


  • PhD, Theology/Liturgical Studies, University of Notre Dame, 1997
  • MA, Master of Arts in Liturgical Studies, University of Notre Dame, 1995
  • MMus., Master of Music in Choral Music, University of Illinois, 1993
  • MTS, Master of Theological Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary, 1992
  • BA, Music/Vocal Performance, Calvin College, 1990


John D. Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of worship, theology, & congregational and ministry studies at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. His responsibilities include oversight of the Institute's practical and scholarly programs, and teaching courses at both the college and seminary.

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, choral music and consulting with churches on worship renewal.

A graduate of Calvin College, Dr. Witvliet holds graduate degrees in theology from Calvin Theological Seminary, in music from the University of Illinois, and the Ph.D. in liturgical studies and theology from the University of Notre Dame.

He 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-author of Proclaiming the Christmas Gospel: Ancient Sermons and Hymns for Contemporary Christian Inspiration (Baker, 2004), and co-editor of The Worship Sourcebook (Faith Alive Christian Resources, Baker Books, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2004), and Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004), Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Christian Worship (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2011), and the children’s books At Your Baptism (Eerdmans, 2011), En la mesa de Dios/At God's Table (Calvin College Press, 2017), En la escuela de los Salmos/At Psalms School (GIA Publications, 2019).

Dr. Witvliet serves as editor for three series of books—the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies Series (Eerdmans), Vital Worship, Healthy Congregations (Alban Institute), Church at Worship (Eerdmans)—as well as co-editor, with Pearl Shangkuan, of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Choral Music Series (GIA). He is also the editor of A Child Shall Lead: Children in Worship (Choristers Guild, 1999).

His articles have appeared in Studia Liturgica, Worship, Reformed Worship, Reformed Liturgy and Music, Assembly, The Hymn, The Chorister, Congregations, The Choral Journal, The American Organist, Liturgical Ministry, Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie, The Complete Library of Christian Worship, The Banner, and Books and Culture. He has also contributed to several dictionaries, including Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart; Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Music; Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary; Oxford Dictionary of Evangelical Theology, and Zondervan Dictionary of Christian Spirituality.

He also served as an adjunct professor of worship at Northern Baptist Seminary and Ontario Theological Seminary; the past president of the board of directors for The Choristers Guild; the music director of churches in Michigan and Indiana; research associate at Notre Dame's Center for Pastoral Liturgy; and guest lecturer at worship conferences in several states and provinces.

John is available on a limited basis for workshops and training sessions on the history, theology, and practice of worship.

Selected Teaching Experience

Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 1997-present

Calvin College Music Department: 

  • Professor, 2007-present
  • Associate Professor, 2002-2007
  • Assistant Professor of Music, 1997-2002

Calvin Theological Seminary:

  • Associate Professor of Worship, 2004-present
  • Adjunct Professor of Worship, 1997-2004

Calvin College Religion Department: 

  • Adjunct Professor, 1997-present

Ministry Experience

  • Ordained as Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2004
  • Dean of the Chapel, Calvin College, 2001-2003
  • Director of Music and Worship, South Bend Christian Reformed Church, South Bend, Indiana, 1993-1996
  • Graduate Assistant, Center for Pastoral Liturgy, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1994-1997
  • Music Director, Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1989-1992
  • Music Director, First Jenison Christian Reformed Church, Jenison, Michigan, 1986-1989, 1991-1992
  • Christian Camps for Inner-City Youth—Camp Tall Turf, Summer Staff, 1986-1989

Selected Publications

In the news

At God's Table

New children's book features the Lord's Supper.

Read more


  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department:

  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department: