Vertical Habits – resources for worship

‘Praise / I Love You’ by Kyle Ragsdale

Do you want a great resource for exploring the basic building blocks of communication in Worship?  The Vertical Habits is an approach to talking about worship that the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has been developing for a number of years.  In 2006 Redeemer Presbyterian Church-indy and Cardiphonia were asked to develop some visual arts resources to support the program. Sojourn Church in Louisville, KY also participated in this project.

Here is a great introduction to Vertical Habits from Betty Grit, Program Manager at CICW – (link to RW article)

HERE is a handout for teaching this in your church. HERE is a page with all of the Vertical Habits links on CICW

HERE is a link to a John Witvliet article @ The Banner on using Vertical Habits with children.

HERE is the link to the CICW where arts resources have been posted for the Vertical Habits Program.

— (Excerpt) —

Vertical Habits: Worship and Our Faith Vocabulary

Faithful speech is central to the Christian life. God is not just interested in having us contemplate or appease him. God is interested in the dynamics of life together, shaped by good communication. Just as words form our habits in relationships with other people, the words of worship can form the habits of our relationship with God and the way we live out our faith. Consider these eight parallels:

Relational Words / Worship Words

I love You. / Praise
I’m sorry. / Confession
Why? / Lament
I’m listening. / Illumination
Help. / Supplication or Petition
Thank you. / Thanksgiving
Here I Stand / Creed
What can I do? / Service
Bless you. / Blessing


A Video of Calvin Grant Recipients discussing the Vertical Habits

Vertical Habits Paintings: (LINK to download Hi-Res)
These were painted on board and used both in worship services as well as reinforcement for good communication habits in our children’s worship rooms.

*Paintings by Kyle Ragsdale

Vertical Habits Icons: (LINK to download Hi-Res)
We used these icons in our worship guide, in print publications, and as a form of the game “memory.”
Here is a brief pamphlet written to guide children through a worship service with these icons – PDF

*Icons created by Matt Hale

Music Resources – for the Vertical Habits Program.


5 thoughts on “Vertical Habits – resources for worship

Add yours

  1. Thanks for this resource, it is really cool (sorry couldn’t think of a better adjective, it is early on the west coast). I like that it is simple and relatively easy to understand. I guess this is the appeal in the children aspect that it is something they can grasp and engage with.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑