Why is it that we do not believe the same thing about worship? In my day, only one class on worship was required with other electives possible. I hope it is better but I doubt if more than two classes are required and the curriculums now hold out few opportunities to plug in electives. Could it be that some of the crisis we face in terms of what happens on Sunday morning is due to the lack of preparation given to the seminarians? By this I mean the lack of understanding of the theology of worship as well as the liturgical forms themselves. It seems too easy to be deceived into making worship a program with a purpose and an end like any other program and therefore manipulated toward the goals desired. It should be that the theology of worship supplied in seminary would raise the needed and legitimate questions for such a pursuit. Unfortunately, that is not quite true. Even when the hymnal is used and the traditional forms employed, this is not quite a full affirmation of the tie between what is believed and confessed and how it is practiced than it is a routine inherited and continued but left largely without much explanation.
Most of the worship books used are older (Luther Reed's classic volumes among many others) but the book put out to accompany Lutheran Worship came out late and is already out of print. Now, a full 16 years after the introduction of Lutheran Service Book we finally have a text to use to train those who will not only lead the Divine Service but also explain and teach it to those in the pew. It is way past time for us to have a solid Lutheran textbook introducing liturgical theology and way past time to expect at least as many on worship in the seminary as there are for preaching. This fruits of our shallow preparation have come back to roost in our Synod in the diversity of liturgical practice that too frequently have no real connection to what is believed or confessed. We have effectively devolved into a personal preference mentality in which the liturgy is merely one of many different but legitimate choices. On top of that, many have judged the hymnal more as a boundary to prevent additional ceremonies or liturgical practices instead of a minimal expectation of a Lutheran worshiper of a Divine Service in a Lutheran parish. So we have a maximum beyond which one is discouraged from going while at the same time refusing to let the hymnal be the minimal expectation of someone coming to worship in the LCMS.
Of course, the modeling of worship is vitally important and this is why the chapel is the beating heart of a seminary campus and one of the reasons the online cannot replace the residential training of our clergy. What our seminarians see on a daily basis in their gathering around the Word and Table of the Lord is itself an informal method of training and equipping them for their own task. As important as this is, it should not be expected to replace formal academic preparation. I received the same amount of training for counseling as I did for worship (required courses) when I was in seminary -- yet I am not a counselor or therapist and never will be but I am and will always be a presider and preacher (at least until death or retirement!). If our Synod is to make real headway here, we need to reconsider how we equip our pastors to lead God's people in the Divine Service as well as how we train them for the preaching task.