About the Author


EVALUATING WORSHIP:  Asking the Right Questions

It has been my observation that many congregations have a desire for worship renewal.  The hope for these congregations is worship renewal as a continuous process realized through a deeper understanding of worship based on biblical, theological, and historical foundations.  The reality is often crisis motivated change in order to encourage church growth, reach multi-generations, alleviate conflict, and remain relevant to the surrounding culture.  In an effort to respond to these crises, congregations have sought worship reform through style modifications, expanded song selection, multiple worship venues, and even worship leadership terminations.  Additional evidence is found that some congregations desire worship renewal through the practice of mimicking new worship practices based solely on the success of those practices in other congregations.

Until we begin asking worship questions based on the deeper issues, the tendency for congregations to focus on style and service mechanics will continue to consume the energy of worship planners and leaders.  This forum will serve as a place to join the conversation.  Your responses will help us all as we wade through the minefields of worship renewal.


Dr. David W. Manner serves as the Associate Executive Director for Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists with responsibilities in the areas of Worship, Leadership and Administration. Before joining the convention staff in 2000, David served for twenty years in music/worship ministry with congregations in Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma Baptist University; a Master of Church Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.

20 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve Holdaway on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm


    Nice site. Good challenges here. Thanks for keeping us honest.


  2. Posted by Tom Wideman on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Man we need to talk! I am right there with you in every one of your blogs. Thanks for your ministry.

  3. Posted by Someone Said — Clayfire Curator on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    […] the About page of Worship Evaluation, a blog by David Manner, Director of Worship and Administration for […]

  4. Posted by Dave Stark on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Dave, thanks for your blogs. I’m passing these thoughts on to others in the worship ministry.

  5. Posted by Randy Simmons on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Good for you….it’s long overdue, I haven’t been Baptist since 1977. Been disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Methodist, Presybyterian and back to Episcopal finally. Now I’m basically operating outside the box after ordination, Marrying, burying, visiting the sick etc. And while one doesn’t have to have vestements, the Eucharist every time you turn around, smells and bells….it would behoove us to let our parishoners experiance the Church year. Eastertide as well as Lent leading up to it do more for letting Christians experiance Jesus. I did attend our old Church on Easter Sunday First Bapt. and was pleased to learn that all during Lent while not calling it that they had been doing 40 days of Preperation study prior to the celebration of Easter.

    Thanks for thinking outside of the box and implementing change.

    Fr. Randy+

  6. Posted by Chuck Sullivan on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Great thoughts! While I do believe God gives gifts he wants us to use we have to know that we are innately implored by a inner calling not just doing something because we are good at it. If we do something because it’s “convenient” we may find something more CONVENIENT later on that grabs our attention. Calling mandates that we HAVE to do what we are doing. Thanks for sharing!

  7. […] this list. These were written by my friend and counterpart from the Kansas-Nebraska Convention, David Manner, a frequent contributor to this […]

  8. […] doing so in the near future? My friend and counterpart from the Kansa-Nebraska Convention, David Manner, helps us think through two methods of worship change. These are some great words to […]

  9. […] having a loving heart has to do with how we treat the existing structure as we lead through change. David Manner, my friend and counterpart from the Kansa-Nebraska Convention, describes two methods for worship […]

  10. […] By David W. Manner. The original post is here. […]

  11. Posted by Vernon Charter on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Your postings have refreshed and encouraged me again and again. Thanks for taking us back to our biblical, theological, and historical foundations!

    Vernon J. Charter D.W.S.

  12. Posted by David Manner on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks Vernon. I appreciate the encouragement from a fellow graduate of IWS.

  13. Posted by Tom on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    The article on how to get rid of your Worship Leader is ridiculous. Give some Biblical reasons for having one to begin with.

  14. Posted by David Manner on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Tom, I hope you realize the article is satire. Any ministry position could be inserted into the title. It is not about the justification of whether worship leaders are biblical. It is instead to point out how churches often treat and mistreat their leaders. Biblical justification for even having a worship leader would be a different article.

  15. […] Previously, I published an excellent list of 10 ways we can pray for our worship teams by Chuck Lawless. Today, I share another list by my friend, David Manner: […]

  16. Posted by Bob Kauflin on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Browsed through some of your posts, David. Grateful for your faithfulness to the gospel, God’s Word, your family, and pastoring people.

  17. Posted by David Manner on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for the encouragement, Bob.

  18. Posted by Grant Norsworthy on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    Hey David. Wouldn’t you agree that is is God, and ONLY God who can ultimately evaluate the quality of worship? At the fundamental level, to worship God is to show His worth. Right?

    Seems weird to me that people feel like they can evaluate worship on God’s behalf.

    If we could leave it to God to evaluate what He truly finds worshipful, perhaps we could have more effective conversations about our Christian gatherings, liturgy and music without evoking the word “worship” that MUST mean much, much more. Romans 12:1

  19. Posted by David Manner on 04.01.10 at 2:18 pm

    I do agree with that statement, Grant. We always default to style when the evaluative standards are ours. But when the evaluation is based on biblical, theological and even doctrinal content then He is actually doing the evaluating. That is one of the reasons we need more scripture, prayer and the Lord’s Table in our worship services. Instead, we have minimized those evaluative foundations. They are Kairos elements that evaluate our worship for us instead of our own shallow thumbs up or down evaluations based on likes or dislikes.

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