What Are You Reading About Worship?

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What are you reading about worship?  Are you reading about worship is probably the more penetrating question.  The words of Eric Hoffer are profound as congregations consider worship renewal and potential change that might be required for that renewal.  Hoffer stated, “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”[1]  When those who lead worship stop learning, they stop leading.  Leaders who lead solely on what they know instead of seeking insights and wisdom from what others know are coasting.  It is much easier to coast…but is it what we are called to do?  A lifelong learner is one who understands that it is never too soon or too late to learn.  So, what are you reading about worship? 

Below is a short list of worship renewal must-reads.  For additional resources please open the Worship Evaluation Reading List link above.  Your responses to this post with additional resources will also help us all. 

 

Berglund, Brad, Reinventing Sunday:  Breakthrough Ideas for Transforming Worship (Valley Forge: Judson, 2001).  “One of the ways to develop creativity is to experience creativity.  Worship leaders who do not experience worship outside their own environment are limited to their own designs, traditions, and personal church experience.”

Best, Harold M., Unceasing Worship:  Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003).  “But everything that worship is on the human side is an outpouring of what it means to be created in the image of God.  Worship, in this initial and final sense, is human outpouring to the outpouring of lordship.  Thus, if our theology of God and our theology of imago Dei are correct, our theology of worship will likewise be correct, and we can link continuous outpouring to continuous worship.”   

Byars, Ronald P., The Future of Protestant Worship:  Beyond the Worship Wars (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002).  “The church can exist without denominational bureaucracies, without hierarchies, without buildings, without public approval, and even without degrees granted and official screenings of its future officers, but it cannot exist without worship.”

Carson, Timothy L., Transforming Worship (St. Louis: Chalice, 2003).  “Worship wars may actually be about worship; people do have legitimate concerns and convictions about the way people worship their God.  Just as often, however, these skirmishes reflect a more generalized struggle for power.”

Cherry, Constance M., The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010).  Note:  I have this book ordered and have only read excerpts.  However, anything written by Constance Cherry is a valuable resource.

Clark, Paul B., Jr., Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace: Worship Renewal through Congregational Singing (Nashville: CrossBooks, 2010).  “Congregational song reflects the communal nature of our worship and our oneness in Christ.  The act of such singing serves to sensitize us to the ministry needs and concerns of those in our midst as well as to others for whom we as congregation need to play our role as a royal priesthood; a bridge between God’s truth and hard realities of life.”

Doran, Carol and Thomas H. Troeger, Trouble At the Table:  Gathering the Tribes for Worship (Nashville: Abingdon, 1992).  “The patterns that we encounter in revitalizing worship are symptomatic of a culture that honors feeling more than belief and commitment.”

Frame, John M., Worship in Spirit and Truth:  A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practices of Biblical Worship (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1996).  “When we substitute human ideas (whether past traditions or contemporary notions) for God’s word, the result is bondage to human wisdom.  God’s yoke, though binding, is much easier and lighter.”

Kidd, Reggie M., With One Voice:  Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005).  “Authentic Christian faith is not merely believed.  Nor is it merely acted upon.  It is sung – with utter joy sometimes, in uncontrollable tears sometimes, but it is sung.”

Nouwen, Henri J.M., With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1994).  “Communion makes us look at each other and speak to each other, not about the latest news, but about him who walked with us.  We discover each other as people who belong together because each of us now belongs to him.”

Van Dyk, Leanne, Ed., A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2005).  “Worship is, for Christians, both ‘primary school’ and ‘graduate school’ – a place where we are always learning the basics of how to be in true relationship to God and yet also reaching for the advanced skills we need for obedient and faithful Christian lives.”

Webber, Robert E., Ancient-Future Worship:  Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008).  “One crisis of Scripture is that we stand over the Bible and read God’s narrative from the outside instead of standing within the narrative and reading Scripture as an insider.”

Witvliet, John D., Worship Seeking Understanding:  Windows into Christian Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003).  “For comfortable North American worshipers and worship leaders today, the great temptation is to slip into expressions of petition, thanksgiving, and proclamation that are nearly exclusively focused on the present moment.  Perhaps this is an inevitable result of lives and churches that are content with the status quo.”

York, Terry W., and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation:  Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005).  “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas.  If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”

 


[1] Hoffer, Eric, Reflections on the Human Condition (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), 32.

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