Individual Entry

Review: Worship Matters (5/5 stars)

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God is a book written primarily for those who lead music within a church setting. The goal of the book is to give guiding prinicples and practical advice to help the music leader see the essence of what their ministry is about and do that within whatever church context they find themselves. It is available from Westminter Bookstore and Amazon.

For the worship leader: This book is a must read. I can think of no circumstance a worship leader may find himself in which he should not read this book. It is the best on the topic of which I am aware, combining into one well written, heart-shepherding book all of the good things that before you would have had to read a dozen separate books to find. The book is both practical and theological, realistic and idealistic. It is God-centered, God-exalting and man-minimizing, while realizing that man must play a role. I have only rarely seen a book that so skillfully and thoughtfully combines rich doctrine and practical advice.

For the band member: Must read. The book is not only about how to lead those who perform, but about what the goal of the music portion of the worship service must be. The book will help you evaluate and redirect your heart in what you may have grown comfortable with. Maybe you

For the pastor/elder: Must read. Know how to encourage, direct, and come alongside your worship leader. I would recommend that the worship leader, band, and pastor(s) read this book together. The book so accurately describes the Biblical vision for worship that all who are involved in how a Sunday service, smallgroup gathering, or other meeting unfold should do so in light of the thoughtful, biblically informed direction Bob Kauflin lays out. There is even a chapter specifically for non-music-oriented pastors.

For the church member: Should read. I do not lead worship; I can't even sing on pitch, but what I was gained from the book made an immediate and palpable difference in the entirety of my worship (singing, participating in the Lord's Supper, listening to the sermon, and interacting with others) on Sunday. There are certainly other books that can benefit you in this regard, but this book is certainly one that can benefit all members of the body of Christ. Wayne Grudem recommends the book with the following words, "Worship Matters is an outstanding book borth for those who lead worship and also for every Christian who wants to worship God more fully. The book is biblical, practical, interesting, wise and thorough in its treatment of the topic."

The 260 pages of Worship Matters is laid out in a very convenient manner: Each of the 32 chapters are generally 4-7 pages in length, focus on a single topic, and can easily be read in a single sitting, even for slow readers. It reads much like a devotional and could easily be read in one month using only 10-15 minutes per day.

The book is broken into four parts:

Part 1: The Leader - Focusing on what kind of man the worship leader must be, touching on the heart, mind (doctrine), hands (practice & skill), and life.

Part 2: The Task. Each chapter takes a phrase from Kauflin's definition of a worship leader to define his task:

A faithful worship leader
magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ
through the power of the Holy Spirit
by skillfully combining God's Word with music,
thereby motivating the gathered church
to proclaim the gospel,

to cherish God's presence
and to live for God's glory.

Part 3: Healthy Tensions - Bob identifies that many of the debates that surround music in churches tend to polarize people and points out that as a response to incorrect emphasis placed on one aspect of worship, that aspect may be neglected and too much weight given to the other extreme. We should rather see the wisdom in each of the two poles and using Scripture as a guide find ourselves in a healthy tension between them not as a response. The poles discussed, each in a chapter are:

  • God's transendence and immanence
  • Head and Head
  • Internal and External
  • Vertical and Horizontal
  • Planned and Spontaneous
  • Rooted and Relevant
  • Skilled and Authentic
  • For the Church and For Unbelievers
  • Event and Everyday

Part 4: Right Relationships - Lays out some biblical guidelines and practical advice for how the various groups of people and the worship leader can interact in the most edifying, God-glorifying way possible. Groups addressed are people in general, the church, the worship team, and the pastor. The book finishes with a chapter written specifically for the pastor(s) of the church.

I cannot sum up my thoughts any better than D.A. Carson did in his endorsement: "Here is a rare book: a practical treatment of corporate worship that nevertheless reflects deep theological commitments. One may disagree here and there with some of the judgments, but it is demonstrably unfair to imagine that Bob Kauflin has not through about these matters deeply." Bob's life and ministry at sovereign grace have demonstrated that he is a worship leader and pastor from whom we want to learn. C.J. Mahaney writes, "I know of no man more qualified to write this book than Bob. And I know of no more important, useful work for those who would lead God's people than Worship Matters." I agree.

Bob Kauflin blogs regularly at Worship God Live and other Sovereign Grace Music cds are great examples of the music he writes and leads at Covenant Life Church. The author will be hosting a conference called WorshipGod08 July 30-August 2, 2008.

thank you for the review. i was excited for the book but didnt even know it was for sale yet. i’m going to buy it today.
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