Worship

This is my second time through this book, the first time I breezed through, this time I want to get at what he wants to get at.

Worship matters. It matters to God because he is the one ultimately worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshiping God is the reason for which we were created. And it matters to every worship leader, because we have no greater privilege than leading others to encounter the greatness of God. That's why it's so important to think carefully about what we do and why we do it.

The first chapter is about how Kauflin started his career, and about a really dry spot he went through. Frustrated and tired, he was pointed again at the cross (a good thing.)

What I hope to get from this book HOW worship matters, as well as WHY worship matters.

There is a line that Sunday morning groups need to grapple with, that many don't: what is the difference between being in a performance group, and being in a group that deliberately leads a congregation in corporate praise?

That's not a matter of how to choose songs, that's a matter of leadership technique.

Worship by the Book” was written by Mark Ashton, Kent Hughes, and Timothy Keller and edited by D.A.Carson.

 

'What is at stake is authenticity. . . . Sooner or later Christians tire of public meetings that are profoundly inauthentic, regardless of how well (or poorly) arranged, directed, performed. We long to meet, corporately, with the living and majestic God and to offer him the praise that is his due.'---D. A. Carson

 

Each of the authors bring a different perspective of worship to the book, offering a variety of emphasis; their years of ministry give this book a unique insight of corporate worship.

 

“Worship by the Book” primarily aims at pastor, seminary students, and other church leaders and offers a theology of worship that comes from Scripture and points directly at Christ.

 

As more and more Christians seek deeper worship and begin to turn their backs on anemic worship services and Sunday morning concerts that invite the audience to sing along, “Worship by the Book” brings us back to the purpose (and object) of corporate worship.

 

This book sets itself apart from other “theology of worship” books because of the variety of backgrounds of the authors. One brings liturgy to the table, another a more modern method. But they all point to Jesus.

 

Consistently, the book illustrates a method of worship, along with an explanation about why it points to Jesus.

 

I'm not a pastor, worship leader or seminary student. But for years I longed for deep and meaningful worship. This book helped me to identify why the congregation I'm currently in makes my soul, along with my mouth sing!

The most profound, yet supremely simple concept:  Q) what is the most important instrument of worship? A) The congregation.

And the verdict is: Read this book if you lead worship, if you oversee somebody who leads worship, if you sit under a worship leader. Read this book if you want to know why worship works, or why it doesn't.

 

Buy this book for your worship leaders and pastors. It would make a great gift, especially if it came with a note that said, “this book explains why I love the way our church worships.”

I'm reading "A More Profound Alleluia" and it's worth the read. I have a hard copy somewhere, but bought the Kindle version, plus another to loan out.

This particular volume highlights arguably the most important connections that need to be made for worship to be well grounded - namely, the connections between our liturgical actions and our understanding of the God we worship. After all, as D. A. Carson has observed, "worship" is a transitive verb.'

What is important is not that we worship, but rather that we worship God. For all our talk about "grounding worship in theology,"most Christians (and even Christian leaders) actually spend very little energy working at it. By and large, most of us accept ideas about God, salvation, and the church that are in the cultural air we breathe, and we worship in ways that make us most comfortable.

The distinction between THAT we worship and WHO we worship reminded me of the words of Calvin - the human heart is an idol factory.

What/who do we worship? It's not a matter of whether or not we worship, it's whether we have God as the object of our worship.

How does our worship point to God? I know that our contemporary services don't leave room for "liturgy" - although we certainly have an "order of worship." I had been attending a Lutheran Church and I fell into the liturgy. Every single Sunday, I got the body and blood of Christ, every single Sunday, I said the Lord's Prayer with fellow believers all over the world. Every single Sunday I recited the "Apostles' Creed" with spiritual siblings all over the planet.

There is a solemnity - profundity - in these things that I miss. I love this new church, but I miss the profundity.

The phrase from the quote - "we worship in ways that make us most comfortable,"

we have now been trained to see "7-11" as the norm. Fluff, focus on self. Band "solos." The rape of hymns. I don't know how to get back to where this church was 6 months ago when I first went there. I don't know if I can, or should. I'm tired of feeling like I've been led to a church to be the sand in their eye and I don't want to do that or be that here!

4 Comments

I'm not writing this to slam the church, because I really, really like it. Rather, I want to 1) rant a bit to get it out of my system and 2) get my thoughts in order before I talk to the pastor.

Last spring I visited a new church (new to me, but new...to everybody; it was a new church plant and I got a flier in the mail)

The preaching was saturated with the Gospel and I was so hungry for that (and still am, on a daily basis)

The singing part of the service was WONDERFUL; full of rich and deep theology, respectful of the writers of the old hymns and completely focused upward. I could leave behind the horizontal and be pulled into the vertical.

One thing happened and I almost didn't go back...but I did go back - and it was equal parts sermon and singing that drew me back.

I spent most of my summer out of town, and I went back to this church in the late summer, early fall. My first time back, was the last day for the (now former) music minister.

Since then, my haven for worship has steadily changed. The preaching is still some of the most Gospel saturated that I have EVER heard.

On the singing...three things have been added, that add up to one huge negative (for me)

1) the insertion of man-centered band playing both at the beginning and middle of a worship song. No matter how theologically rich a song is, if you stop singing in the middle, because the band puts the focus on...well...the band....the focus is now OFF God.

2) More 7-11, less conscience worship. 7-11 singing is the equivalent of the "repetitive prayers" that Jesus said belong to the pagans

3) The utter disrespect for the great people of God whose hymns and songs reflect the pain and faith in their lives, but raping them with the insertion of 7-11 in the middle.

I detest the thievery of old and beautiful hymns by a crop of youngsters to steal the hymns, add a few 7-11 choruses in the middle and slap their own name on them.

4) (and this is a "me thing") when you spend 20 minutes focusing my mind and soul upward toward heaven in worship, don't pull me back into the horizontal with a 10 minute "meet and greet" toward the end of it.

look up, look up, look up...and now for something completely different!

If you want to do the "meet and greet" - do your band and 7-11 early (one or two songs, please) THEN do the meet and greet early, THEN let's do business with God.

I love the preaching, but if the music keeps slipping toward K-FLUFF, I'll reevaluate.