Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: Worship Matters

Anyone involved in the music ministry of a church, non-musical pastors included, need to read Bob Kauflin's Worship Matters. Its content is broad, ranging from grand visions like the theology behind worship to nitty-gritty details of music team management and implementation of worship techniques (e.g. useful chord progressions for improvisation). Each topic is covered well, but Kauflin does a good job pointing to other resources for anyone interested in studying these sweeping concepts more deeply. What makes this book so helpful is that it strives to point your heart in the right direction in all worship decisions to make.
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. [p 19]
And he does think carefully. Your theology is probably different than Bob Kauflin's, but he doesn't impose his differences on you. Instead, he equips you to make wise decisions out of your theological differences that you may worship God in faith with a clear conscience.

The book is split into a few sections. The first part defines worship. He does very well, but it seems as though he's inconsistent with his definitions and terminology through the book. A person might feel guilty for using the term 'worship leader' after initially thinking it through, but then Kauflin decides to use that term throughout. After bolstering our theological understanding of worship, the second part of the book explores the phrases that defines 'worship leader':
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. [p 55]
The final portion of the book details the ins and outs of music team management, and it can be beneficial to anyone calling themselves a worship leader, worship planner, music director, music minister (or again, pastor). Even general music team members might benefit from reading this part, because then everyone can be held accountable to having an appropriate heart about music ministry decisions. If a vocalist is asked to step down from the ministry, it doesn't necessarily mean the worship leader feels threatened by the talent of the vocalist (among other potential objections). So if the whole music team has the same understanding of expectations and potential logistical changes, it may mitigate hurt feeling when a hard decision is made. Kauflin says, "being on the music team is an opportunity to serve, not a right to protect."

I highly recommend this book. And if you're a pastor, please take the time to read it. At the very least, read the last chapter, which was written specifically to pastors.

Worship isn't a gig. It's the overflow of a life devoted to the glory of Jesus Christ. [p 230]

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