Book: Changing Your Tune: The Musician's Handbook for Creating Contemporary Worship

Lynn Hurst. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999. 1-800-3320. 143 pp. $12.00.

Lynn Hurst is a classically trained organist who was drawn into leadership at a contemporary worship service, and over thirteen years gradually developed an entirely new set of skills. Her expertise (in music, yes, but in other areas too) is on display in this “how-to” manual. Chapters deal with practical topics for creating “contemporary worship” such as worship space design, sound and projection systems, music licenses, advertising, worship team rehearsal, budgeting, and the like. Each chapter ends with a checklist of questions to consider and a helpful list of resources. The strength of this book lies in the concrete answers to “how” questions. But I wished for deeper thought about the “why” questions. For example, a congregational evaluation form in the back of the book asks over and over “Did you like . . . ” (the sermon, the music, the drama, etc.) It made me wonder if “liking” is our goal when we design any worship service, contemporary or otherwise.

Ron Rienstra is associate professor of preaching and worship arts at Western Theological Seminary and co-author of Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry (Baker Academic, 2009).