Resource: Playing Together as a Worship Band

Maranatha! Praise Band with Angela Dean and Bobby Brock. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. $27.99.

Like many resources for churches doing “contemporary worship,” this collection (a book plus a VHS video or a DVD) focuses primarily on the technical aspects of leading a congregation with guitars, drums, mics, monitor speakers, and so on. It offers genuinely helpful tips on the roles of each member of the worship band (including sound and light technicians), suggestions for making the most of rehearsals, and ways to help the music serve the purposes of worship. However, while correctly acknowledging up front that worship isn’t about performance, the materials themselves are unfortunately infected with that language (the band is on the “stage,” playing a “musical set,” and so on). And while the section on planning a worship service (“Putting It All Together”) offers some good advice, the liturgical range is relatively narrow—most of the exemplary services are variations on the “sing-preach-sing” service so commonly practiced among North American evangelicals.

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).