Edited by Tim A. Dearborn and Scott Coil. Baker Books, 2004. 206 pp. $16.99.
Whether you are a worship planner or leader, or simply have a desire to participate more fully in corporate worship, this helpful collection of previously published articles will raise important questions and offer a path for exploring worship today.
The authors are experts from a number of disciplines, including theology, music, and history. The article “What Do We Mean By ‘Christian Worship’?,” one of two by the late James F. White, opens the book and sets the stage for discussion. Lay worship leaders will find his section on key words used in worship instructive. In the final chapter, Frank Burch Brown provides a list of twelve guidelines to develop healthy musical and artistic taste in worship. These are just two examples of practical material that guide the reader into thinking more fully about how and why we worship.
Consider reading this book together as part of worship planning meetings. When discussed at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship during weekly staff meetings, the book provoked lively discussion on such issues as the role of culture (ch. 8, “Moshing for Jesus”) and the definition of worship as an art (ch. 10, “New Approaches to Worship”). It also inspired appreciation for such terms as “curators of worship” and “architects of worship.”
While embracing the range of perspectives on what constitutes worship, Worship underscores that we must work from a common ground: the primary elements of worship are those that express and enact our relationship with the triune God.