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Book: The Praise Book: a Worship Guide for Youth Groups

Dale Dieleman, ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1985, 92 pp., $9.95.

Young people today need to do more than learn how to worship: they need to gain confidence and experience in leading worship. The Praise Book, an excellent resource for pastors and youth leaders, suggests meaningful and creative ways of involving youth groups in worship.

Because the ideas in the book are so versatile, they will appeal to a wide audience. Resources include seasonal celebrations, litanies, liturgies, dramatic readings, liturgical dances, commissionings, dramas, and complete worship outlines. All of these can be adapted to the traditional worship setting—congregations who do not appreciate creativity and new avenues of worship—as well as to the progressive worship setting—congregations that enjoy being challenged liturgically through drama and the arts.

These resources are supported and explained by a series of articles on worship by experts such as Richard Avery, George Ralph and Theodore Jennings, and Dielman himself. The articles provide background on the why and how of worship and help the reader understand that the ideas and resources in the book are not just unrelated parcels of creativity thrown into a book to make a buck. The concepts introduced by these authors will enable the youth director not only to direct worship but also to teach young people what worship is all about.

Unlike many similar resources on the market, The Praise Book does not treat Scripture or current issues simplistically. This book offers resources that deal with the heavy issues such as world hunger, poverty, social values, and cross-cultural relationships, along with statements of personal piety and discipleship.

The only criticism I have of this book is its use of difficult and sometimes outdated language. The youth leader may want to rewrite—perhaps with the help of the young people involved—the language in many of these resources, making it more youthful and current.

Basically I found The Praise Book to be a very sensitive and helpful resource for planning youth worship. It is well titled.