Book: Choosing Contemporary Music: Seasonal, Topical, Lectionary Indexes

Compiled by Terri Bocklund and Rob Glover. Minneapolis: Augsburg/ Fortress, 2000. 263 pp. $29.95. ISBN 0-8066-3874-5. 1-800-328-4648.

This book is just what you’ve been waiting for. The church is swimming—drowning?—in new music written for worship. We can’t keep up, let alone organize, evaluate, and learn all the new songs coming our way.

So Bocklund and Glover have come to the rescue. Using a list of about forty contemporary hymnals, they’ve compiled some very helpful indexes—lectionary, scriptural, seasonal, and topical—to help you choose contemporary music. Worship planners who are working with a worship theme and need to find contemporary music suggestions to integrate into the service will find this book a dream come true.

  • Pros: Beside the useful and thorough indexes, I like this resource because it puts the Word at the center of worship. Inherent in using this resource is the idea that worship planners start with a theme—a text. That’s central. This resource enables us to illuminate God’s Word in a thoughtful way, putting the issue of the style of the song secondary.
  • Cons: Because of the rapid pace of change in contemporary hymnody, I worry that this book will be out of touch too soon. Also, it was hard to recognize the names of the pieces by title only—and many of us don’t have the budget to buy all forty books that the text refers to.

But aside from these minor squabbles, this resource is nearly perfect and very needed.

Randall D. Engle (randyengle@aol.com) is pastor of North Hills Christian Reformed Church, Troy, Michigan.