Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of reading through Bob Kauflin’s “Worship Matters.” Bob is the director of worship development for Sovereign Grace Ministries. Bob sent me a review copy of this book (and some other bloggers) so I want to first thank him for the book and the personal note in the front.
The first intriguing thing to me about this book was the title, “Worship Matters.” I say this because it does, worship is the root of Christian practice and is not just something that is done once a week. Bob handles the subject with the amount of gentle knowledge that one can only do after years involved leading worship and serving as a Pastor.
Bob does a few things which I appreciate.
1. He promotes that worship leaders must have an understanding of doctrine, because they are increasingly just as influential as Pastors. Possibly the best explanation of the idea of “right doctrine” I have ever heard was his explanation of someone meeting his son, but knowing all of the wrong things about him (page 27).
2. The definition of a worship leader:
A faithful worship leader
the greatness of God in Jesus Christ
through the power of the Holy Spirit
by skillfully combing God’s Word with music,
thereby motivating the gathered church
to proclaim the gospel,
to cherish God’s presence
and to live for God’s glory.
It is inside this definition that Bob structures half of the book, giving each line it’s own chapter. This method allowed him to break apart an immense amount of writing into manageable chunks. It inside of this structure that Kauflin teaches about proper song selection, the importance of lyrics, the presence of the life and acts of Jesus in our songs, how our meetings should point us towards an eschatological expectation of heaven and how musicians need to have a proper view that it is not our playing that brings in God-that He is already there and we are just leading people in response to him.
In the second half of the book, Kauflin brings up several tensions that worship leaders often encounter (such as head and heart, vertical and horizontal, planned and spontaneous..etc). Through this, the reader learns about how their usually need these healthy tensions in order to keep everything working properly. Inside of these section, many of the “hard” issues about leading worship are brought up, and we are shown how to carefully navigate through them, all the while bringing God the glory.
4. The Trinity
Throughout the book, Bob goes to lengths to teach us how to worship the Triune God-that we worship the Father through Jesus Christ and it is His Spirit that is with us at every moment. This was a breath of fresh air.
You may wonder why I have not gone into more specific parts of the book, but it is simply to big!!! This is a large amount of information, that is very easily digested. It is easily seen that Bob Kauflin has poured his life into this book and genuinely seeks to teach the reader everything he knows. My only negative reaction to the book was it’s purposed direction to the specific theological views that Sovereign Grace seems to have (a Reformed Soteriology), almost everyone quoted was part of this thought process and for the most part are contemporary thinkers. But part of being an “ecumenical” person is learning that there is truth inside of all of the Church.
This was a great book, and Bob showed the heart that a worship leader must have. If you are even mildly interested in Christian Worship you need to read this. I really liked that the last chapter was directed at Pastors, and I find that information to be helpful as well. As a whole I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is leading corporate worship.