Worship design should always fit into the larger theological aims of a Church. To this end, Worship Pastor Drew Causey offers 5 resources on worship design to help to start the conversation and move your church in the right direction.
I received a phone call from a long-time friend recently; he called to talk about worship design in his current church setting, and mentioned that there was a huge disconnect between the members of their worship team and the larger aims and theological anchors that shape what happens on Sundays in their church. Having good resources to do that is critical. Here are five resources I recommend for getting this conversation headed in the right direction:
1) The Worship Architect (Constance Cherry)
The structure of your weekly service has great significance, and Cherry explores the four basic movements we find in Christian worship throughout the history of the church: gathering, Word, Table, and sending. Her book is incredibly organized, and holds together the pragmatic aspects of design with the theological groundings needed to guide the process. This is worship design 101; you should have this on your shelf.
2) Worship and the Reality of God (John Jefferson Davis)
The centerpiece of Christian worship is the presence of the Triune God in our midst as we gather. Davis’ book centers on the reorientation of our perspective on worship around the real presence of Christ, and discusses this truth particularly well in light of the Eucharist. A great resource for anchoring the pragmatism of modern worship in a more biblical ontology.
3) A Royal Waste of Time: The Splendor of Worshipping God and Being the Church for the World (Marva Dawn)
I love reading Marva Dawn, if for anything, for her honesty. As the title implies, this book is about the true inefficiency of worship, community, and cultural presence as the people of God. She covers a number of topics, including Christ’s centrality in the worship of the church, worship in postmodern culture, and worship as a formative practice, both for the individual and the community. It also is set up in 31-short-chapter structure, which gives it a great group-reading plan.
4) Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace (James B. Torrance)
Worship takes place within the context of the Triune community: “Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.” This book examines the relationship of the Trinity and how that should shape our worship, and includes sections on baptism, Eucharist, and the role of gender and sexuality in relationship to the Trinity. The chapter on Trinitarian vs. Unitarian worship alone is a must read.
5) Ancient-Future Time (Robert E. Webber)
Honestly, there are a number of books by Webber that could be on this list (Ancient-Future Worship, Worship is a Verb) ; I added this one because of its accessibility and its focus on the Christian Year. Webber encapsulated the importance of both remembering and enacting the Story of God in worship through this intentional spiritual rhythm. This book provides great charts, prayers, and resources for churches looking to wade deeper into these liturgical practices.
Be heard: what books would you add to a list of resources for worship design? Post your picks in the comments section.