Worship Matters

(1 customer review)


By: Kauflin, Bob


ISBN: 9781581348248

7 in stock

Nothing is more essential than knowing how to worship the God who created us. This book focuses readers on the essentials of God-honoring worship, combining biblical foundations with practical application in a way that works in the real world. The author, a pastor and noted songwriter, skillfully instructs pastors, musicians, and church leaders so that they can root their congregational worship in unchanging scriptural principles, not divisive cultural trends. Bob Kauflin covers a variety of topics such as the devastating effects of worshiping the wrong things, how to base our worship on God’s self-revelation rather than our assumptions, the fuel of worship, the community of worship, and the ways that eternity’s worship should affect our earthly worship.

Appropriate for Christians from varied backgrounds and for various denominations, this book will bring a vital perspective to what readers think they understand about praising God.




1 review for Worship Matters

  1. CBD

    Worship Matters is a book about corporate worship written for who he refers to as the “worship leader”, that is, anyone who leads the music and singing during a service. Kauflin spends the opening section of the book dealing with the attitude and character of the worship leader. He emphasizes the importance of the worship leader having the right heart and mind for worshipping God before he attempts to lead others in worshipping God. He speaks of the importance of the worship leader growing in musical skill and also in understanding of theology and stresses that both aspects are important for a worship leader. A reoccurring challenge throughout the book is for worship leaders to be humble

    In the next section, Kauflin unpacks his definition of what a worship leader does, “A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining 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.” This is more of a theological definition than a practical one of what the worship leader should be doing with his time every week.

    The last two sections are increasingly more practical. Firstly, Kauflin deals with tensions between different ways of doing corporate worship; he encourages an awareness and balance of both sides. Secondly, he speaks of the importance of relationships in a worship leader’s job, and then he goes into specific relationships in the last few chapters. The closing chapter is written for the pastor on his role in working with the worship leader.

    ### What I liked
    1. While Kauflin is certainly more ‘charismatic’ in his style of leading the music and the way he clearly does things in their services, I appreciate the fact that he gives a reason for why he does things the way that he does. He pushes quite strongly that we should not just do things because they have a ‘worshipful’ feeling to them, but rather, everything that the leader says and does should be done in order to make it easier for the congregation to more effectively worship God and bring Him glory. I’ve been challenged to think through the way I lead; am I just saying things or doing things because that’s what we usually do or because it’s actually beneficial in helping people understand the words better or worship God better. A few times he suggests that we usually fall into the trap of saying too much, perhaps just because we like to hear ourselves speaking; maybe it is pride thing, we want people to see how good we are at leading and saying ‘worshipful’ things. He suggests, for example, that leaders should speak when there is some truth in a song which may not be immediately obvious to everyone, and explaining it will enable the congregation to better sing the song understanding its meaning.
    2. I liked the emphasis that Kauflin places on the work of the Holy Spirit as we worship God corporately in music and singing. He says that we should expect to the Holy Spirit to work when we sing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we will see extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit, but I still think there is something to be said for the way we sometimes (wrongly) assume that God will only do heart-changing work through the preaching of the Word when there is no less reason for Him to do so through the singing of the Word. Kauflin makes the point that it’s more than just _believing_ that God can use music and songs, but actually _expecting_ Him to work in some way, through His Holy Spirit, every time we sing, to draw people closer to Him.
    3. Kauflin encourages a healthy balance between music skill and passion for serving. I think his points are helpful when he says that we are able to better serve the church if the music is of the level where it will not distract the congregation from the words, or where the band is able to adjust on-the-fly to spontaneous changes or repetitions. To lack an appropriate level of skill will detract from wholly worshipping God. Kauflin quotes John Piper calling this “undistracting excellence” (loc. 613). The extreme end of being skillful can lead to pride though, which is a theme Kauflin often challenges the reader on. On the other hand, skill without any passion to serve and worship God is even worse, leading to inauthentic worship. This convinces me that those who are serving in the band on stage must be Christians and committed to the church. Kauflin draws up a set of expectations for his musicians, one of which is being part of a regular small group. This, I think, is a good way of ensuring that the heart of those who serve is in the right place.
    4. On a similar point to the above, Kauflin’s opening 5 chapters are really good on challenging the reader on their own attitude towards congregational worship, as well as in the rest of their lives. These 5 chapters, although directed towards ‘worship leaders’, should probably be read by every musician involved in serving during corporate worship.
    5. Lastly, I found Kauflin’s insistence on the importance of good, theologically-correct, words to be praise-worthy. In a generation where many of the top ‘worship’ songs have great music but weak theology this is a particularly profound point. Kauflin makes his point by using the example of the psalms, God chose to record David’s words, not the music he set to the psalms, for generations to read and learn from (loc. 1461). Kauflin is very clear, “lyrics matter more than music. Truth transcends tunes” (loc. 1527). One of the ways he says he ensures he follows this principle in the songs he chose for his own church is that when he finds out about new songs he always goes though the words before he listens to the song.

    ### What I didn’t like
    1. As a cessationist, when Kauflin speaks of the ways we should expect the Holy Spirit to work when we corporately worship God, there is some of it I disagree with. That’s not to take away from the point above where I agree we should expect the Holy Spirit to work in our worship services. I would also give him credit for the way that he says they handle things such as speaking in tongues and prophecies, they do it in a way that is orderly and appropriate.
    2. A bigger issue I have with Kauflin is his continued use of the term “worship leader”. I think it is an unhelpful term which implies that we are only worshipping God when we are singing. Ironically, twice in the book Kauflin addresses this issue and in these two chapters in different parts of the book he points out that worship is (a) all of the church service and (b) all of our lives. He does an excellent job at pointing out all the issues with the term that I would have raised and makes no effort to defend the term from them. He even quotes D.A. Carson saying that we should “abolish” the term (loc. 858), and yet he continues to use it!

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