A year ago I started reading Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin. I’m a slow and inconsistent reader, so it took me quite a few months to finish it, and now even longer to blog about it. To get an overview of the book, dig these videos:
Part 1: The Leader
Part 2: The Task
Part3: Healthy Tensions
Part 4: Right Relationships
With no explicit biblical definition of a worship leader, Kauflin uses this book to expose the truths in scripture and applies them to the context of modern-day worship services and how they should be lead. With music being one of the biggest (if not the biggest) area of tension in the church for centuries, Kauflin gracefully and unapologetically offers resolution, in light of the unity we all share in Christ.
As one of the foundations, Kauflin offers a fantastic definition of a worship leader:
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
As Kauflin mentions in the 2nd video, there’s a lot to unpack there. And he takes 1/4 of the book to do so.
I’ve been one to ramble about the inconsistencies and ignorance played out in congregational singing, as well as the way we (the modern church) toss around the word “worship” fairly flippantly. I’ve realized over the years that some of those rants are based on biblical truths, while other issues are simply my own personal preference, based on my “humble and right” opinion. Fortunately, I didn’t write this book. Kauflin presents the concept of “heathly tensions” that gives validity to both sides of seemingly opposing views and preferences, such as traditional verses contemporary, wordy verses simple lyrics, and Windows versus Mac. (Actually, I think he’s saving that last one for another book.) All the things I had ranted about were suddenly articulated in a much clearer and more graceful way…and then there were twice as many other thoughts that I hadn’t ever considered before.
In the book, Bob addresses a slew of topics involved with leading and facilitating a music ministry, from personal spiritual issues to musical skill and technique. As I read, I was refreshed by Kauflin’s encouragement, proclamation of truth, and overall desire to see God’s people use the tool of music to worship their Creator in spirit and in truth.
After reading Worship Matters, I was encouraged to
- Do what I’ve been gifted to do, not necessarily what I want to do
- Study the Word more intently, realizing that it is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword
- Read more books on theology, rather than being so music-centric
- Pray for my pastors and leaders, submitting to their authority, understanding that God has placed them over me
As excited as I was about this book, and as cool as I think Bob Kauflin is, I have to remind myself (or perhaps my wife will remind me) that no book or person should take our attention away from the true Person and Word of God Himself. The cool thing is that every time I’ve talked to people about the book, the very nature of the text has spurred God-honoring spiritual fellowship.
On a scale from 1 to Awesome, I give it 5 stars. Read it.