Friday, April 5, 2013

Planning Worship to Include Everyone: Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper

Of course, including everyone and pleasing everyone with a worship service is wishful thinking, but this book stresses the importance of knowing who's attending your service and trying to make it an enriching experience for all of them. Perhaps the most important part of the book from this perspective is the final chapters on chosing music for the service, how the choice affects people, and what can be done to encourage their participation. These thoughtful chapters should be read by everyone planning a worship service.

Rhythms of Grace contains much more than a discussion of music ministry, although it's an important part of the book. The first chapters give an overview of worship in the context of the Bible from the Garden of Eden to the coming of Jesus. Another chapter gives a concise history of worship in the church. In a short space, the author manages to convey the changing character of worship over the centuries. The author also includes an extensive discussion of the liturgy which is useful for planning and ordering the worship service. This section is also a useful guide for the laic person who wants to know more about the structure of the service.

I highly recommend this book for anyone engaged in planning and conducting a worship service. It's not a book to be used slavishly to order the service, but it does give a great deal of thought to the meaning of the service and how the elements affect the worshipers. This is also a book that can be enjoyed by the laic person. For me, the most important thing about the book is that it challenges you to use your creativity and think.

I reviewed this book for Crossway.