Gather God’s People: Understand, Plan, and Lead Worship in Your Local Church | by Brian Croft and Jason Adkins | A Summary

41olp3edkwl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

Outline

Part 1: Understanding Worship (19-56)

Chapter 1: Biblical Theology of Worship (19-27)

Chapter 2: Elements of Worship (28-45)

Chapter 3: Spirituality of Worship (46-56)

 

Part 2: Plan Worship (57-73)

Chapter 4: Planning the Reading of the Word (57-66)

Chapter 5: Planning the Praying of the Word (67-72)

Chapter 6: Planning the Singing of the Word (73-84)

 

Part 3: Lead Worship (85-119)

Chapter 7: Leading Readings and Prayer (85-95)

Chapter 8: Leading Singing (96-107)

Chapter 9: Leading Ordinances (108-116)

 

Part 1: Understanding Worship (19-56)

Chapter 1: Biblical Theology of Worship (19-27)

This chapter argues that the Old Testament shows that God cares deeply about how he is worshiped (20-23) and in the New Testament God explicitly teaches us how he ought to be worshipped (23-25). For the remainder of the chapter the author seeks to apply a biblical theology of worship (25-27). Since it is Scripture which gives us commands to what worship is to look like, our worship services must be in submission to that Word.

 

Chapter 2: Elements of Worship (28-45)

It is God’s Word which shapes and forms the content of the church’s worship. Therefore the elements of worship must centre and be filled with the word. Since the preaching of God’s word is the means of unleashing the profitability of God’s word, preaching is the centre and highlight of the service. Therefore the rest of the worship service should support and compliment the sermon. A biblical church then preaches the Word (28-33), reads the Word (33-37), prays the Word (37-40), sings the Word (40-43), and sees the Word in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper (43-45).

 

Chapter 3: Spirituality of Worship (46-56)

Since the Bible is full of a variety of emotions, our worship gatherings should be too. The Psalms are a great model for this. The chapter provides examples of different kinds of emotions and how they can be incorporated in the gathering in a Biblical manner.

 

Part 2: Plan Worship (57-73)

Chapter 4: Planning the Reading of the Word (57-66)

Provides 3 criteria’s for Scripture readings

1. They must have coherence with the content of the sermon

2. They must be used from a diversity of the testaments and of the different genre’s,

3. They must be natural points of transition.

Practicalities of Scripture reading (60-61). For example, choosing passages that are not hard to understand or ripped out of context. This chapter also provides a list of resources for Scripture readings (61-63).

 

Chapter 5: Planning the Praying of the Word (67-72)

There are a varieties of different prayers for corporate worship. These include: confessional, petition, praise, and pastoral. Like scripture reading, the prayers offered in the worship service should not distract but compliment and support the content of the sermon. He also provides resources for corporate prayer (71-72).

“Neglecting the practice of prayer in the worship gathering is unhelpful to God’s people and unfaithful to God’s design for Christian worship.” 67

 

Chapter 6: Planning the Singing of the Word (73-84)

The singing likewise need be shaped and have it’s content in the Word of God. Any song that violates the teachings of the Scripture therefore must be rejected. Since the gospel is the good news which the church is built on, we must have songs which vocalize the gospel and core belief which define it’s existence.

“We long for God’s Word to overwhelm us each Sunday, and we leverage every moment of the service to that end.” 74

Part 3: Lead Worship (85-119)

 

Chapter 7: Leading Readings and Prayer (85-95)

Leading readings (86-89)

A qualified church leader (pastor/elder) should lead each service. They ought to read in a loud clear voice so that everyone in the congregation is able to hear, understand, and follow along. Having prepared and gone over the readings before hand will make it much easier to make sure one is comfortable with the pronouncement and the pace of the reading. Each scripture reading can be brief and clear introduction to help support the hearers to listen and pay close attention as well as compliment the content of the sermon. Additionally, the Scripture reading used ought to be one which can be understood from it’s reading and not in need of a explanation. As the service leader provides an introduction to the Scripture reading, he likewise can offer a brief conclusion to the reading which displays and shows convictions and supports the reading.

 

Leading prayer (89-95)

The same skills for leading the readings also apply to leading prayer (loud, brief, understandable). The author encourages times of silence for the purpose of introspection and communicates a seriousness. Preparation is also important. One prepares by reflecting on the Scripture readings and sermon text which will help pray in a way that reflects the text/topic of the service, keeping it consistent. Praying God’s word is always a priority. He then gives a list of items that can be prayed for and corresponding scriptures that relate to them. For example: Member’s Health Concerns (2 Cor 1:3-4), Expecting Mothers and Families with Newborns (Acts 17:25), Grieving Members (1 Thess 4:13, 2 Cor 1:3-4), Confession of Sin (Daniel 9:5, Ps 51, pPh 1:7, Col 1:14, 1 John 1:8-9), and Legal Matters (Ps 115:3, Pr 21:1). As an extra Biblical resource he recommends The Valley of Vision. It is no small matter to lead the readings and prayer, for those who pray convey the seriousness of Scripture in the way that they present it in their prayers. Therefore it ought be taken with great seriousness.

 

Chapter 8: Leading Singing (96-107)

Those who lead the singing of music likewise are to be qualified leaders with the credibility of the congregation. Since the leader of the singing in the authors church is responsible for giving commands, challenges and directing the congrats on to praise, and therefore constitute a form of spiritual authority, it is important that the one doing this is male, in order to safe guard the faithfulness to the Biblical teaching of manhood and womanhood in the context of the local church. “Convenience and circumstances should never be the decisive criteria for decisions regarding worship leadership.” (97). If none of those playing music are male, or “ordained” then he suggests having a ordained leader to do the introduction, commands, challenges, and directing, even if he is not playing.

Introducing songs is the most important part of leading the singing of the Word. This is where the congregation is directed about songs, where to find them, what their position should be (sitting or standing), etc. This is a form of spiritual leadership because it makes connections and transitions among the other elements already in the service. He provides three examples to what this could look like in the service. Moving away from introductions “Forfeits opportunities for leadership and instruction.” Therefore even with new technology (slide shows), the introductions ought to be maintained.

 

Amplification and congregational singing

Musical worship ought to be congregational in nature since the New Testament instructs the church to sing and admonish one another. Musical worship is both horizontal and vertical. “Christians sing to God and to one another” (102). Therefore the one who is leading in musical worship ought to be amplified so that they can lead, yet the music and instruments ought not be be overpowering to the point that the congregation cannot hear and sing to one another. Hearing one another voices “maximizes the function of edification in corporate worship” (104-105).Those leading musical worship must take into consideration the congregation and their needs and abilities to able to worship without distraction or difficulty. Therefore bringing new songs or unfamiliar songs in should be done slowly and patiently. Everything must be done by the leader to ensure that they are being faithful to God’s word in a way that is helpful, and edifying to those who are participating.

 

Chapter 9: Leading Ordinances (108-116)

Finally chapter nine ends with advice to ministers in leading the Baptism and communion. Like the leading of reading, praying and singing the author argues that a recognized and official pastor/elder is the one who administers these things. The author’s church does not administer the ordinances every week but still on a monthly basis. He recommends, for the sake of time, cutting a song so that the service does not go too long. He incorporates the ordinances in the service and not at another time. The ordinances should have a proper introduction in order to prepare God’s people to seriously partake and examine themselves. For baptism, the one who is being baptized usually gives his or her testimony, there is scripture reading and a brief explanation by the leader of baptism. For the Lord’s supper, there is also an explanation and be reminded of the gospel and also warning non-believers not to take part, as well as Christians to not take part wrongfully and unexamined (this is also called, “fencing the table”).