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What does it mean to be a worshipper? Together, Tim Hughes and Nick Drake explore who, where, why and how Christians worship, what happens when we do and where the future of worship may take us.
With contributions from Graham Kendrick, Lou Fellingham, Kees Kraayenoord, Dr Helen Morris and many more, this book offers a fresh reminder that worship isn't just music and the songs we sing, it is so much more.
The Spring Harvest 2021 theme book, Why Worship? will help you reconnect to the purpose and meaning of worship, so that you can grow closer to God individually and as a church community and get the most out of worship.
Contributors Tim Hughes, Nick Drake, Dr John Andrews, Dr Helen Morris, Graham Kendrick, Lou Fellingham, Lyn Weston, Kees Kraayenoord, Noel Robinson, Doug Williams, Dr Darell Johnson.
Why worship? Perhaps this is an odd question after so long with little opportunity for communal worship. Yet this book has appeared at a time when many churches are questioning the shape and purpose of their life together and their mission in the community. Some Christians felt disengaged from worship and struggled to sustain a pattern of faithful devotion through lockdown, while others have discovered worship afresh through engaging with different communities online.
Tim Hughes and Nick Drake, both leaders at the Anglican- affiliated Gas Street Church in Birmingham, challenge our assumptions. Is worship what we assumed it was before lockdown, or is this a golden opportunity to discover what worship could be? With chapters from a rich variety of authors, there is much to inspire us here, and much to challenge. The first part provides a convincing, if brief, account of the underlying theology of worship. If we think of worship as essentially a religious activity practised behind closed doors by consenting Christians, think again. Worship must be centred on God, an appropriate response to who God is (says John Andrews, in chapter two). For me, this part found its focus in Drake’s observation that ‘whatever we do, if the Spirit is absent, it’s not worship.’ Later parts of the book place worship centrally in the whole of Christian life and discipleship. Worship, the authors contend, lies at the heart of our being and is essential for our growth and development. You will encounter gems of insight here as you read, and will need to pause for reflection as you go.
The authors come mainly from an evangelical/ charismatic tradition and speak of a context where ‘worship’ can be almost synonymous with the music of praise. Those more used to a liturgical pattern of worship may struggle initially to orientate themselves. There is very little mention, for example, of the place of confession, lament or silence in worship, or the rich heritage of spoken prayer or hymnody. I was greatly encouraged by this book, thrilled by the possibilities it offers, and determined to ensure that God is central in the worship I am privileged to lead. This is a gift to the church at an auspicious moment in our history.
Review by Bob Bartindale for Preach magazine, issue 28, Grief and Lament
AUTHOR: Tim Hughes is a British worship leader, singer, songwriter, and Anglican priest at Gas Street Church Birmingham. Nick Drake is director of Worship for Everyone, and an Associate Pastor at St Luke's Gas Street Birmingham. He is the author of A Deeper Note: The Informal Theology of Sung Worship (Grove Books) and teaches on worship at Worship Central Academy and St Mellitus College.