The Best Book on Worship You Probably Haven’t Read

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Before Mike Cosper hosted The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, he was a pastor of worship at a church in Louisville and the author of the book Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel.

It’s the book on worship that I wish every pastor and worship leader could read.

Here are four important lessons from the book.

The Sunday gathering matters.

We know the Sunday gathering is important, of course, but we forget. Besides, we keep hearing people argue that the corporate gathering doesn’t matter. Cosper reminds us of what we need to know:

Gathering for worship is a life-shaping moment in a congregation’s week, and our task as pastors is to seize that opportunity for an all-out assault on their hearts. As servants of God, we prepare people for death, and we prepare them for eternity. And most of them just think they’re “going to church.”

Don’t miss what’s at stake when we gather together to worship.

Worship is participation in the life of the Trinity.

This blows my mind. Cosper writes:

…worship is participation in Jesus’s own worship of the Father by the power of the Spirit. It’s initiated by the Spirit’s prompting, made possible by the Son’s work, and all about the Trinity’s glory. We’re invited in as participants and witnesses to that glory, and it’s a glory that transforms us…

God creates, sin corrupts, but Christ redeems. And all of us get to sing along.

We’re not just joining other saints in worship as we gather. We’re participating in something much bigger than we realize.

Corporate worship forms us.

If you’ve read James K.A. Smith, you may be familiar with this idea. “For good or bad, our worship practices are forming us and our communities, giving shape to what we believe … We are always teaching, shaping, and painting a picture of what the Christian life looks like.”

Without even knowing it, we’re formed by what we do Sunday after Sunday. We must take care, because these practices will shape us for good, or they will harm us. “For pastors and leaders, this reality should make us shudder; our decisions about the practices and rhythms in our church gatherings are forming the character, beliefs, and devotional life of those who attend.”

We can recover neglected practices in our worship gatherings.

Many worship gatherings focus on singing and preaching, but we have many more elements we can use, including confession, assurance of pardon, lament, confessing our faith together, and more.

We can and should recover many of these forgotten practices and incorporate them in our liturgies.

When we started Liberty Grace Church, we passed out this book to many of our leaders, and it shapes what we do as a church. I want to continue to highlight the importance of this book and its lessons. I’ve only included a few of the important lessons in this book in this post.

Much more happens when God’s people gather to worship than we realize.

I wish this book was the reason that Mike Cosper is well known these days. Read it. Highlight it. Share it. Implement it. It could be one of the best books on corporate worship that you’ve never read.

The Best Book on Worship You Probably Haven’t Read
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada