Worship Words – A Review

As a worship leader and a songwriter, I knew that a book entitled Worship Words – Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry was a book that I was supposed to read, but as I saw it on the shelf at the local Christian bookstore, my first impression was: boring. However, I obeyed my inner college professor, dug out my coupon, and bought the book. If you can get past the drab cover and the sterile title, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Debra and Ron Rienstra have crafted an interesting and comprehensive study of our worship vocabulary. Yep, comprehensive. I couldn't think of any aspect of songwriting, song selection, song evaluation etc. that they didn't cover. The Rienstra's purpose in writing the book is to “help pastors and worship leaders attend carefully to the words used in prayers, songs, sermons, and other spoken elements of worship”. They do this with grace, humor, and sensitivity, but they are not afraid to throw in quite a few examples either. Some of the more fun and interesting items can be found in the many highlighted “box-outs” and each chapter has various exercises at the end for the more ambitious individuals or groups (yes, this would make a great book for the whole church staff to work through). The three appendices are also very valuable. I hate to use the cliche that they're worth the price of the book, but with titles like “Practical Advice for All Occasions”, “Worship Planning Process”, and “Assessing Songs for Congregational Use” it's a close call. If you're a pastor, worship leader, or songwriter, this is an important book for you. I would say “a must-read” if I hadn't learned anything from this book. Instead, I will say “highly recommended”!


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