Top 15 Books for Every Worship and Music Ministry

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In addition to Top 10 Reading for Every Christian and Top 15 Reading for Every High School and College Ministry, allow me to add Top 15 books for every worship and music ministry. They are not in the particular order of importance.

  • The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church (Volume 6), Hughes Oliphant Old. A wonderful historical survey on the subject, particularly, for pastors.
  • Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Worship, Hughes Oliphant Old. A welcome addition to those who are called to the ministry of prayer and the Word.
  • Worship: Reformed according to Scripture (Revised and Expanded Edition), Hughes Oliphant Old. Although Old writes from a liturgical, Reformed and Presbyterian tradition, many would appreciate its deep and historically-theologically rich truths.
  • Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World, John F. MacArthur. A sad-but-true depiction of present crises in contemporary church, including a paradigm shift from theocentric to anthropocentric worship.
  • Pagans in the Pews, Peter Jones. Should I say more?
  • Fool’s Gold?, John MacArthur. The subtitle indicates “Discerning Truth in an Age of Error” helps the reader to discern contemporary church issues, including an Madison Avenue approach to church growth, contemporary worship music and so on.
  • Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen. Our present “Christless Christianity” can be traced back to what Machen warned and argued almost 100 years ago.
  • Give Praise To God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, Philip Ryken, Derek Thomas, and Ligon Duncan. A must read, especially, if you are new to the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW).
  • Worship in Spirit and Truth: A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practice of Biblical Worship, John M. Frame. A good critique against the extreme views of the RPW.
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur Bennett. A classic!
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation, D.A. Carson. Perhaps, one of the best books on prayer.
  • Whatever Happened to Worship?, A.W. Tozer. Another classic!
  • The Thought of God, Maurice Roberts. What David F. Well calls a “vacuous worship” of our present time, it is fundamentally due to the absence of glorious and transcendent view of the true and the living God of the Bible. Both the pulpit and the pew desperately need to recapture a true vision of God. And The Thought of God helps with such mission.
  • The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions, Terry L. Johnson. A very helpful and practical book in helping you (i.e., husband and father) to become a better worship leader at home.
  • The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings, Joel R. Beeke. A very helpful and practical book for all believers as to what exactly we do on Lord’s Day worship service and how to better improve our preparation for it.

Luther on Music

Music is a fair and lovely gift of God which has often wakened and moved me to the joy of preaching. St. Augustine was troubled in conscience whenever he caught himself delighting in music, which he took to be sinful. He was a choice spirit, and were he living today would agree with us. I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people gay; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor. I would not exchange what little I know of music for something great. Experience proves that next to the Word of God only music deserves to be extolled as the mistress and governess of the feelings of the human heart. We know that to the devils music is distasteful and insufferable. My heart bubbles up and overflows in response to music, which has so often refreshed me and delivered me from dire plagues.

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (New York: Abingdon Press, 1950), 341.