4 out of 5 Stars
Author: Stephen Miller
Buy Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars
Reading Level: Liesure
Key Words: Straightforward Resource,
Approachable for Everyone, and Quickly Points to Christ
Full disclosure: I am not a rock star; I am not a worship leader; and I have little to no musical talent. You may be asking, “Why did you read this book then?” Great question. Honestly, the title intrigued me. Good titles do that, right? They pull you in. I wanted to hear what Stephen had to say. I’ve enjoyed a lot of his music and I wanted to hear what his alternative to the rock star worship leader was.
I really enjoyed three things about this book. First, Stephen isn’t afraid to poke the bear. He had me laughing in the first part of the book as he describes some his church experience with drawn out altar calls. It really resonated with me. I think quite a few people will resonate with his experience. But he doesn’t just poke the conservative bear; he also pokes the more trendy, contemporary bear. He describes his first experience with a worship band who was just in full on rock star mode. In fact, he’s critical of this rock star Heart condition most of all.
Second, although he’s critical of this trend, he doesn’t stop there. He offers solutions. He quickly points the worship leader back to Christ for their identity. They are not rock stars seeking glory. They are under-shepherds of Christ. They are blood-bought sons and daughters. They do not have to seek approval and acceptance from their congregation or God. They already have it in Christ. That emphasis soars through out the book.
Last, I appreciate his emphasis on liturgy. He says,
Without the framework of a liturgy, it is easy to naturally gravitate toward what we are good at. Some worship leaders are great at praise and adoration, but fail to ever call their people to repent or to be on mis- sion. And some are so mission-focused that they leave Christ and His work out of the service altogether! Others are naturally confessional, and a service becomes depressingly me-centered, focusing completely on sin and suffering, while forgetting to joyfully express praise and adoration to our holy God for His grace and mercy.
A well thought-out liturgy forces us as worship leaders to face our weaknesses and grow in the gospel, while enabling us to form our people in the whole truth of the Scriptures. But where do we find a liturgy like that? One might start with the Bible itself! (99)
I love that many Baptists and non-denominational churches are organizing their liturgies more intentionally and using the liturgy of Reformation and Early churches to structure their worship service. A solid liturgy is crucial for a healthy church because a good liturgy rehearses the gospel week in and week out for its hearers.
Stephen writes conversationally and is approachable for the everyman worship leader. You don’t need a seminary degree to get what he’s saying. The book flows easily. And most of all he provides a much need corrective for many evangelical churches in our day without falling off the ditch on the other side. It would be a great resource for a young pastoral staff and it could also be helpful for the average church goer. The “rock star worship syndrome,” as Stephen calls it, is only possible when church members feed the beast. If we better understand who worship leaders and pastors are in Christ, we will be less prone to improperly put them on pedestals.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars free from Moody Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”