I’m Writing Another Book

One of my first commitments after finishing my first book, Worship Matters, was never to write another book.

As most authors I’ve spoken to will acknowledge, writing is anything but fun. It takes long hours, a commitment over a lengthy period of time, patience, and a lot of looking at what you’ve just written and saying to yourself, “I wouldn’t even read this.”

But God has a way of changing desires…

About six weeks ago I was talking to Justin Taylor, who works for my publisher, Crossway. Justin has been a most supportive friend, and told me that my first book has been doing well. So…he wondered if I might be interested in writing another.

Miracle of miracles, I’ve actually been warming up to that idea. Worship Matters was aimed at those who participate in leading corporate worship. Why not write a much shorter book that spoke directly to the Christians who walk in to be led every Sunday morning? Perhaps a book that would help them think more biblically about their responsibility as a worshiper of God, regardless of how they were being led. A book that leaders could give to members of their congregation.

Justin then informed me that I was describing the book Crossway thought I was going to write the first time. Oh well.

Two similar books are Louie Giglio’s The Air I Breathe and Vaughan Roberts True Worship. But Louie’s speaks about worship more broadly and Vaughan addresses topics I wouldn’t cover and leaves out some I would.

So, I’m writing another book. I’ve already spoken to Thomas Womack, my editor, who will be helping me formulate the chapters and structure. I thoroughly enjoyed benefiting from his skill, discernment, and graciousness when we were working on Worship Matters.

Here’s where you come in. I’d love to get your help early on in the process.

I want this book to answer specific questions that people might be asking or need to ask. I’m already thinking of chapters like Why Do We Sing?, What Do We Do With Our Bodies?, and What If I Don’t Like My Worship Leader?

What questions do you think I should try to answer?

156 Responses to I’m Writing Another Book

  1. Julie J March 5, 2010 at 9:03 AM #

    Hi Bob,

    I’m wondering if you, actually Jordan and Tali have set up a caringbridge page for Jack. We found it so much easier to keep “the masses” informed of what was going on and to not have to keep writing the same e-mail over and over or try to remember to whom it was sent. It’s a great, free site and can be found at http://www.caringbridge.org. You register and can post pictures, prayer requests, and there’s a guest book for people to sign and leave words of encouragement. Just wanted to pass this along in case you hadn’t heard of it.


    Julie Joseph

  2. Hayden Norris March 5, 2010 at 9:29 AM #

    How to humbly share music opinions with my pastors. I know you wrote an article on it, but it would be a great addition.

    It looks like this has gone from a pamphlet to a full fledged book.

    Your first book has so impacted our church family. The gentleman that helps to lead us in our worship through music has really grown through reading it.

  3. David Pratt March 5, 2010 at 11:24 AM #

    perhaps closely related to “what if I don’t feel like worshiping” is this. What if I can’t honestly sing the words of the song that we are on? How do I worship in this moment?”

    I had a woman tell me that when this has happens to her, she instead prays that God would work in her so that she could sing those lyrics and mean them. I was so pleased with her desire for true worship there – to not just go through the motions and sing along because that is what we are supposed to do at that time.

    It is also a good reminder for us as worship leaders/those that plan worship services, to not focus too much on narrow topics that may be very personal to one category of people but foreign to another, and also to focus more heavily on the truths about God that are constant and universal, rather than personal, perhaps individual-in-the-moment responses to God. We know from the Psalms and other sources that these are also very appropriate, but to try to think of the corporate gathering of the body.

  4. Craig Hurst March 5, 2010 at 2:09 PM #

    Is there enough room in the book for an introductory chapter on the theology of corporate worship in order to guide the rest of the book?

    • Bob Kauflin March 5, 2010 at 3:42 PM #

      Craig, Yes, I think I’l have to say a good bit about the theology of worship for things to make sense.

  5. Liz March 5, 2010 at 3:46 PM #

    Something about why we should/ shouldn’t use instruments in worship. I’ve been coming across some fervent arguments for both sides of this so would be interested in what you had to say.

  6. Dan March 5, 2010 at 6:36 PM #

    How about this topic: How to do your 9-5 job as worship.

    Also, I have a son who’s best worship is when he walks the dogs. However, he has difficulty with worship in song in the gathering of the saints. Perhaps he feels there are too many folks not helped by worship in song as he sees too many people who make that a big issue, but never really love their neighbors (not only the saints). He has a missional passion, but doesn’t see many others sharing that passion, so his question is, “what good is worship in song with the saints when that is all they do?”

  7. Andy Chang March 5, 2010 at 7:03 PM #

    Not to be on a tangent, but I’ve been hinting to Dave Wilcox off & on, that a book should be written regarding doing A/V to the glory of God. Some practical stuff, but also heart-attitudes for an A/V team (humility, patience, etc.)… something that tech teams can use as a training and a devotional perhaps. I’m sure Dave can compile his WG notes over the years. Perhaps you could drop a hint of that idea too ;)

    Or, include an appendix related to tech. Even for the congregation, for example: How do I respond to tech distractions that affect the worship time? (distracting backgrounds, bad mix, etc.)

    • Bob Kauflin March 5, 2010 at 7:45 PM #

      Great idea, Andy! Dave Wilcox is humble, skilled, experienced, and a leader. Amazing tech director to have at the church.

  8. Nate Fancher March 6, 2010 at 2:01 PM #

    I’d love to see what Mike was talking about addressed. (comment #8) I had the same thought. What’s the significance of corporate worship and how is it different than private worship?

    Is it more than just a collective expression of individualistic experiences?

  9. Stephanie Rue March 6, 2010 at 8:25 PM #

    First, I must say thank you for Worship Matters… and incredible book! Thank you for putting in the effort to get so much on paper for the world to read.

    Secondly, I have not read through every one of the previous comments, so I apologize if I am being redundant.

    Some thoughts for your next book:

    1.) As a member of the technical team, what is the balance of participation in a service vs. running the behind-the-scenes and remaining disconnected?

    2.) Is it important for volunteers (singers/musicians/tech/etc.) to have time off just for the sake of having time off? Should the commitment to weekend services be your offering without complaint?

    This may be premature, but is there a timeline for this book’s publication? My husband and I are currently creating a study of sorts from Worship Matters to be used in classes for everyone from leaders to congregants and this new book sounds like it would be an even better alternative!!

  10. Matthew March 7, 2010 at 8:05 PM #

    Awesome news – totally looking forward to it. Hope it’s not too impertinent to suggest a title: “Why Am I Here?”

    Questions I would like to see addressed:
    “Why isn’t my worship leader getting me in the mood to worship?”
    “This song *again*??”
    “I’m getting four kids dressed, fed and out the door for 9 AM Sunday School. I don’t have time to prepare my heart before I come. Is that bad?”
    “Sure, I complain about worship sometimes, but I’m the audience, right? Isn’t the customer always right?”

    I just allowed my pastor to borrow Worship Matters for the first time. Looking forward to another book!

  11. Jared March 8, 2010 at 12:57 PM #

    So, I just finished reading EVERY comment… and this book looks like it needs to be written backwards, with a huge “troubleshooting worship” section in the front, and a closing chapter pulling up the rear :)

    I’m afraid that if you define worship, most churches are going to fail at providing purposeful, logical, meaningful forums where believers are able to worship without encountering clutter… which means that you have to figure out a way to shape it so the book’s engagement doesn’t hinge on the service format… and doing so in a small book is going to need some divine intervention.

    BUT, I heartily commend, pray for, and plead with you to give it all you’ve got! We NEED a worship primer for congregants to shape expectations and explicitly define their objectives as they approach [another] weekly service.

    So, I found MOST helpful these comment numbers : 25, 36, 40, 64, 94, and 95. And to summarize a few other frequently stated and important questions:

    – Shooting Blind: What am I here to do, and how do I know it’s been done?
    – When moods collide (no tango between me and the music)
    – Covenant or Commerce? (Is worship a journey or an exchange, or both? And how to think straight)
    – Reformation: What happens to me as I worship [authentically]
    – Chaos: What if my service doesn’t make any sense?
    – Technical Tatters (All the peripherals: poor execution, poor voices, poor environment, poor song choice)
    – Dropping the gloves: What’s worth fighting for (aka: when is it time to take a tough stand)
    – Engaging the culture: The best preparation for heartfelt worship

    I really look forward to the book, and found Worship Matters to be equal to none in its practical use. I think you should title it something like, “Redressing Worship: When Smiles don’t Matter.” Or Worshipers Matter :)

    Appreciate you and your wealth of insight.

    • Bob Kauflin March 8, 2010 at 1:18 PM #

      Jared, thanks for reading through all the comments! You should get some kind of reward for perseverance. Thanks also for the words of encouragement and your summary of the comments. VERY helpful. You seem to have a gift for chapter titles as well.

  12. Matt Novak March 8, 2010 at 1:06 PM #

    this is addressing Matthew’s (#118) last question.

    the congregation is not the audience, God is. the worship leader is not singing to the congregation for their enjoyment, and the congregation isn’t just doing one big sing-a-long either. The worship leader is leading the congregation in worship/praise to God. We should all be singing to an audience of one (God). Take that into consideration if you haven’t in the past.

  13. Patrick McKinney March 8, 2010 at 3:57 PM #

    I saw there were over 100 comments, so if someone already mentioned this, I am sorry to repeat.

    I think a good topic to address is how an individual can prepare for the time of worship in song. And I guess for those with families (I am not married), how a family can prepare for the time of worship in song.

  14. Jordan Slack March 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM #

    Awesome! I have thought in the past that it would be great for you to write a book for the congregation, and am very glad that you have decided to do so. May God bless you, and your book.

    I would have to argue with you about writing not being fun though… =D

  15. Sam March 8, 2010 at 9:59 PM #

    Hey Bob,

    I would consult Thabiti’s “What is a Healthy Church Member” as a good model. I thought for length (you said you wanted yours to be shorter), it was one of the most profitable, useful, theologically packed and APPLICABLE books I’ve ever read…

  16. jonathan mason March 9, 2010 at 8:59 AM #

    I think a good question to answer for those in the congregation would be

    1. how do i still participate in worship when i don’t like the music or song?

    2. how is worship so much more than just a song? elaborate on how worship consists of our time of prayer, scripture reading, preaching etc. (da carson’s book – worship by the book was good on this subject)

  17. Sean March 9, 2010 at 11:18 AM #

    Bob –

    This is a great idea. I think the Christian community needs more simple, yet challenging books on ecclesiology and theology for the scores of longtime baby Christians in our midst. What is a Healthy Church? by IX Marks is the model that comes to mind.

    I so enjoyed your session at WG09 that dealt with fear of man in relation to physical expression in worship. I think a brief word on that would be challenging/freeing for many. It has made a big impact on me.


  18. Matthew March 9, 2010 at 8:57 PM #

    @Matt Novak – I know. (That suggested question was partly a lame attempt at sarcasm, partly something that some churchgoers might honestly not have considered.)

  19. Matt Novak March 10, 2010 at 4:49 PM #

    @Matthew – I see, just checking man.

  20. Doug Wells March 11, 2010 at 3:56 PM #


    I agree with Brandon (#77 above) that all this talk about “worship style” is really only about MUSIC style. It seems to me that if our reason for showing up on Sunday morning isn’t to focus on, give praise, honor and glory to, and connect with The One who created us and all that is and offers us THE means of salvation, we’ve totally missed the point! The music is only a language we might use to communicate our love, wonder and thanksgiving.

    I read somewhere once that “Worship is the one thing we can give to God that didn’t first come from Him.” While I don’t know all the potential theological implications of that statement, it “struck a chord” with me and changed my way of approaching Him in my times of worship.

    OK, I’m stepping down from the pulpit now. The choir’s heard this before.

    Just thought you might consider such an emphasis.

    “Worship Matters” continues to be a blessing to me and our whole music team. Thank you for being obedient to the Spirit and carrying it through.


  21. Eric Schumacher March 12, 2010 at 12:12 PM #

    How do I love God in corporate worship?
    How do I love the church in corporate worship?
    How do I love unbelievers in corporate worship?
    When is leaving over corporate worship loving? (And how to do so…)
    When is staying (despite wanting to leave over corporate worship) loving? (And how to do so…)

  22. Ryan Matchett March 12, 2010 at 12:46 PM #

    A helpful chapter for me and my church would be, “How to pass on Worship to your children.” I have heard many families speak of how their kids dont want to be in worship etc.

  23. Rene Paz March 13, 2010 at 9:54 AM #

    Hi Bob,

    I am so thankful to God for your life. One of the things I would like to find in the book is: what about worship in youth groups? I am 21 years old and I’ve seen that in many youth services they change many things (mostly in worship) to “attrack more youth.

  24. Kim March 16, 2010 at 11:03 PM #

    I think a chapter on helping parents help their kids of all ages to worship. At our church, our children are dismissed after 15 to 20 minutes and it breaks my heart when parents take their kids out because they thinks its not developmentally appropriate for their child to HAVE to do it. With my own kids I held and swayed and sang (tho badly) in their ears until I couldn’t hold them – 4 or so – and now with my youngest 5 – I feed him words to songs he’s unfamiliar with and I don’t allow my children to sit or lie down during worship. This may be another book altogether…maybe, dare I say, book 3?

  25. Steve Laube March 17, 2010 at 12:46 PM #

    A little more theoretical, but still with immense practicality, is the question:
    “How do you know when you’ve done it?”
    “How do you know when you have actually worshipped?”

    All the talk about singing and praying and lifting hearts and minds and saying the rights words with the right attitude…
    But is it something to be accomplished? or something to be experienced? or is this the absolute wrong question to ask? Could it be that it isn’t about “me” and whether I’ve pleased God?

  26. Scott Kemp March 20, 2010 at 10:54 PM #

    “What your worship leader wants you to know about how your comments (kind and unkind) affect him.”

    Who should determine the style of music? Worship leader, Pastor, Congregation? Who?

    Should I leave a church over music styles? The words are great, but I can’t worship to this music style!

  27. iancarloapo March 23, 2010 at 6:07 PM #

    what if other team members of the music won’t listen to your suggestion?

    – lower down the volume of your instrument.
    – this is how WE play it, not how YOU play it


  28. Craig March 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM #

    I first was exposed to your “tensions” discussion at CMS Overlake. I love how you addressed it in Worship Matters. It really helped my walk with God. I think some discussion of those tensions would greatly help the Body of Christ.
    Looking forward to the new book!

  29. Jon Watts March 25, 2010 at 9:47 PM #

    Hi Bob, blessings as you begin this creative process again. Here are some things I would love to see more people talking about in worship:
    -how do we worship WITH our community (what makes Sunday morning any different, really, from our personal time with God? Are we conscious of the fact that we are worshipping together?
    -how can we worship in a way that makes us aware of God’s global nature – he is far bigger than we are, and his kingdom is a lot bigger than the styles and songs we like or know best.

    I think these can be good approaches to overcoming the frustration of “having” to worship with others who have different preferences than we do…


  30. Matt Johnson March 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM #

    Hi Bob

    Greetings from England, and many, many thanks for ‘Worship Matters’.

    Our society’s ‘cultural norm’ for assessing whether an event (gig, theatre, sports etc) was any good is ‘did I get a buzz out of being there? Did it make me feel good?’ We easily transfer this to how we assess our church experience. This leads headlong into ‘worship wars’ and faction, as personal preference, often disguised as ‘such and such didn’t help me worship’, becomes our judging criterion for church services.

    How do we reorient ourselves away from a ‘me first’ attitude to a ‘God and others’ first attitude, while remaining free to give positive criticism?

    Or, put another way, how can I participate in church services in a way that seeks to build up the Body, as opposed to only seeking to build me up?

    [I assume your book will look to cover our approach to church services as a whole, not just the musical bits].

  31. Mark Sylvester April 3, 2010 at 2:35 PM #

    Sounds like a great, necessary topic to be covered!

    Here are some ideas:
    – What do I do if the music doesn’t “sound”good? Or isn’t my style?
    – How can I prepare my heart to worship God before music?

    – Another idea, what about writing to musicians in a church’s worship band? When to play? When not to play? Those kind of things?
    looking forward to the new book!

  32. Joshua Huizing April 13, 2010 at 1:22 AM #

    What if the music is actually embarrassing to hear, let alone sing along with?

  33. Scott April 23, 2010 at 5:19 PM #


    A suggestion – as a bridge between your focus audience for your new book and that for “Worship Matters” – consider a chapter or two specifically addressed to choirs. My experience has been that, while I consider my choir members every bit the worship leader I am, they don’t think that way. They look at me, the pastor, the vocal team, the instrumentalists as the primary worship leaders…yet they also consider themselves separately from the congregational participants – in kind of a curious middle ground. Just a thought…

    • Bob Kauflin April 23, 2010 at 5:23 PM #

      Scott (and everyone else), thanks for these helpful thoughts. I’ve been using them as I’ve been charting out the chapters for my new book.

  34. Brett Lovern April 25, 2010 at 11:27 PM #

    How about “which is more important: preaching or worship?”

  35. Kendall Lord June 14, 2010 at 10:43 AM #

    I am intrigued by the concept of a book addressing the worshipers’ biblical responsibilities in corporate worship. Worship is rarely approached from that perspective.

    Though generalizations may not be fair, it is my impression that many of the men in our congregation are spiritually passive and comfortable and complacent, which spills over into their lives as worshipers. How can this effectively be addressed?

  36. Sandy June 28, 2010 at 3:28 PM #

    What about praying while your are singing and during instrumentals, etc?

    Is it okay to smile at or even look at the members of the worship team during worship-not to be a distraction.

    Loved your other book!!

  37. Matthew September 13, 2010 at 4:07 PM #

    I know sometimes the worship leader picks songs I don’t necessarily agree with or songs written by corrupt bands. And so I sometimes refrain from singing. But then I remember 1 Thessalonians 5 where it says to “not quench the spirit” and to examine everything carefully and hold fast to what is good.”

    Am I quenching the Holy Spirit when I choose to refrain from singing because of the bad song? Am I examining it carefully as I should?

  38. Peter December 1, 2010 at 10:11 PM #

    How should we view raising our hands or clapping or being expressive as a congregation? My Pastor says that we are not a church that raises their hand when we sing praise. Is it a neutral point and maybe we shouldn’t focus so much on it, or are we trumping our expression towards God?

  39. Andrew Lucius March 24, 2011 at 5:21 PM #

    Can we expect your second book to be available at Worship God 2011? I am really looking forward to reading it!

    • Bob Kauflin March 24, 2011 at 11:58 PM #

      Andrew, thanks for asking. Unfortunately, my plans to have the book at WorshipGod11 were waylaid by other projects. Hopefully, I’ll have it WorshipGod13!

  40. Brad Copp July 14, 2011 at 11:33 PM #

    1. How can I worship on the other six days when the band is not around?
    2. What is the connection between what we do on Sunday Morning and the rest of my life?

  41. Neill May 27, 2013 at 10:11 PM #

    Any chance this is still happening? Maybe even available at WG13?

    • Bob Kauflin May 28, 2013 at 12:36 AM #

      Neill, thanks for asking. I’m writing now, but it will be available some time in 2014, Lord willing!

  42. Neill May 29, 2013 at 2:21 PM #

    Sounds good! I’m excited to read it, and prayerfully experience some fruit in our congregation from it.

    One thing I’ve noticed about our church is a disturbing disparity in the singing times between our two Sunday afternoon services. I don’t think all the godly people who like to sing loud conspired to attend the second service, but for some reason, the singing is always twice as loud in the second service even though there are literally half the people in attendance at that service. I know it’s not healthy to be overly dependent on “results” when leading worship, but when there is such a consistently striking difference, I have to wonder. Also, as the leader, I know I need to take care of the log in my own eye, so I’ll assume that it’s primarily a shepherding issue. Just wish I knew exactly what the issue is.

    Anyway, I don’t know if this “first service syndrome” is common, but I’d love to hear an experienced opinion on it, whether it’s in the new book or not.

  43. Brandon Miller June 13, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

    Dr. Kaufflin,

    My main struggle with worshipping through song (besides my own sinful heart) is:

    * Lyrical content

    – Especially “I will” statements/promises to God which we cannot possibly keep.

    Ex: ” Where you go I’ll go, when you move I’ll move,…I will follow you”…

    I’m not trying to throw Tomlin under the bus either. He has been a blessing to the church; having written many sound songs for congregations to sing across the globe.

    – I’m just using his song as an example. They’re certainly well-intended lyrics; but they’re actually promising God 100% prefect obedience; something I know I can’t sing and mean it (I can’t help but think of Peter’s fleshy confidence in Mark 14:26-31-and we all know how that turned out!).

    Thus, perhaps a chapter on:

    “Do the Words we Sing Really Matter?”

    and maybe also address:

    “What to do if your Church is Singing Fluff– without imposing on leadership & disrupting unity”

    Again, not trying to knock Tomlin; just wanted to express my concerns with the lyrical content we sing on Sundays.

    Thanks for your time and consideration,

  44. Jen August 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM #

    I agree with Brandon “what if your church is singing fluff?” etc.
    Getting kids involved would be an interesting one to address- without making the music tacky.
    What if some of the singers can’t sing all that well? (and your church does not “audition” them and is not likely to in future).
    I am halfway through Worship Matters- awesome, inspiring, solid. Exactly what I needed to read.


  1. Worship Matters – take 2 « Monyhull Blog - March 7, 2010

    […] the exciting news from Bob’s blog, Worship Matters, is that he’s writing a new book!  This one’s going to be shorter and will focus on […]

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