Worship Leaders in the local church are spiritual leaders. This means we should be constantly sharpening our minds as well as our hearts and our skill. So we have compiled a list of books for worship leaders that seek to fulfill this need. Solomon is probably right when he said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” So having some classics under your belt will surely breed a greater context to your ministry. In other words, you are not alone—both today and with those that have come before you exist a great cloud of witnesses to inspire you along the way. In their wake, they have left many resources, including these books for worship leaders that can be pertinent to worship today.
Speaking of old, learning how and why biblical worship occurred and how Protestant traditions developed will enrich your modern worship context greatly. Why? The Church has been around for a couple millennia which means we should have a thoughtful, humble, and expectant approach to how the church worships today. Included on this list of books for worship leaders are a couple classics on discipleship as it relates to worship. If we believe worship is important, should we not also understand as worship leaders what a transformed life actually looks like?
In no particular order, here are 20 MUST read books for worship leaders!
Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel
By: Ronald Allen, Gordon Borror,
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub; Reprint edition (February 4, 2000)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Worship-Rediscovering-Ronald-B-Allen/dp/1579103332
Allen and Borror addressed in 1982 things we are still talking about today—what should people get out of worship? With their “moving beyond onlooker religion” they describe the purpose of worship.
The Hallelujah Factor
By: Jack R. Taylor
Publisher: Broadman Press (January 1, 1983)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Hallelujah-Factor-Jack-R-Taylor/dp/1883906334
Taylor’s short but powerful book takes words for “praise” and “worship” in Hebrew and Greek and inspires the reader to apply these to their worship settings.
The Pursuit of God
By: A.W. Tozer
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; The Pursuit of God edition (February 27, 2015)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Pursuit-God-Aiden-Wilson-Tozer-ebook/dp/B004TQ8GP2
A contemporary classic for all Christians to read, especially pertinent for church worship leaders.
Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
By: Kenneth W. Osbeck
Publisher: Kregel Publications; 2nd edition (September 15, 2010)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Grace-Inspiring-Stories-Devotions/dp/0825438993/
Often times hymns are overly praised for sentiment. What are the true stories behind them? For a younger worship leader, having this book will allow a deeper connection to the traditions of generations past.
God Songs: How to Write and Select Songs for Worship
By: Paul Baloche, Jimmy Owens, Carol Owens
Publisher: Provident-Integrity Distribution (January 1, 2005)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/God-Songs-Write-Select-Worship/dp/1933150033
This gift of a book takes you through the process of writing and planning music for worship.
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God
By: Dallas Willard
Publisher: Harper (March 24, 1998)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Divine-Conspiracy-Rediscovering-Hidden-Life/dp/0060693339
Willard challenges the “gospel of sin management” in this book. Worship leaders indeed can gain much from understanding the subversive gospel.
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling
By: Andy Crouch
Publisher: IVP Books (October 9, 2013)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Making-Recovering-Creative-Calling-ebook/dp/B001IDYIMY
Crouch writes that we do better to create culture than critique or mimic it. Surely, the church music and worship leader should understand this best.
Worship Old and New
By: Robert Webber
Publisher: Zondervan; Revised edition (December 22, 1994)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Worship-Old-New-Robert-Webber/dp/0310479908/
Webber defined “ancient-future” as learning from the biblical and historical roots we share to deepen our worship gatherings.
The Heart of the Artist: A Character-Building Guide for You and Your Ministry Team
By: Rory Noland
Publisher: Zondervan (May 18, 2009)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Artist-Character-Building-Guide-Ministry-ebook/dp/B00165EXQU
Those of us who are “creatives” or artists in the church setting have a friend in this book. Grow in your character together.
The Practice of the Presence of God In Modern English
By: Brother Lawrence, Marshall Davis (Translator)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC, (October 16, 2013)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Practice-Presence-God-Modern-English-ebook/dp/B00FZ40L9G
This book challenges us to think that God’s presence isn’t something we bring upon for others but something that exists and can be experienced in our daily lives.
The Christian Book of Mystical Verse
By: A.W. Tozer, et al.
Publisher: Martino Fine Books (April 5, 2010)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Book-Mystical-Verse/dp/1578988853/
To regain a mystical voice, it is refreshing to read this compilation by A.W. Tozer.
Worship Evangelism: Inviting Unbelievers into the Presence of God
By: Sally Morgenthaler
Publisher: Zondervan (January 1, 1999)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Worship-Evangelism-Sally-Morgenthaler/dp/031022649X
Morgenthaler constructs methods to help your gathering reach the uninitiated. There’s a lot of wisdom in this book.
Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther
Translated By: Captain Henry Bell
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC (May 12, 2012)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Selections-Table-Talk-Martin-Luther-ebook/dp/B0082ST2WY
There is nothing like going back 500 years and sitting across the table from Luther, especially the points he makes on public worship.
Worship His Majesty
By: Jack W. Hayford
Publisher: W Pub Group (May 1994)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Worship-His-Majesty-Jack-Hayford/dp/0849935660/
Hayford is not only a pastor of pastors but he is a worship leader. He walks through the biblical and practical reasoning for worship in the church.
To Know You More: Cultivating the Heart of a Worship Leader
By: Andy Park
Publisher: IVP Books (October 3, 2004)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Know-You-More-Cultivating-Worship/dp/0830832211/
Andy Park mentors our purpose and approach with this book.
Pure Praise: A Heart-Focused Bible Study on Worship
By: Dwayne Moore
Publisher: Group Publishing (November 20, 2008)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Praise-Heart-Focused-Bible-Worship/dp/0764437488/
Moore developed a valuable tool to bring to your whole church or team.
The Revised Common Lectionary: The Consultation on Common Texts
By: The Consultation on Common Texts
Publisher: Abingdon Press (October 1, 2010)
Presbyterian, Lutherans, and many denominations use this and follow the church calendar. These practices tied to scripture and tradition can enrich your understanding whether or not you are liturgical in practice.
The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives
By: Dallas Willard
Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (May 5, 1999)
Discipleship is effort, not earning. Willard explains better than most how a heart changes.
The Book of Common Prayer
By: The Episcopal Church
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 6/25/10 edition (July 25, 2010)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Common-Prayer-Episcopal-Church/dp/1453716866/
The Anglican family of churches is bound together by their book of prayer. We can learn much from the beauty of liturgy.
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
By: Arthur Bennett
Publisher: The Banner of Truth Trust (November 1, 1975)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Valley-Vision-Collection-Puritan-Devotions/dp/0851512283/
Often worship leaders think structure is an enemy. These written prayers from our Puritan past give a beautiful model of how we can express worship even in our modern settings.
The other aspect to powerful worship is engaging your congregation and helping the people in your church worship. Many of these books for worship leaders seek to help the worship leader specifically, but the other part of worship is knowing how to engage the people in your church. It’s difficult to lead worship when you are the only one worshipping.
Another great resource for worship leaders that can help them improve is Worship Schools. Some of the schools on this list are programs within a larger university, but the majority are specifically designed with the worship leader in mind. If you are a worship leader, you are constantly trying to find resources to spark creativity and refresh the spirit within. Maybe books for worship leaders may not be enough but it is a great start to fanning the Spirit into flame.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of books for worship leaders and if you have any suggestions for this list please leave a comment below.