Music and worship

I think this is an interesting article to share, but may not be to everyone’s taste. Particularly interesting is the following point:

I have heard a number of New Zealand pastors and worship leaders express a concern that worship and music have virtually become synonymous

-Steve Worsley, pastor.

Here’s the article I wrote in 2007, for Challenge Weekly.

Getting one step ahead with worship…

By Peter Veugelaers

A New Zealand-made worship leader’s training resource has been created by Petone Baptist pastor Steve Worsley and is on the market.

Mr Worsley spent 11 years collating material for the One Step Ahead kit, which he offers as one possible solution to contemporary worship needs.

He believes worship leaders and their pastors in local churches are really the only ones who can bring real change in styles of worship.

“In recent years I have heard a number of New Zealand pastors and worship leaders express a concern that worship and music have virtually become synonymous but that worship in reality is much more than the singing of songs.”

Steve Wosley

Mr Worsley has a “massive” file of articles about Christian worship from Christian magazines and newspapers. He spent three months out of ministry to digest these along with reading up about recent trends and thinking on corporate worship around the world.

Within the Baptist movement he has taken a number of workshops and seminars on worship both with pastors and with worship leaders, he says, and asks: “How might services look today if we put that same creativity and flair into other worship forms?” One Step Ahead seeks to address these issues. 

“It is striking when you study worship in the early church how little emphasis there was on singing and music. The New Testament makes just a couple of mentions of believers ‘singing a hymn’ and the earliest descriptions of worship that we have from outside the Bible don’t mention singing at all.

“Communion had a much bigger place in corporate worship. In fact, the early church seemed to be really excited about communion, whereas today it can at times feel like a tired routine.

“I was fascinated to find out why the early church was so excited about communion. Other worship forms like confession, prayer, scripture reading, meditation, and the offering have had much greater emphasis historically than they currently have in most Baptist-style settings.

“Today we put a lot of time, effort and creativity into the planning of our songs and making them sound contemporary. How might services look today if we put that same creativity and flair into these other worship forms also?”

Mr Worsley says the issues his course tackles are faced in any setting where there is a ‘worship leader’. One Step Ahead is designed for the pastor and worship leaders to do together one session per month.

There are 11 sessions including one on visual aids in worship and another about a biblical and historical understanding of the subject.

“It allows them to work through questions in their own setting and come up with their own unique approaches.

“I think there are a number of Pentecostal churches that would find usefulness in this material and even some Catholic settings where there is a ‘contemporary’ service in place.

“I guess its primary usefulness is likely to be found with Baptists, Presbyterians, Salvation Army, Brethren, contemporary Anglican and the like.”

Liturgical settings, where the order and content of a service is set, would face very different issues and thus would find this material of only limited use, Mr Worsley said.

The kit was made available to churches in November last year. The contents include a participant guide, leader’s guide and a DVD. It costs $220 plus $15 a guide for each participant.

The participant guide contains resources for a worship leader to use as idea-starters and reference tools as they prepare for the leading of worship. “Over 50 churches have purchased this material so far, including Baptist, Anglican, Presbyterian and Brethren churches,” Mr Worsley said.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on

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