Book Review: Essential Worship: A Handbook for Leaders, by Greg Scheer
With the credentials—composer, author, musician, and minister of worship—on your resume, you would assume the individual knows a thing or two about worship. That is certainly true of Greg Scheer in his book, Essential Worship: A Handbook for Leaders. His book is a primer on worship and covers everything from principles to practices of worship.
The author begins by laying out the basic principles and definitions of worship. He then looks backwards to examine the biblical and historical roots of worship. With this as a foundation, he then delves into the role of music and the arts in worship.
In the introduction, the author explains that he came from a charismatic background, or as he describes himself—a failed Pentecostal. He later served in a Presbyterian Church and is now serving in the Christian Reformed Church denomination. It is helpful to know his background because his views on worship reflect those perspectives and denominational practices. He emphasizes following liturgy and the use of the lectionary, as well as celebrating communion on a weekly basis.
While the book is comprehensive, I found it too detailed for my own interest. It began to feel like a textbook designed for a class for worship leaders. It felt like worship was portrayed from a worship leader’s viewpoint rather than a balanced perspective. While his perspective on music and the arts is helpful, he downplays the role and importance of preaching. As a senior pastor, I was put off by his description of a typical worship service as a “mini-concert followed by a lecture.”
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.