There are books that enter your life at just the right time. For me, Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin was one of those books. Bob humbly and biblically lays out what it looks like to be an effective worship leader, both theologically & practically. This single book changed the way I led worship and helped me to have greater clarity in why I wanted to lead worship.
Bob is someone I’ve watched for years and considered a mentor from afar. He’s one of those people who live their life in a way that is worth emulating. He loves God well, his family well, & serves his church well. He’s got some incredible thoughts below, so take the time to read his entire post.
Bob currently serves as the Director of Sovereign Grace Music for Sovereign Grace Ministries, and is also an Associate Pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. He has over 40 years of experience leading worship and leading in a local church, so I’m grateful that Bob would take time to share his thoughts with us.
Stick around til the end of the post to see how you can get your own FREE copy of Worship Matters!
Name || Bob Kauflin
Church & Role || Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Assoc. Pastor
Main Instrument || Piano
Fun Fact || I have 16 grandchildren.
(All emphasis from Chris)
1) How did you learn to/get into leading worship?
I was part of an inner city church in Philly in the mid-70s, majoring in piano. Just seemed natural to help out with the music at my church.
2) What is the most helpful habit you have developed as a Worship Leader?
I can’t limit this to one. Praying for the people I’m going to lead, reading the lyrics to the songs I’ve chosen, and expecting God’s Spirit to do more than I’ve planned.
3) What has helped you develop as a Worship Leader?
So many things! First, I had a faithful mentor in CJ Mahaney, who every Sunday for years would chat with me immediately following the service. He’d tell me things that he thought were really helpful and then suggest things that could have been better. Some of his comments have stayed with me to this day.
Second, I read a lot of books on the theology of worship that weren’t written by musicians. Engaging with God by David Peterson, Worship by the Book ed. By D.A. Carson, Unceasing Worship by Harold Best, Christ-Centered Worship by Bryan Chapell, Recalling the Hope of Glory by Allen Ross, For the Glory of God by Daniel Block, and a few more.
Third, growing in my understanding of pastoring and how people change. I found the materials from CCEF (David Powlison, Ed Welch, Paul Tripp) particularly helpful in this area.
Fourth, doing a lot of things badly and listening to other people point them out.
4) What’s one thing you wish you would have known 10 years ago?
Maybe this should be like 30 years ago for me since I’ve been leading for 40 years. I wish I had known God has called us to be faithful stewards and not creative innovators when we lead people in congregational song. My job is to help people see who God is and what he’s already done for us in Christ, not distract them with my cleverness.
5) If you could only give one piece of advice to a growing Worship Leader, what would it be?
It’s an old Puritan phrase: Labor to be affected by the cross.
There is nothing more amazing, more transforming, more clarifying, more motivating, than understanding what Jesus accomplished on Calvary and how God revealed himself to us through Christ. Glorying in the gospel is a never ending source of comfort, security, power, wonder, joy, hope, and faith.
We move on from the gospel not because it’s deficient but because we haven’t grasped its meaning and implications. I’ve been helped by numerous books outside the Bible including The Valley of Vision, The Cross of Christ by John Stott, Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney, and In My Place Condemned He Stood by J.I. Packer and Mark Dever.
I’m humbled that Bob took the time to share his response with us. I don’t know about you, but I’m so encouraged by his perspective of the cross, and his incredibly practical advice for how to grow as a worship leader.
Honestly, if you’re considering seminary or a next step in your training as a worship leader, go buy some or all of the books Bob mentioned above and you’ll be well on your way to deepening your understanding of what it means to worship God.
Bob has been kind enough to provide 3 copies of Worship Matters to give away to cdenning.com Newsletter Subscribers. All you need to do to enter the drawing is CLICK HERE to SUBSCRIBE by Friday, March 6.
Congrats to the winners of the Worship Matters drawing, Michael Lantz, Christina McConnell, & Jayvee Marcelo!
(Current subscribers may also enter. Email addresses will never be shared with anyone. Winner will be picked Friday, March 6.)