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The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services Paperback – March 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A Comprehensive, Practical Method for Worship Design

The Worship Architect provides a blueprint for designing worship services that foster meaningful conversation with God and the gathered community. Constance Cherry sets forth basic principles and demonstrates how those principles are conducive to virtually any style of worship practiced today in a myriad of Christian communities. Worship leaders will learn how to create services that are faithful to Scripture, historically conscious, relevant to God, Christ-centered, and engaging for worshipers of all ages.

"Cherry shows us that pastoral theology and the practice of theology is never an 'either-or' but always a 'both-and.' Let's follow her lead and rediscover the unity that exists between the two."--Robert E. Webber, author of Ancient-Future Worship

"Cherry's book is one I have been hoping for. The Worship Architect is a helpful combination of solid theology, artistic creativity, pastoral sensitivity, and wisdom gained from the author's wealth of experience in leading and planning worship."--Lester Ruth, Lily May Jarvis Professor of Christian Worship, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Many books about corporate worship focus on style and technique, neglecting theological substance. Others are substantive but neglect the vital role that stylistic choices and approaches to planning have in the week-in, week-out life of congregations. Cherry approaches her task by inviting us all to make regular border crossings between theory and practice. The result is a book well-suited to promote the lifelong learning needed for any effective ministry leader."--John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

"Congratulations to Constance Cherry for offering a much-needed guide for planning worship in our divergent and often antagonistic context of Christian worship. The Worship Architect offers biblical, historical, and theological material to help readers understand the choices before worship planners and leaders today. Cherry then offers worship leaders practical and responsible recommendations for discerning among the options they face. This is a most welcome book for a crucial time."--Todd E. Johnson, Brehm Chair of Worship, Theology, and the Arts, Fuller Theological Seminary

About the Author

Constance M. Cherry (DMin, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of worship and Christian ministries at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. She formerly taught at Winebrenner Theological Seminary and is a permanent part-time professor for the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. She has served local churches as a minister of music/worship and as a United Methodist pastor.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103874X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801038747
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been teaching a Theology and Worship course for four years now and have struggled to find the right readings because, as Paul Westermeyer and Charlotte Kroeker both agree, the study of Church music is vastly interdisciplinary. While I delight in the theoretical questions that surround the church and its musical culture, when we get down to the rubber hitting the road applications like the order of service, song selection, and congregational participation, The Worship Architect serves us well.

Honestly, I typically have an 'allergic reaction' to prescriptive ministry texts. While the book is filled with lists and lists of practical questions and ideas, it avoids being pedantically heavy handed. Cherry's intent is to direct our attention to the important issues that must be addressed in order to plan our services well and she does this efficiently. The exhaustive content may be dizzying for my students but it is a valuable reference to have on hand for leaders. The book is worth its price if only for the concise list of questions for evaluating a worship song. I had groups of my student leaders use this in a training retreat last week and there was much fruit from their discussions and discernment.

The theological content in the first half of the text (Cherry's "four load bearing walls") may be relatively cursory, it serves as a good primer for opening the discussion of liturgical theology for novices--for the college student.

This will be an important book for training worship leaders from both traditional and contemporary churches but especially the contemporary. With the boom of contemporary worship in the last 20-30 years we need to expect more from our contemporary leaders than to be talented, winsome and spirit-filled.
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Very insightful. An in-depth book that can be appreciated by any Christian who desires a better understanding of what 'worship is all about'. Beneficial for "everyday Christians" and worship leaders alike.
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This book is a fantastic read for any pastor or worship leader desiring to make their services more biblical and meaningful. Cherry enhances our understanding of worship, provides a sound structure for planning and considering the elements of worship and gives tons of practical ideas. The beauty of this publication is that it is not limited in style, but instead cuts through a lot of the surface discussions and worship trends to get to the heart of of matters. I wish I had read this book years ago!
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Format: Paperback
As a pastor I've been reevaluating what we do in our worship gatherings and trying to determine how we can make them more Biblical. This book was extremely helpful in that process. The author begins by laying out a structure that can be supported with Biblical examples of how the four elements of worship are present in both Old Testament and New Testament worship. She then does an excellent job of providing examples to demonstrate the flexibility of how churches can incorporate those building blocks in a manner that is culturally relevant to each specific congregation. This book really transcends any specific denominational distinctives or worship styles and would be useful in any church setting.

The only real disagreement I had with the content is how the author broke church music into nine "families" of songs - after all Paul only found it necessary to describe three types - psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. And then she emphasized how all nine types should be integrated into worship, which really seems to contradict the entire premise of her book - "culturally relevant" worship. While I agree with the need to include a variety of music types in worship, trying to "force" certain types of songs into a congregation where they are not culturally relevant actually seems to me like it would tend to take away from the message of the gospel rather than enhance it. But this is a pretty minor gripe compared to how helpful the book is overall.

This book will remain on my desk as a tool to use in developing our worship gatherings each week.
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This is one of the books the professor assigned for a class I TA'ed this past spring. It is well organized, clearly written, and has accessible language. I would recommend this for both M.Div student and those who are already in ministry.
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She raises some good points. There is a lot of backup information that basically reiterates what the Bible says about worship, and I felt these sections could have easily been abridged as they felt more like filler than useful additions. Overall it seems it took a lot of writing to say only a few things. Her biases in worship definitely seep into her writing, but I would expect most books with similar goals to be written in similar ways. Overall I would recommend pastors and music directors at least skim through or focus on select chapters to help improve the worship experience at their church.
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This book combines Biblical, historical and practical principles to lead the reader in designing worship. It goes beyond teaching styles into the how to format the worship to be able to reach the majority of the congregation. The only reasin I don't give it a perfect score is that I believe the author could have said as much in fewer words: a lot of arguments are repeated from one chapter to the next. (In all fairness, this very well could have been intentional, to drive the point.)
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