Reading books is one way every worship leader can grow in not only their skills for leading worship but also their personal relationship with the Lord. This, in turn, makes a more skilled worship leader. And gives you a deep well to draw from when leading others into the throne room of God.
With all the world’s noise constantly hitting us via our phones, even in our downtime at home, picking up a book (especially a book on worship leading) with printed pages can be medicine for the soul. So let’s look at 21 books every worship leader should read on the journey to grow in their craft and walk with God.
The Reset is all about “returning to the heart of worship and a life of undivided devotion.” The book’s concept is that although people are finally more familiar with modern worship music, the true purity and heartbeat of worship has seemingly become faint. Jeremy presents an appeal with this book. A call to action for worship leaders to reorder everything they do. To restore the purity and fullness of God’s glory in worship.
There’s a wealth of knowledge and wisdom penned by A.W. Tozer for all Christ followers and all part of the Christian walk. And worship is no exception. This classic by Tozer drives home the belief that worship is the sole reason for which creation exists. It is a provocation for the church to return to true, spiritual worship with high thoughts of God.
The last of James Goll’s The Lost Arttrilogy series, The Lost Art of Pure Worship, is a book for worship leaders that is spoken into by the voices of Chris DuPre, Jeff Deyo, Sean Feucht, Julie Meyer, and Rachel Goll Tucker. With this collective perspective, we can glean much about the precious act of worship. From practical truths to passionate purpose, this book is a great tool for individual worship and the global worship movement.
This book is a highly personal testimony from Brian Johnson that we can all learn from. As worship leaders, sometimes overcoming our issues gets in the way of the ministry we’re building. As one of the visionaries of the current worship movement, Brian also carried a lot of weight on his shoulders that came along with the success and blessings. In addition to Brian’s freedom from panic and anxiety, When God Becomes Real is also a gripping read on the overall history of Bethel Music.
Holy Roar is based on “7 words that will change the way you worship.” These Hebrew words, expounded on by Pastor Darren Whitehead, lay out the theological groundwork for a deeper understanding of how to worship. And worship leaders looking for a good read will appreciate Chris Tomlin’s perspective and stories around some of our favorite worship songs like “How Great is Our God,” “We Fall Down,” and “Good Good Father.”
The cleverly named book, Sound Check, focuses on practical spiritual disciplines and ways we can rely on the Holy Spirit while leading and seeking God’s presence to hear His voice. The separation of performance and worship is real. This book on “how worship teams can pursue authenticity, excellence, and purpose” is right on point regarding how to navigate this as worship leaders.
Knowing how to worship God is essential for all followers of Jesus, not just those of us on a church staff. But as worship leaders, we are tasked with “leading others to encounter the greatness of God,” and that’s not always easy. In Worship Matters, you’ll find instruction for pastors, musicians, and other church leaders to help build a culture of worship on an unchanging scriptural foundation.
Facedown by Matt Redman is one of those books every worship leader should read. It has quickly become a modern classic. As the author of the highly significant worship song “Heart of Worship,” Matt understands that worship is the center of all that we do and who we are, not just a small part of the Christian experience. Only with reverence and eyes opened to God’s holiness will we be able to go deeper in true worship for God in all His glory.
With a focus on “writing songs for contemporary worship,” Hillsong worship writer Amanda Fergusson shares valuable content for worship leaders to read on worship theology, the power of singing songs to God, and even the structure of our worship songs. When melodies, harmonies, rhythm, and lyrics come together as a rich expression of worship, we can truly write and experience the songs of heaven.
Another great book for worship leaders and a great tool to have in your toolbox if you’re interested in writing songs is The Songwriter’s Advocate by former Bethel Music artist and writer Matt Stinton. Matt goes into songwriting’s mechanics and practices, which are sure to be eye-opening and beneficial for the songwriting worship leader. The techniques in this book would be useful for any type of music. But are mostly focused on a contemporary worship song perspective.
If you ever feel like you’re having to hold on tightly just to make it through, this book by legendary Hillsong worship leader and writer of “Shout to the Lord,” Darlene Zschech, will help you find “God’s presence to be the calm on the other side of chaos.” It’s true that God writes beautiful stories and new beginnings out of the middle of our messy stories. If you’re going through a season of doubt, changing jobs or locations, or battling your health, “your faith will be lifted and increased with this new treasure,” as Chris Tomlin puts it in his review.
There’s plenty of wisdom for worship leaders to be found in this book by experienced worship leader Andy Park. Good counsel and practical advice make To Know You More a timeless tool for “cultivating the heart of the worship leader.” In it, Andy Park teaches how first to be a worshiper and then develop the skills in leading that are secondary but also important. This includes things like planning service flows, working with the pastor, team building, and more.
There’s no leader that’s easier to follow than a leader who’s living and leading from a place of rest. The Life You Long For is about “learning to live from a heart of rest.” The gentle, strong shepherding voice of renowned worship leader Christy Nockels will guide you into a Jesus-centered life as you read and settle into the natural rhythm of your calling. This is one of the great books for any worship leader and all followers of Jesus.
A testimony of the hit song “Redeemed” and the journey of Mike Weaver’s life, I Am Redeemed: Learning to Live in Grace is a story of God’s redemption of even the darkest areas and challenges of our lives. And God not only redeems our suffering but uses the powerful stories of our lowest of lows to shine truth and light to others as a beautiful offering. In this book, you’ll find inspiration for your walk as a child of God and your role as a worship leader.
As a “practical guide to praise and worship,” Exploring Worship is an amazing resource for worship ministry, focused on the essentials of corporate worship. Author Bob Sorge writes to worship leaders, musicians, songwriters, and singers in this equipping guide for the art and practice of leading worship. Full of timeless wisdom, this guide has been used to encourage and train worship leaders worldwide and contains insight from Jaye Thomas, Joseph Zwanziger, and Bryan Torwalt. This book is perfect for ministry and worship-leading students!
As a “professional Christian” in full-time ministry but struggling with the grips of depression and sin, Matt Papa’s world changed when He had a real encounter with the glory of God. Beyond our willpower to become “unstuck,” we need a glimpse of God’s glory more than anything to be truly transformed. Celebrated worship leader Matt Redman comments on author Matt Papa’s zeal for the glory of God that’s so evident in Look and Live, and it is contagious from its words and pages for the worshiper and worship leader.
As a book for the revivalist worship leader, Fire and Fragrance by Sean Feucht and Andy Byrd offers fresh discovery on a lifestyle of prayer and worship, what God is doing in today’s worship movement, and the ultimate mission of the Church to bring people to Christ. As a call to action for the next generation, this book will motivate readers to reignite the fire in their hearts for God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Understanding why you were born (your life’s purpose) is pretty important, regardless of your calling. As a worship leader, it’s important to understand how you were made. For This I Was Born by Hillsong’s senior pastor, Brian Houston, will help you come to know the cause of Christ, which is the ultimate meaning of life and will help you live a life of meaning. Get ready to unlock new vision, passion, and strength as you explore the reason we all have for living.
As worship leaders, we all hopefully understand that worship is more than just music. But how do we really transform every area of our lives through worship? How to Worship a King will help you “prepare your heart, prepare your world, and prepare the way.” In a no-nonsense fashion, Zach Neese teaches what the Bible says about the presence of God and how to lead others into it. This is one of those books that every worship leader needs.
In his book, Emerging Worship, Roland Worton calls for a new breed of worshipers. The concept of “hearing the sound of Heaven and bringing it to earth” is the premise of this transformational book for worship leaders. The concepts within will get worship leaders and church leaders thinking about how intercession and engagement with the biblical worship practices of King David will permeate cities, regions, and nations with the songs of Heaven.
The song “How He Loves,” written by John Mark McMillan, became a landmark in the world of the worship movement when it was led by Kim Walker-Smith with Jesus Culture and spread all around the world on video back in 2008. In Brave Surrender, Kim shares her journey from shame and fear to freedom and victory; and the story behind how that special moment in worship history came about. We will never be the same when we begin to encounter God’s love and see the way He sees.
What a list! These are definitely books every worship leader should read to develop a full understanding of the role of worship in the Church AND in our lives as followers of Jesus, sons, and daughters of the King, and priests for our generation.