The Practical Shepherding Series from Brian Croft continues to be a helpful resource for pastors. In one of his latest releases Brian writes with one of his pastors at Auburndale Baptist Church, Jason Adkins. In this volume, Gather God’s People: Understand, Plan, and Lead Worship in Your Local Church, Croft and Adkins offer a practical content to ensure that worship gatherings glorify God and bless God’s people. As a result, the book focuses on helping ministers to focus the worship services upon the Scripture.
The book is divided up into 3 sections. Part 1 focuses on the what the Bible says about worship, part 2 provides instruction on how to plan worship services, and part 3 talks about how pastors can put into practice what they have discussed in parts 1 and 2.
One aspect of this book that I greatly appreciated was how the authors emphasize that planning worship is a pastoral function and that the pastor is a worship leader. Too often we think of the worship leader as the person who leads music. While music is a component of worship it is not all; there is far more worship than music in our Sunday gatherings. The preaching, praying, reading of Scripture, and observances of the ordinances are all leading in worship. Even this little tweak can be revolutionary for pastors and congregations.
One of the strengths of this series by Croft is its accessibility. Practical Shepherding is short and immensely helpful. With this, the books do not cover everything that one might have questions on. There are other books that may provide more thorough treatment on the topics (on the topic of worship consider: Chappel or Kauflin or Cosper). Someone might also read this book and find that their model is a bit different than the context that Croft and Adkins write from. While some may find this to be a demerit of the book, I think this can be helpful for pastors and church leaders. There are some basic truths and convictions that undergird the ministry expressions of faithful churches in different contexts. If a church does not sing hymns or Psalms they can still find help here by the emphasis upon doctrinally rich, Christ-centered songs that drive minds and hearts back to the Scripture.
If you are looking for some practical instruction on why pastors should be active in the planning and leading of worship and then examples of how to do it—then this book will be very helpful for you.
You can pick up a discounted copy of Gather God’s People at Amazon.