|Size:||5.0 in x 7.0 in|
|Published:||February 23, 2021|
Sunday worship isn’t just about drawing near to God as an individual—it’s about praising God together with his people.
Christians “worship” God at church every week, but many don’t know exactly what worship is or why they do it. For some, it’s a warm-up for the sermon. For others, worship is a “me-and-Jesus” moment. But what is the biblically informed way to view corporate worship?
In this addition to the 9Marks Building Healthy Churches series, Matt Merker explores the Bible’s teaching about corporate worship as an activity in which God gathers the church by his grace, unto his glory, for his people’s mutual good, and before the world’s gaze. This book offers a biblical and theological perspective on this often misunderstood topic so believers can participate in gathered worship that is God-centered and mutually edifying, rather than for self-fulfillment.
“We first met Matt Merker after hearing his incredible hymn, ‘He Will Hold Me Fast.’ Since then, he has become a friend, cowriter, and eventually, fellow leader in our team. His vision and voice on the subject of the gathered worship of God’s people has enriched so much of our thinking personally and in our organization. Matt shows pastors, music leaders, and all of us how to keep our focus on the Bible’s priorities for corporate worship: God’s glory, the church’s growth, and proclaiming the gospel to the world. As Matt himself says, you do not need to agree with every specific application for this volume to be a major help in planning and preparing for the Sunday service. Rather, this book reminds us all to rediscover the wonderful reality that God gathers us together as a united body to hear his word and sing his praise. We have long been praying for a deepening of congregational worship around the globe in the twenty-first century, and we warmly commend this book as one resource that we trust will be used by God toward that end.”
Keith and Kristyn Getty, hymn writers; recording artists; authors, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church
“The worship of God demands our full attention. It is not a subject to be taken lightly, but thoughtfully and biblically. This contribution by Matt Merker points us in that direction, and anyone charged with leading corporate worship would do well to listen.”
Matt Boswell, Pastor, The Trails Church, Celina, Texas; hymn writer
“A number of books in recent decades have addressed the vital topic of what God wants churches to do when they gather on the Lord’s day. Some are richly theological. Others are thoughtfully practical. Matt Merker’s new book, Corporate Worship, is both and more. Drawing from a diverse church background and a deep commitment to studying and applying God’s word, Matt stands firm on nonnegotiable issues and winsomely approaches negotiable ones. Above all, he keeps us focused on Jesus Christ, the one in whose name we gather, and whose substitutionary death and victorious resurrection are the reason we worship. Wherever you find yourself on the liturgical spectrum, Corporate Worship will encourage you toward more theologically driven, emotionally engaging, and Christ-exalting gatherings.”
Bob Kauflin, Director, Sovereign Grace Music; author, Worship Matters and True Worshipers
“Not too many people have stopped to think about what it means to worship, let alone what it means to worship together as the body of Christ. This brief but significant book will help you understand the nature of corporate worship in a biblical sense. Matt Merker reminds us that we gather together at God’s invitation to glorify his name and to celebrate as a community what he has done in and through the work of Christ. The church gathering is only a foretaste of what will take place in heaven, as we can glimpse from Revelation 5. What we do in personal worship should have a corporate expression to reflect the unity of the Spirit and as a testimony to the unbelieving world. Merker is trying to help the worship experience of the church of our days as we understand its nature and the purpose for which we gather.”
Miguel Núñez, Senior Pastor, International Baptist Church of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
“In this book, Matt Merker brings to us in a refreshing way a truth about the church that we often take for granted: namely, that the church is a gathered community for the purpose of worshiping God. Even under intense, life-threatening persecution, God’s people gather together and worship their Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and soon-coming King. This book is about why this must be the case and what ought to happen when the church gathers. Read it to underpin the vital place of corporate worship in your life as a believer and, indeed, in the life of your church!”
Conrad Mbewe, Pastor, Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia
“When correctly understood, corporate worship is more than just the highlight of the life of the church—it is the very center of the life of the church. When we gather, not only is the health and vitality of the church body put on display, but corporate worship also shapes and strengthens the life of the church. There is simply no way for a church to bypass anemic corporate gatherings to health in the life of the church. This little book is packed with both doctrine and counsel that will help the reader press toward a more Scripture-shaped vision for corporate worship. There is a treasure trove of grace to be found by the saints who will give themselves to approaching God in worship on his terms. In this book you will not only find helpful counsel on ways you can improve your corporate gatherings, but you will also be resourced with the biblical thinking that lies behind the biblical practice we all desire to grow in.”
Kenneth Mbugua, Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Nairobi, Kenya