Leaders are readers, and worship leaders should be no exception. Whether it’s to learn new skills, stay inspired, refresh your soul, learn more about God, or simply be entertained, worship leaders (you and I) should be regularly reading books!
Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of must-read books for worship leaders of all ages and stages. If you haven’t read some of these yet, we’d encourage you to pick one up and put it by your bedside. A little reading each night goes a long way!
These are the best books we’ve found to date for new (and growing) worship leaders. Let us know which ones you think we missed in the comments!
Worship Matters – Bob Kauflin
Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters is a classic. It’s like the original must-read book for any serious worship leader. Bob lays out the Biblical ways in which God desires to be worshipped and gives practical guidance for how we can work these principles out in our worship ministries and local congregations. If you haven’t read this yet, this is the first book you should add to your Amazon shopping list.
The Worship Pastor – Zac Hicks
This book is newer to the block, but is packed full of vital truths that you need to embed deep in your spirit. In The Worship Pastor, Zac argues that what you and I do each week is HIGHLY pastoral in nature, shaping people’s souls, and we should take that responsibility seriously. He then gives several metaphors that help you better understand your role as a worship leader. He calls you a “Dietician”, someone who needs to feed your church a balanced diet of Biblical themes in the songs you sing. Or a “Mortician”, someone who helps prepare people for their inevitable last breath. There are lots of helpful word pictures in this book, and it will really inform how you should understand your role. Definitely check it out.
Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars – Steven Miller
This little book is a quick and easy read. Similar to the book above, Steven Miller wants you to realize that worship leading is not about you, it’s not about music, it’s about God. Written in a very accessible style, you could easily read this book in an afternoon. It’s a good reminder and a good reset for our glory-hungry hearts.
Spiritual Leadership – J. Oswald Sanders
Spiritual Leadership is a book all about what it takes to be a leader in God’s church. It’s about character. It’s about heart. It’s about the things that qualify a man or woman to be a person of integrity and influence in the Kingdom of God. It will teach you which qualities are necessary to lead others in a growing relationship with God. And which ones are needed to withstand the Spiritual Battlefield called “ministry.” Each chapter focuses on one characteristic. Definitely grab this book and prepare to be convicted!
Dangerous Calling – Paul David Tripp
Another highly convicting book, but one of the most important books on this list. Full-time ministry can truly be a dangerous place for us spiritually. That might seem counter-intuitive, but Paul’s point is that if we’re not actively keeping our hearts fresh and sensitive to God, our calling can quietly slip into a lifeless obligation. We can go through the motions and forget our connection to God (something many worship leaders can relate to). We can preach grace to others but stop seeing our own need for it. There are many pitfalls for anyone in ministry and this book will help you guard you against them. A must read!
Knowledge of the Holy – A.W. Tozer
As worship leaders, we ought to have a deep and robust understanding of God’s nature. We must worship Him in Spirit and TRUTH. To worship God in Truth means to worship Him for who He truly is! Yet few worship leaders have had a proper theological education. This little book by famed author and preacher A.W. Tozer will give you glimpses into the grandeur and glory of God. A.W. Tozer tackles big topics like God’s immutability, or God’s omnipotence and packs them into short, vivid, punchy chapters that will leave you in awe of God once again. As a bonus, you can even go through these chapters with your team as devotional material. This book is a classic for a reason. One you should have on your bookshelf.
Sing! – Keith and Kristyn Getty
Keith and Kristyn Getty want to remind you that corporate worship is about the people connecting with God. It’s not about what happens on the stage. It’s about what happens in the room! In fact, in our modern worship context, sometimes what happens on the stage can hinder our people from participating in gathered worship. Fancy lights, loud sound, huge bands, can drown out the voices of the people who simply want to express their praises to God. Our current way of doing things can often turn our people from participants to spectators. This book is a great tool for evaluating and even resetting your ministry to get back to the heart of what matters to God: The people singing! You can also check out the interview I did with Keith about this topic HERE.
Rhythms of Grace – Mike Cosper
Mike Cosper (now known for producing the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill Podcast) was once a worship pastor at a local church. Mike’s book “Rhythms of Grace” was the first book that exposed me to the idea that worship services can be used over long periods of time to form people into the image of Christ. In his book, Mike talks about “liturgy” and shows that how we structure our services can help people better understand God and the Gospel. If you desire to do more than simply pick four random songs each week, definitely check out the methodology Mike lays out in this great book.
Corporate Worship – Matt Merker
Matt recently released this book as part of the “9 Marks” curriculum for building healthy churches. In it, Matt lays out a Biblical vision for corporate worship and its importance in the broader life of a church community. He wants you to understand what is happening when we gather, why it matters according to God’s word, and how you can get the most out of those times together. A great primer on corporate worship, even if you don’t happen to agree with all the methods Matt would like you to adopt.
Humility – Andrew Murray
Last but not least, Humility by Andrew Murray. Absolutely convicting book about Christ’s humility and humiliation and how He calls us to adopt the same mindset. Worship leaders can often be known as prideful. This book will help you slay that wicked attitude and truly become the humble, lowly worship leader that God is calling you to be.
So those are our top ten books for worship leaders.
What do you think we missed? What would you add to the list? Leave us a comment below and let us know!
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