David Burfield is a scientist by background and a theologian by profession, teaching at Sabah Theological College in Malaysia. He is also Methodist Local Preacher who understands well the challenges and opportunities of the preaching ministry – and a Headway member.
In Living Worship he explores in a direct and practical way the task of leading worship, and at a time when the church acknowledges that some are both called and gifted for the ministry of being Worship Leaders this book is timely and helpful. Its usefulness will not be limited to these and preachers, both new and experienced, will find some refreshment and help in its pages. In the introduction the author declares the aim as being ‘to provide a thoroughly practical publication, an aid to those leading or preparing to lead worship.’
The foundation principle of the book is that the Christian’s whole life is to be an act of worship from which spring acts of corporate worship which in turn feed back into life. Such acts must be satisfying to body, mind and soul. For this to be effective time has to be spent in preparation and in a chapter on ‘Patterns of Worship’ this is discussed effectively.
The book is intensely practical. For example the chapter on prayer has subsections on extempore and written prayers, listening, litanies and responsive prayers together with advice on the preparation and use of different forms of prayer. Similarly the chapter on praise has in its introduction, ‘Praise is undeniably central to worship, but urgent attention needs to be paid to the way in which we praise God, in particular to provide variety in our expressions of praise, integrate praise into the overall pattern of worship, have a balance between praise and other aspects of worship.’
Throughout the book David Burfield seeks to clarify the biblical and theological reasons for what he is saying and generally speaking does this with both clarity and simplicity. He addresses questions most preachers have to face week by week and reminds us in various ways that the preacher is not a one-man band but is part of a team of gifted people who deal with word, music, style and environment.
Living Worship is carefully written. Chapters are clearly constructed and each ends with a short summary of what has been written; the whole is supported by ample references and a short but useful bibliography. I commend the book to worship leaders, preachers and those who train them