IVP UK has just published my new book Encountering God Together: Biblical Patterns for Ministry and Worship. Later in the year, it will be published by Presbyterian and Reformed in the USA. This paperback was written to help everyone involved in planning and leading church services think more biblically and creatively about this important ministry. Questions for review and reflection at the end of each chapter make it possible to use the book as a basis for group discussion. Pastors could especially consider using it as a training resource for those who share in the leadership of services.
The book begins by applying the biblical theology I outlined in Engaging with God to what we do when we gather as Christians. So there are chapters on The Gathering of God, Worshipping God, Edifying the Church and Patterns of Service. Then, there are chapters exploring specific issues such as Listening to God, Praying Together, Praising God, Singing Together, Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.
My prayer is that a better interaction with biblical teaching will cause those who lead congregational worship to reflect and plan and contribute more effectively. Our aim should be to honour and glorify God, as we take our part in the edification of his church. But we cannot do this unless we engage more honestly and holistically with what he has revealed to us in Scripture, considering also the way Christians throughout history have responded to its challenges.
Almost fifteen years ago, David Peterson’s book Engaging with God rocked my world. I had never read a book that so effectively combined faithful biblical scholarship with a passion for the gospel and linked both of them to what we call “worship.” It remains my number one book to recommend on the theology of worship. His new book, Encountering God Together, is a long-awaited follow-up, providing biblical, practical, and insightful guidelines for thinking through how God wants us to meet with him as we meet with each other. He covers a broad range of topics including prayer, Scripture reading, preaching, bodily expression, liturgy, evangelism, and emotions. And as you’d expect, the beauty and power of Christ’s atoning work shine throughout. Tight in all the right places and encouraging biblically informed freedom everywhere else, Encountering God Together should be read by anyone involved in planning or leading gatherings of the church.’
Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace Ministries, USA
‘David Peterson has done an excellent job in applying the theological framework of his earlier book, Engaging with God, to the practical realities of corporate worship within the life of the church. This book is fair-minded and generous, full of biblical insight and practical wisdom. Leaders of churches, congregations, preachers and musicians alike will all benefit from it.’
John Risbridger, Minister and Team Leader, Above Bar Church, Southampton; Chair of Keswick Ministries
‘What a breath of fresh air for our meeting with God and one another! David brings his theological insights and his pastoral longings together to help us reflect on how we do church in community. This is a wonderfully healthy and practical guide and challenge for those who lead and speak in Christian gatherings, but also for all of us who participate. To know better what we are doing and why will help us to make the very most of these times.’
Paul Perkin, St Mark’s Battersea Rise, London