A Must Read Book For Worship Leaders and Pastors: Discover The Mystery of Faith

Mystery of FaithNotForItchingEars.com was born out of my utter frustration with, and sincere love for, the evangelical church.  Having visited congregation after congregation and reading many studies, I  knew something was wrong.

I spent a considerable amount of time pleading with the pastors and  leaders of the church at large to come back to the ancient path.  I challenged many worship leaders to re-think the worship services they led.

The response of many in the worship leading community was less than enthusiastic.  Most people just wanted me to shut up and go away in the name of Christ!   Though many of those  being “led” in worship, tended to be less severe.  They knew something was wrong.

With that as a background, I want to enthusiastically and without reservation recommend Glenn Packiam’s new book: “Discover The Mystery of Faith”. 

Glenn, as you may know, is one of the founding leaders and songwriters for The Desperation Band, and has been a very prominent worship leader in his own right.   If you are part of a contemporary worship style church, you have undoubtedly sung his songs during corporate worship.

But something began to stir in him several years ago:

I began to think there was something deeply wrong with the way we led people into worship…”

…The more I thought about our worship services and how the way we worship really does shape the way we believe, the more I wondered, Dear God, what have we been feeding them?…

If our songs are juvenile, they may simply be a symptom of our adolescent faith.  But maybe they are also part of the problem. Maybe our simplistic, peppy songs actually perpetuate our spiritual adolescence.

…Perhaps part of the reason the Church is malnourished and our faith is anemic is because our worship services have become a theological Happy Meal.”

You can read more about Glenn’s transforming journey in the introductory chapters of his book.  Though we had absolutely nothing to do with his transformation, I’m encouraged to see this type of change take place in such a prominent worship leader.  It gives one hope that many others will follow.

The best part of the book is Glenn Packiam’s recipe for renewal, calling the church back to a more ancient way.  He gives plenty of food for thought, and anyone responsible for corporate worship will find it a refreshing and informative read.

While still occasionally leading worship, Glenn now pastors a church that combines contemporary worship with the ancient traditions of the church.  I have attended this congregation many times (to tell you the truth, it is now the congregation I call home!), and I have seen first hand the remedies that Glenn outlines in his book.

Who should read this book?  1)Pastors who realize that the model of church they have embraced is faulty.  It’s not working, and you know it isn’t, but you don’t know where to turn.  2) Worship leaders of every persuasion.  If you have been leading worship for 7-10 years, you also know that something is not quite right, even if you can’t admit it publicly.  You owe it to yourself and especially the ones you lead to pick up a copy of “Discover The Mystery of Faith”.  3)Elders, and all those who have leadership roles in their congregations.

Finally, 4) to all of my brothers and sisters who have been struggling with your own church leadership. I encourage you to read this book!  Perhaps it will help point you in a new unexpected direction.

And at $3 for the ebook, how can you go wrong?

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on March 26, 2013, in Christianity, Church Leadership, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks Jim. Landed in my Kindle, and into chapter 4. Moving thought by the author, “The way we worship becomes the way we believe.” Sending a ping… blessings.

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  2. Hi Jim. I got to your blog from a link on “A Disciple’s Study” blog. Obviously your blog name grabbed me. Good choice.

    I have to share a related thought. Maybe it’s just hopeless to think that things will change, but when you mention the ancient path, I can’t help but thing that “Mr. whomever pastors such and such church,” we’re already off the ancient path. We have a system, and it seems to manage to be untouched by reform, yet there’s no scriptural precedent for it. There’s a pastor and his staff. The primary mark of the “church” is the Sunday meeting. Is this really the scriptural precedent?

    Many churches are changing some practicals. “Cell groups” and “life groups” give people a chance to do more than sit and listen. But the basic structure and idea remains unchanged: if you want to start a church, build a building and hire a pastor.

    We say that the Bible is our sole rule for faith and practice, but yet we all follow a very similar weekly schedule, hold very similar services in a set order, and hire a pastor trained in a far away seminary. Is it really the Bible from which we get those practices?

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    • HI Paul,

      Great Questions!

      One of the great challenges of church leadership is the ability to recognize what is truly a Biblical and historical practice of the church and what is our cultural stuff. Having a band for our service is a very new concept in the church, essentially starting in the late 1960’s. That is more of a cultural thing. Communion, on the other hand, has been the MAIN element of the gathered church since Pentecost. It is hard to scripturally “prove” that having a band is right or wrong, but we can pull a couple of Psalms together to justify it, or at least give us enough support to feel it isn’t anti-scriptural. It is easy to argue for communion as having a central place in our worship from both a scriptural as well as a historical approach.

      The early church saw church leadership completely different than we moderns do. Many of these leaders were discipled by Jesus himself, or by the Apostles or by those who were discipled by the Apostles. I think anyone who desires to lead the people of God would be well served by studying leadership in the early church through the lens of the early church. They changed their world in less than 200 years and did it without owning buildings, without money, with unbelievable obstacles to overcome like being eaten alive in the Coliseum, and without a band. For those who have ears to hear, the early church has a lot to say.

      Most younger people who desire to become church leaders have little understanding of where the church has come from. The reason there are so many similarities today between the churches is that many leaders simply embrace the model they grew up with or were discipled in. There was a time, as a young pastor, when I thought the same way. I was guilty of using circular reasoning: “Of course what we are doing is biblical and scriptural, we wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t would we?” That is a cultural thing. It takes a wise person to be able to discern the difference, and a courageous leader with another source of income to walk his people down that path.

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      • You wrote: ” … and a courageous leader with another source of income to walk his people down that path.”

        Thanks for your response. I do tend to forget the “money trail” despite the fact that I have a friend who has gone the hard route and taken a full-time non-pastoral job. That is indeed one of the other things that stands in the way. People’s livelihoods are at stake.

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  1. Pingback: Discover the Mystery of Faith: How Worship Shapes Believing « Resting in His Grace

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