More than Music; Becoming a Highly Effective Worship Team is a biblically sound presentation of why and how singers, instrumentalists, and technicians can come together to lead the People of God in corporate worship. Team members are shown how to find the dynamic center between cultural effectiveness and spiritual power.
In More than Music: Becoming a Highly Effective Worship Team, I attempt to bring my life’s work as a writer, biblical student, and experienced worship pastor to bear on the fundamental and perennial challenges of worship team ministry. Because worship is expressed by culture, these two things become almost inseparable in our thinking, but separate them we must. Culture is temporary and worship is eternal; it is essential for an effective worship team to constantly monitor these differences. Toward this goal, I have written the book in two sections:
1. The Biblical Study of Worship, and
2. The Biblical Study of Worship Leading.
The biblical instructions and principles of worship are eternal and absolute, applicable to all cultures. The local praxis of worship leading is temporary and relative, applicable in one place at one time. I want to clearly set for the differences between the two.
The Biblical Study of Worship
In the first half of the book, we explore biblical terminology and models of worship. The reader is introduced to the original biblical meanings of important worship terms:
• Worship in Spirit and Truth,
• Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and
• Praise and worship.
Seven biblical models of worship are presented which illustrate vital and universal aspects of worship.
• The structure of worship,
• The identity of worshipers,
• The function of worshipers,
• The Throne of God in worship,
• The Office-place of God in worship, and
• The flow of the River of Life through worship.
The Biblical Study of Worship Leading
The second half of the book applies these truths to the ministry of the worship team. I do not speak to controversial issues in public worship. My goal is to make application of the biblical truth that has the power to solve these conflicts. This book is not about the style of music or of technical presentations. I want to point out the eternal things so that the temporary things can be clearly seen. This is my attempt to “prove all things and hold fast to the good.” In this way, these biblical principles and instructions can be useful across cultural divides.
Here are the topics explored in the second half of the book:
• The Leadership of the Holy Spirit,
• The Heart of the True Worshiper,
• The Call of God to lead worship,
• Finding the Dynamic Center between competing demands,
• An Effective Prayer Life, and,
• Continuing the work of Worship Renewal into the next generation.
Becoming a Highly Effective Worship Team
This is more than a subtitle; it expresses my intention to produce a useful study to help worship leaders and worship team members do this ministry well. Being on the team should be a delight and not a burden. Problems plaguing worship teams can be solved as the Holy Spirit does His work through the application of the Word in our hearts.
Suggestions for Use
More than Music is designed as a 12-week study course. I have tried to write each chapter to read by team members before the class session and then taught by the worship leader. At the close of each chapter, there are seven discussion statements/questions to help the team process the truths presented.
Plans for Use:
• A season 12 week Sunday School-type of class,
• A year-long monthly teaching fellowship,
• A personal study by each team member,
• Weekly chapter readings with rehearsal devotions discussing the end of the chapter study questions, and
• A supplemental text in college and seminar classrooms studying the ministry of the worship team and worship leader.
God has not called us to failure but to highly effective ministry! From hearts set aflame by the Holy Spirit, and human frames prepared by diligence to be skillful, the Lord will shine forth. As the Psalmist predicts, from Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth!
True worship is the hope of this fallen world. It is no wonder that worship is More than Music! ~ Stephen Phifer, D.W.S
Steve Phifer is a third generation Assemblies of God minister with family roots going back to the founding decade of the Pentecostal movement. At age 15, he felt a call to a life in music and at age 17 received a call to preach. He abandoned a life in music and made plans to train to be a pastor. The Lord had other plans for him.
Through miraculous circumstances and through open and closed doors, Steve decided that both calls were valid and he accepted music scholarships at Arkansas A&M College in the fall of 1967. In the summer of 1968, he applied for and received his initial ministerial recognition with the Arkansas Assemblies of God. After graduation with a BME in June 1971, he accepted a band director position at his hometown high school. Steve and his parents also began a traveling preaching and singing ministry as, "The Phifers."
It was through this ministry that Steve met Freeda Woolf, a music major at the University of Central Arkansas. They married in June 1974 and began full-time ministry in June 1975. They moved quickly up the ranks (Camden, North Little Rock) of leadership in church music in Arkansas and in Kansas.
In 1980, after 9 years of teaching and music ministry leadership, Steve became the principle worship leader for Bethel Life Center in Wichita, KS. While serving there, Steve began work on a Masters of Music Education at Wichita State University. In 1984 they moved to Winston-Salem to served as Worship Pastor at First Assembly of God in that city. He finished his masters in 1986 and found himself deep in the biblical study of Worship. That work eventually became his book, "Worship that Pleases God: the Passion and Reason of True Worship."
His work in his 30s and early 40s consumed most of his creative energy because of the tremendous move of God at that church. In 1993, Steve was tapped as Field Representative for Worship Arts for the Assemblies of God and in 1995, he answered the call to join the music faculty of Southeastern Assemblies of God College in Lakeland, FL.
Soon, he felt the call back into local church leadership for another 10 years. He earned the Doctor of Worship Studies degree from The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies in 2004. He was the first Classical Pentecostal to finish this degree.
In 2008, 40 years after becoming a credential minister, Steve retired from church staff ministry to write and teach biblical concepts of worship and worship leading. He formed The Worship Renewal Center as a website presence for his writing: StevePhifer.com. In 2008 Steve and Dr. Billy DeSanto of the University of Valley Forge in PN designed the Master of Arts in Worship Studies degree. Steve authored and teaches these classes: Introduction to Worship Studies, Biblical Foundations of Worship, Pentecostal Spirituality, Developing and Leading the Worship Team, Pastoring the Worshiping Community, and Lead Pastor--Lead Worshiper. In 2017, Steve completed a full year of daily devotions published at PathofLifeDevotions.com. In 2018 he plans to publish a full year of devotions called "The Jesus Story."
Freeda is an accomplished pianist, musical theatre director, and music educator. She and Steve have two daughters who married two outstanding young men of God: Matt and Nicole Huett of North Carolina and Manny and Jennifer Foret of Florida. They have two delightful grandsons, Charlie and Samuel Foret.
We are so excited about this new release from Stephen Phifer. Our team is working hard to make this book available as soon as possible. Keep an eye on your inbox for more news concerning this book.
Many Blessings ~ Bridgett Henson