Corporate Worship by Matt Merker is the most recent installment in the Building Healthy Churches series of books. This series helps Christians obey the biblical commands that are an integral part of growing a healthy church.
This volume addresses the matter of worship. As such, it focuses on issues that revolve around participants at church and the specifics of worship in the local church setting.
Merker sets the stage by revealing some helpful word pictures that show the importance of corporate worship. First, a local church is “an outpost of the kingdom of heaven.” Second, the local church is “a holy temple.” The key here is to understand that corporate worship is a matter of feasting. “Christ himself hosts us at his banquet table. We gather in his honor to delight in the richest of fare. And he expects us to meet together, as one family.” This critical foundation establishes the necessary biblical base for what follows.
The reason for corporate worship is three-fold: “God gathers us unto his glory, for our mutual good, before the world’s gaze.” Merker’s exposition of these important points are to the point and biblical throughout.
The most helpful aspect of Corporate Worship is the explanation of the so-called “Regulative Principle.” A summary of our Reformed heritage is presented in simple terms. We are called to read the Word, pray the Word, preach the Word, sing the Word, and see the Word (the Lord’s Supper and baptism). This presentation is worth the book’s price and should serve many readers well and keep them linked to the Bible and God’s heart for worship.
Five principles are set forth by way of practical application, which includes 1) Stay focused on the gospel, 2) Pray for a healthier church, 3) Encourage the elders to lead, 4) Teach patiently, and make changes gradually, and 5)Trust God’s sovereignty.
Corporate Worship is a worthy addition to the Building Healthy Churches series and will encourage and equip a new generation of Christian leaders.