Worship & the Arts: A Reading List

Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin, Scotland

The following is a list of texts that I have used, in my regular courses at Fuller Seminary as well as in the summer school course that I'll be teaching at Regent College, as required and secondary readings. As with all such lists, they cannot claim to be comprehensive. They can only represent my own personal interests, liturgical experiences and theological convictions. Nor can such a book-restrictive list claim to be an exclusive entry point into the field. It would need to be supplemented by web resources, YouTube videos, journal articles, magazine essays, conference happenings and key documents that sum up the mind of a particular community (e.g. The Vatican, the Christian Reformed Church, Hillsong Church, "The Liturgists," etc.) But a list like this will offer itself, I would hope, as a useful starting point for anybody interested in exploring the relationship between corporate worship and the arts.


Begbie, Jeremy S. Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music. Baker Academic: 2007. 
Cherry, Constance M. The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services. Baker Academic: 2010.  
Dyrness, William. Visual Faith: Art, Theology and Worship in Dialogue. Baker: 2001.   
Gagne, Ronald, Thomas Kane and Robert VerEecke. Introducing Dance in Christian Worship. The Pastoral Press: 1984. 
Guite, Malcolm. Faith, Hope and Poetry: Theology and the Poetic Imagination. Routledge: 2010.         
Guthrie, "Temples of the Spirit: Worship as Embodied Performance," in Faithful Performances: Enacting Christian Tradition. Routledge: 2007. 
Rumsey, Andrew “Incarnation through Poetry,” in Begbie, ed., Beholding the Glory 
Taylor, W. David O., ed., For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts. Baker: 2010. 
Taylor, W. David O. The Theater of God’s Glory: Calvin, Creation and the Liturgical Arts. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017. 
Torgerson, Mark. An Architecture of Immanence: Architecture For Worship and Ministry Today. Eerdmans, 2007.          
Torrance, James B. Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace. IVP Academic: 1996. 
Wolterstorff, “Thinking about Church Music,” in Hearing the Call
Wolterstorff, Art in Action (Part One): “Artistically Man Acts”
Walker, Jeanne Murray. “On Poets and Poetry,” in The Christian Imagination

Stephen Proctor, "Illuminate.us"

On the art of storytelling


Abbington, James, ed. Readings in African-American Church Music and Worship, vol 1 and 2. Gia Publications: 2002.
Atwan, Robert and Laurance Wieder. Chapters into Verse: A Selection of Poetry in English Inspired by the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Oxford: OUP, 2000.
Barker, Jeff. The Storytelling Church: Adventures in Reclaiming the Role of Story in Worship. Parson's Porch Books: 2011.
Begbie, Jeremy S. Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
Best, Harold M. Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2003.
Brown, Frank B. Inclusive Yet Discerning: Navigating Worship Artfully. Eerdmans, 2009. ISBN: 978-0802862563, Pub. Price $22.00
Castleman, Robbie F. Story-Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2013.
Childers, Jana. Performing the Word: Preaching as Theater. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998.
Crowley, Eileen D. Liturgical Art for a Media Culture. Liturgical Press, 2007.
Doig, Allan. Liturgy and Architecture: From the Early Church to the Middle Ages. Routledge: 2008.
Dowley, Tim. Christian Music: A Global History. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011.
Florence, Anna Carter. Preaching as Testimony. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
Gagne, Ronald, Thomas Kane and Robert VerEecke. Introducing Dance in Christian Worship. The Pastoral Press, 1984.
Galli, Mark. Beyond Smells & Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2008.
Giles, Richard. Re-Pitching the Tent: Re-Ordering the Church Building for Worship and Mission. Augsburg Fortress, 2000. 
Guite, Malcolm. Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year. Norwich, Norfolk: Canterbury Press, 2012.
Guthrie, “The Wisdom of Song,” in Resonant Witness: Conversations Between Music and Theology. Eerdmans: 2010.
Harris, Max. Theater and Incarnation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.
Jensen, Robin M. The Substance of Things Seen: Art, Faith, and the Christian Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Press, 2004.
King, Roberta A. and Jean Ngoya Kigula. Music in the Life of the African Church. Baylor University Press: 2008.
Klein, Patricia S. Worship Without Words: The Signs and Symbols of Our Faith. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2007.
Krabill, James R., editor. Worship and Mission for the Global Church: An Ethnodoxology Handbook. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2013.
Young, Steve. Music Technology in Worship. Milwauke, WI: Hal Leonard, 2004.
Philppart, David, editor. Clothing in Glory: Vesting the Church. Chicago: Archdiocese of Chicago, Liturgy Training Resources, 1997.
Raguin, Virginia Chieffo. Stained Glass: From Its Origin to the Present. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.
Savidge, Dale and Todd Johnson. Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.
Senn, Frank C. Embodied Liturgy: Lessons in Christian Ritual. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2016.
Smith, James K. A. Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.
Torgerson, Mark A. Greening Spaces for Worship and Ministry: Congregations, Their Buildings, and Creation Care. Herndon, VA: The Alban Institute, 2012.
Verdon, Timothy. Art and Prayer: The Beauty of Turning to God. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2014.
Wilkey, Glácia Vasconcelos. Worship and Culture: Foreign Country or Homeland? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.
Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Hearing the Call: Liturgy, Justice, Church, and World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.
Yates, Nigel. Liturgical Space: Christian Worship and Church Buildings in Western Europe 1500-2000. Routledge: 2008.

Gloucester Cathedral

Hope Chapel, Austin, Texas (2004)

St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church

The Fisk Jubilee Singers

The Liturgical Colors

Dina Roe Kendall, "The Good Samaritan"

 Woonbo Kim Ki-chang, "The Last Supper"


Chinwe said…
The images of Malcolm X as a saint and the Japanese Last Supper really moved me.

I'm currently taking a seminary course on "Christian Worship," at the Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore, taught by Rev. Dr. Mark Gorman. We've been exploring various Christian worship traditions, discussing influences across Church history and noting differences across traditions. The breadth and depth of Christian history and art is breathtaking and incredible. Now, how do we take advantage of this rich history to enable us to worship more fully? How do we avoid locking in on specific images of God and "how things are done" but open ourselves to the radical mystery of faith and the Holy Spirit? Questions I'm pondering lately.

Thanks for sharing these images.

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