Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel

Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel
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Cosper, Mike

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Publisher's Description

Confusion abounds over how to define the term "worship." Is it singing? A service? Something that encompasses all of life? Helping Christians think more theologically about the nature of true worship Rhythms of Grace shows how the gospel is all about worship and worship is all about the gospel. Mike Cosper ultimately answers the question, What is worship?

Bringing biblical truth to bear on this critical issue, Cosper, an experienced worship leader, argues that all true worship has one object (God), two contexts (the gathered church and the scattered church) and three audiences (God, the church, and the world). Writing from the conviction that the gospel is the heartbeat of true worship, Cosper explores four key areas (liturgy, song, style, and creativity), showing that worship is fundamental to spiritual formation. This eminently readable book, designed for church leaders and laypersons alike, offers a vibrant theology of worship that is biblical yet contextual, and systematic yet practical.

Includes a Foreword by Bob Kauflin

About the Author

Mike Cosper is one of the founding pastors of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves as the pastor of worship and arts. He is also founder of Sojourn Music and contributes regularly to the Gospel Coalition blog.

Book Details

224 Pages
Publisher: Crossway/Good News Publishers
Publication Date: March 2013
ISBN 10: 1433533421
ISBN 13: 9781433533426

“I have read and heard preached a ton on the reality that ‘all of life is worship.’ It is and I wouldn’t want to argue that point, but what about when the covenant people of God gather together? Are there not some ways God desires us to worship corporately that can differ from how we worship in ‘all of life’? Mike has served the church well with Rhythms of Grace. I was both convicted and compelled as I read it.”
- Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Explicit Gospel

“Mike Cosper is uniquely gifted as both a musician and a pastor to speak into the culture where art and church meet and mesh. This is an important book for folks thinking about what it is to be a musician, a worship leader, and everything in between. The historic question of how we worship on Sunday and with our lives is an important one to keep asking because the songs we sing have the power to shape who we are and who we will become as individuals and as a community.”
- Sandra McCracken, singer-songwriter

“Mike’s Rhythms of Grace was like sitting across the table from someone you need to be listening to. In this season of the Church, there is some confusion on why and what a worship leader is and does. This book brings great clarity to that confusion. As someone who aims to see song leaders become worship leaders and worship leaders become worship pastors, I found this to be a key read. This will be an important piece in training new leaders, and a great reminder to more seasoned leaders, to sing the gospel and above all, highlight Jesus.”
- Charlie Hall, Worship and arts director, Frontline Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“I know of no one more insightful on questions of worship than Mike Cosper, and I know of no one more gifted to articulate a Christ-focused, Kingdom-directed, Spirit-driven sense of what it means to worship in the presence of the triune God. Read this book and see if it does not drive you to re-pattern your worship to fit the full rejoicing, lamenting, raging force of the biblical adoration of the triune God.”
- Russell D. Moore, Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Tempted and Tried

“When Mike Cosper writes, I read. And even though I'm not a pastor and don't play the guitar, I learned a lot from him about how the gospel of grace shapes our rhythms of congregational worship. Pick up this book and benefit from his biblical wisdom and pastoral experience.”
- Collin Hansen, editorial director, The Gospel Coalition; co-author, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir

“This book challenges worship leaders not merely to announce a gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, but to begin to discover how that gospel reshapes every dimension and element of worship. It invites readers into a world where theology and practice, belief and action are intimately intertwined—where every practice reflects and then reinforces a theological vision, and every doctrine both grounds and sharpens practices. Who better to offer this challenge and invitation than a reflective practitioner who considers it a joy to discern the implications of this gospel of grace for a host of practical concerns, week by week, year by year?”
- John Witvliet, Director, Professor, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

“I can’t overstate my excitement about Mike Cosper’s new book, Rhythms of Grace. This practical volume represents the many years my good friend has spent in serious theological reflection, doxological engagement, and faithful service in the Body of Christ—at Sojourn Church and well beyond. Mike’s passion for God’s glory and God’s worship are evidenced on every page. In particular, I’m thankful for how Mike helps us plan our services of worship in light of the history of redemption and the riches of God’s grace. Liturgy isn’t a four-letter word; it’s the storyboard, which helps us connect with God’s commitment to redeem people, places and things, through the person and work of Jesus. I will use Mike’s tremendous book in the seminary classes I teach on worship; but I will also place it in the hands of seasoned worship leaders and young congregants alike. Thanks dear brother, for your art and heart!”
- Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee; author, The Reign of Grace, Restoring Broken Things, and Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

“We don’t need another book telling us how to do worship to grow our church or connect with our culture. We need historical rootedness, not contemporary fads. We need to be taught so that we can teach the church to worship along with the storyline of the gospel.”
- Darrin Patrick, Lead Pastor, The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri; author, For the City, and Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission

“The greatest composers are gifted synthesizers. They have the ability to weave what they’ve heard and learned and experienced in the past into their own musical story. If Rhythms of Grace were a symphony, the critics would hail it as a masterful work of synthesis—a fusion of biblical, historical, cultural and philosophical elements into an engaging, challenging and thoughtful treatment of worship. At the end of this work, you’ll also be able to sing the primary thematic motive—the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- Joseph Crider, Senior Associate Dean, School of Church Ministries, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“For the glory and enjoyment of God, the health of the church, and the spread of the gospel—this is why you should read Rhythms of Grace, by Mike Cosper. Inside this book Mike proves to be a good pastor giving us a practical theology of worship that cautions against and corrects error, while shepherding us toward a more biblically faithful understanding and experience of worship in the church gathered and scattered.”
- Joe Thorn, author, Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself; Lead Pastor, Redeemer Fellowship, St. Charles, Illinois

“An important contribution to the discussion among many younger evangelicals about worship and liturgy. Mike writes with grace, and a wisdom beyond his years. Frankly, I am amazed by the amount of ground he manages to cover! Mike introduces many to ideas and thinkers that all in the evangelical world should know. Mike has set a lofty goal, painting a picture of liturgy as a beautiful way, and I believe he succeeds. For anyone nervous about exploring the world of liturgy, Mike is a gentle and wise companion.”
- Kevin Twit, Campus Minister, RUF; Founder, Indelible Grace Music

“Mike Cosper has written a book that is both easily accessible and also deeply challenging for anyone who wants to see worship flourish in their congregation. Rhythms of Grace is a must-read—especially for church musicians and pastors who desire to deepen in their understanding of how worship shapes and forms individuals and communities.”
- Isaac Wardell, Founder, Bifrost Arts

“For many churches, having a well thought out approach to how to lead music is woefully lacking. This needs to change, and this book will surely help. Rhythms of Grace will be a book that I will rely on in the future to develop music leaders for our church and the churches we plant. Clear, beautifully written, theologically grounded yet very practically helpful, and completely gospel-centered—this is a book for pastors and music leaders alike. In fact, I would get two copies so that pastors and musicians can read it together!”
- Zach Nielson, Pastor, The Vine Church