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The Worship Architect, 2nd Edition

A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services

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There are many books available on the topic of worship today, but few provide a comprehensive, practical method for worship design. Worship professor and practitioner Constance Cherry provides worship leaders with credible blueprint plans for successfully designing worship services that foster meaningful conversation with God and the gathered community. Readers will learn how to create services that are faithful to Scripture, historically conscious, relevant, Christ-centered, and engaging for worshipers of all ages in the twenty-first century. The book sets forth basic principles concerning worship design and demonstrates how these principles are conducive to virtually any style of worship practiced today in a myriad of Christian communities. It will also work well as a guide for worship-planning teams in local churches and provide insight for worship students, pastors, and church leaders involved in congregational worship.

More than 150 colleges and seminaries have used or currently use the first edition as a required text. In this new edition, each chapter has been substantially updated and revised, including illustrations, key terms, examples, technological references, and suggested resources for further reading. A new chapter on global worship and a new appendix on live-streamed worship are included.


Introduction: Why a Book about Worship Design?
PHASE ONE: Laying the Foundations for Worship
1. Establishing the Foundation: Biblical Worship
2. Setting the Cornerstone: Worship Is Centered in Jesus Christ
PHASE TWO: Raising the Structure for Worship
3. Four Rooms for Encountering God: The Gospel Order of Worship
4. The First Room: The Gathering
5. The Second Room: The Word
6. The Third Room: The Table of the Lord
7. The Third Room: The Alternative Response to the Word
8 The Fourth Room: The Sending
PHASE THREE: Installing Windows for Encountering God
9. Encountering God in Prayer: Capturing the Heart of Worship
10. Encountering God in Music: Singing the Church's Song
11. Encountering God in Music: Offering "Sound" Musical
12. Encountering God in the Christian Year: Remembering the Whole Narrative
PHASE FOUR: Welcoming Worshipers for Authentic Engagement
13. Engaging Style: Expressing Worship in an Authentic Voice
14. Global Worship: Open the Doors and See All the People
15. The Hospitable Worship Leader: Engaging Worshipers as Participants
Appendix A: A Definition of Christian Worship
Appendix B: Ten Basic Steps in Designing Vital Worship
Appendix C: Checklist for Designing Vital Worship
Appendix D: Seven Tips for Engaging with Livestreamed Worship


"This second edition of The Worship Architect makes Bible-based, historically conscious, and God-aware training for worship leaders even more accessible, taking into account changes in our world such as the blending of physical and online spaces. In this classic text, Cherry grounds Christian activity within our worship of Jesus Christ, stating 'we worship locally to serve globally.' There is a great need for the Christian church to grow in understanding the fullness of the power of worship in our post-pandemic world."

Tanya Riches, senior lecturer and MTh coordinator, Hillsong College, Australia

"Worship to God, with God, and for God has a formative influence on the believer. Therefore, the structure and design of congregational worship play a crucial role in the spiritual formation of worshipers. If worship is God's gift to us, then this new edition of The Worship Architect is Constance Cherry's guide to help us steward this gift well. This book is a comprehensive master class for worship leaders who want to design worship that is pleasing to God."

Abson P. Joseph, vice president of academic affairs and professor of New Testament, Wesley Seminary (Indiana Wesleyan University)

"This book is widely used in Hong Kong seminaries. In the past few years, I have witnessed numerous worship practitioners, seminary students, and church pastors from different denominations being stimulated, challenged, inspired, equipped, and shaped by this book to plan biblically faithful services and nurture the congregations in their local churches. God as the Master Architect has called us to be worship architects, and readers will surely be deeply encouraged by this theologically grounded and effectively applicable book."

Cazaria Ho Heung Choi, assistant professor and program director of worship studies, Evangel Seminary, Hong Kong

"The expertise, wisdom, and pastoral sensibilities of Constance Cherry shine through in her masterful work, The Worship Architect. Her experience in leading and teaching worship, which few can match, has given her the tools to produce an accessible blueprint for leaders who desire to place the gospel at the center of their worship gatherings. Having taught from the book numerous times, I can attest to its ability to reach across denominational and cultural boundaries, as well as to the positive outcomes elicited by immersion in its theological and practical depths. During this time when many churches are seeking substance over style, The Worship Architect remains a foundational resource for worship renewal."

Dinelle Frankland, academic dean, The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

"In a world that is becoming alarmingly deprived of sound worship theology, The Worship Architect is a welcome and much-needed guide for all Christian worshipers. In this book, Constance Cherry has combined rich insights and robust theology of Christian worship with years of field experience as a minister and a trained musician, producing a work that deserves to be in the hands of every Christian serving in worship. Comprehensive in scope yet readily accessible, The Worship Architect is my top recommendation when asked about primary resources for worship leaders, planners, and team members. Cherry is an able mentor and a gentle guide who walks readers through various components of biblical worship. Whether one is a seasoned worship minister or simply desiring to gain a deeper understanding of corporate worship, this book will help educate, inspire, and fuel the readers to wholeheartedly serve God through worship."

Matt Wonjoon Lee, vice-dean of SaRang Global Academy, School of Worship, South Korea

"Both learned and wise, practical and pastorally sensitive, Cherry's book is a tremendous gift to teachers and pastors and an invaluable aid to worship leaders as well. It is a book that I return to repeatedly for guidance and grounding in my own thinking, teaching, and practice of worship. I highly recommend it."

W. David O. Taylor, associate professor of theology and culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

Praise for the First Edition

"Cherry shows us that pastoral theology and the practice of theology is never an 'either-or' but always a 'both-and.' Let's follow her lead and rediscover the unity that exists between the two."

Robert E. Webber, author of Ancient-Future Worship

"Cherry's book is one I have been hoping for. The Worship Architect is a helpful combination of solid theology, artistic creativity, pastoral sensitivity, and wisdom gained from the author's wealth of experience in leading and planning worship."

Lester Ruth, Research Professor of Christian Worship, Duke Divinity School

"Many books about corporate worship focus on style and technique, neglecting theological substance. Others are substantive but neglect the vital role that stylistic choices and approaches to planning have in the week-in, week-out life of congregations. Cherry approaches her task by inviting us all to make regular border crossings between theory and practice. The result is a book well suited to promote the lifelong learning needed for any effective ministry leader."

John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Constance M. Cherry

    Constance M. Cherry

    Constance M. Cherry (DMin, Northern Seminary) is professor emeritus of worship and pastoral ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, where she taught from 2004-2020, and is a founding faculty member of the Robert E. Webber Institute for...

    Continue reading about Constance M. Cherry