Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Worship Walk by Gareth J. Goossen

"Worship changes who we are as we pursue who God is."

This opening sentence is a descriptive prelude to all that Gareth shares from his heart in this compelling book on worship. Many people confine worship to what they experience on Sunday morning, specifically the music. But this book's subtitle - "where worship and life intersect" - expresses an important truth. The following endorsements give an idea of what you will experience from reading Worship Walk . . .

"At the very heart of worship is our longing to know and love God. Worship Walk helps bring us back to that heart in a compelling way. There are many powerful truths covered in this book - I love the way Gareth helps us to remember the truth of the cost of worship. God is more committed to forming his character in us than he is in providing for our comfort. This book is a timely reminder of what worship is all about and how we are to walk it out in our lives."   -- Brian Doerksen, songwriter and worship leader

"Worship Walk" is an amazing manual for Christian living. Gareth has taken foundational aspects of Christianity and shown them through the lens of worship. As a worship leader who has also found great joy in worshipping God through things in addition to music, I found this book to be very affirming but also very challenging." -- Kevin Boese, songwriter and worship pastor

My thoughts

I have been involved in local church worship ministry for over 50 years, and I initially thought that Worship Walk would just be another book among many written on the topic of worship. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be quickly caught up in the various aspects of our daily lives that Gareth spotlights "through the lens of worship," as Kevin Boese wrote in his endorsement. And that's exactly how it should be, as worship encompasses all of life - not just music and not just worship services. Someone once said that if worship doesn't take place Monday through Friday, then it will never happen on Sunday.

Corporate and private worship are intertwined, but I like this book's emphasis on worship that takes place outside the doors of the church. Gareth writes in a comfortable style that is easy to understand, and includes Scripture references and personal examples.

Chapter 6, which focuses on silence, is one of my favorites. I had to smile when he talked about our efforts today to have no dead space during the service, for that is exactly what we've done. "There was a time when silence and reflection were part of the gathered worship experience - meditating on a Scripture passage, silent prayer, time to wait quietly and allow God to speak. And when he did, there was time to wrestle with and respond to his prompting." Gareth goes on to mention being drawn to the echoing silence of stone walls in European cathedrals. I've been blessed to visit some of these beautiful cathedrals myself and have experienced exactly what he describes:  "There are many factors that give the feeling of awesomeness: the age of the building, the height of the ceilings, the architecture, the artwork, the stained glass. But more than that, there is a sense of silence, of quiet reflection. People who walk into the building talk in hushed whispers." Is a time of reflective silence missing in our churches today? I definitely think so. But then, maybe many find silence uncomfortable.

I also have to mention an inspiring little exercise that Gareth encourages us to do in Chapter 12. Referring to the last line of "Shout to the Lord" that says, "Nothing compares to the promise I have in you," Gareth asks:  " What promises make you want to shout out in praise?" Look at some of the answers he gives and think how you would respond (feel free to share your comments below):

-- Heb 13:5 - Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
-- John 14:3 - I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
-- 1 John 4:4 - The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
-- Rom 8:38-39 - Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Worship Walk is a book that I will come back to often. It would even work well for Bible study or quiet times. I am glad to recommend this book to every reader.

I'll close with a few impactful quotations from Worship Walk:

"Worship draws our attention from ourselves to God,
enabling us to begin to see things from his perspective."
"As the church has become more comfortable within itself,
confession has been pushed aside."
"As we grow in prayer, we begin to wrestle with
who we really are before a holy God -
not who we carefully allow others to see."
"True worship, like true worshippers,
never stays in the church."
"Confession is worship that frees and heals us."
"Our time of freedom of expression and worship is coming
to an end - even in our tolerant society - because
the one thing tolerant societies cannot stand are absolutes."

Gareth J. Goossen

Gareth J Goossen is the executive director of Make Us Holy ministries. He has been instrumental in encouraging the church across denominations in North, Central and South America in their corporate worship and in their ability to enjoy the presence of God in everyday life. His passion is for renewal through worship, prayer and discipleship. Gareth is excited at the moving of God’s Spirit, igniting the passion for God in young people and adults alike.

Learn more about Gareth and his ministry at

This book was provided by and Gareth J. Goossen in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Carole,
    Your review is amazing! You said all the things I wish I could have said :-) My words don't flow quite as freely...
    Silence... That was also one of my favorite chapters. Maybe because I am an introvert to an extent and enjoy silence. I get up hours before my kids just to enjoy quiet time with my Savior. I have been using the book as part of my morning time with God and have gleaned so much from it. It is so nice to re-learn some things you already know from a new perspective. Definitely a keeper for me, and probably read frequently. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Thank you so much, Amy, but you don't know how long it took me to write all that! Writing is very hard for me, but there were several things I could relate to in Gareth's book, which greatly helped. The thoughts you conveyed were just as meaningful, because it really is a "keeper."

    I didn't realize it until you mentioned it, but I'm an introvert also, which is probably why we enjoy silence. I have a bad habit of sleeping late since I'm retired, but you're inspiring me to get up earlier for a quiet time before everyone's needs hit. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Amy.

  3. Your blog entries are so well written and seem as if you've done it for ages! I'm an introvert, too, (INFJ) and I need to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day alone, preferably outside amongst nature. I'm a night owl, so it is always in the late afternoon to early evening when I go for "walks" in my powerchair. This book sounds like one I'd enjoy!