Category Archives: Book Recomendations

Book: Whole Life Worship

2020 has challenged our understanding of what it means to worship and to be church. I’ve talked a lot of about church and our worship being practiced in both gathered and scattered ways. Encouraging my congregations to worship where they are, as who they are, despite the challenges we have faced in seeking to gather together.

Whole Life WORSHIP is a really helpful tool in understanding more fully this approach to worship as being every part of our day; week; lives. The book challenges the idea that our gathered worship (services, house groups, meetings) is divided and cut off from our scattered living (our frontlines of parenthood, volunteering, working… ) – arguing that our scattered living is equally our worship and in fact is that place we live as disciples – on the frontline. Thus our gathered worship should do all it can to resource disciples for living whole lives of worship.


“Whole Life Worship is not another fad or crackpot theory. It is a passionate call to allow God to expand our view of worship: to take a step back and be amazed by the scope of God’s engagement with us, his love for the world he has made, and his plans for our lives.

It is an invitation to assess church worship less by style and preference or how it made us feel and more by how it revealed God, who it formed us to be ad how it empowers us to be disciples of Jesus in our daily lives.”

p.xvii, Whole Life Worship, Sam and Sarah Hargreaves

I’d recommend the book as a must read to any person who is involved in leading worship. In fact, I think any worshipper who was ready and willing to be challenged to think more deeply and carefully about what worship means to them, both in services, and their lives.

A word of warning, you will truly benefit from reading this book if you’re ready and willing to reflect on your own approach to worship, be it as a a member of a congregation, or one who leads worship. I found many of the pages challenging me to think more carefully and creatively about the content of worship and the language and resources I use. but overall, I felt empowered and encouraged. The books is easy to read, with lots of short chapters and brimming with resources and ideas.

The book is framed in 2 parts. Part 1 presents the concept of worship being both gathered and scattered, and presents a framework to help reflect on ways to structure gathered worship to resource and empower people in their scattered worship. This framework revolves around a simple concept, that worship should be 3 dimensional:

  • UP: relationship between us and God
  • IN: relationships as a community
  • OUT: relationship with our community and the world

The second part of the book takes us on a journey through many of the ingredients of worship, prayer and music, gathering and sending, communion and the offering. Throughout this journey we are encouraged to reflect on how each ingredient can support and empower people for Whole Life Worship and discipleship. This section is brimming with ideas and pointers to other resources.

Prepare to be challenged and empowered as a whole life worshipper, and as a leader of disciples in whole life worship.


Whole Life Worship
Authors: Sam & Sara Hargreaves
Publisher: IVP

Recommended read: ‘Finding God in a Culture of Fear’

Living in fear is when “day-to-day living becomes more about knowing how to survive rather than thrive”.[1]

Where do we pin our hope in an age of fear? Fear can be both rational and irrational, it can make our world smaller and less hopeful. Fear can be a place where it is harder to dream big for the future, and can be harder to know where God is in the middle of it all.

And in the midst of global pandemic, fear is undoubtedly a part of human living for many of us at the moment. But what do we do with it? How do we fit the fear we feel within our Christian faith that speaks of freedom, healing, and transformation?

This is a book for anyone living with the realisation that the life is a little broken. For anyone wanting to resist the temptation to retreat into our armchairs and ignore the world.

This is a book that resists the culture of fear that can be seen to be growing in society, and growing among Christian communities.

This is a book that encourages us to discover and rediscover the mystery of hope, which will bring us face to face with the nature of God, character of Jesus and playfulness of the Holy Spirit.  

Using the biblical story of the exile, Cox-Darling brings a prophetic voice for Christians to hear. During the exile, the absence of a place of worship was destabilising to sense of community. Yet the story of the exile can was a catalyst to God’s people discovering the true identity of God.

Through rich threads of biblical exploration. Joanne Cox-Darling is convinced hope can be a present reality for us, not just a distant future. That we can find hope in the Christian story, that the church is a window to a community of hope-filled rebels striving to seek first the kingdom of God.

Within these pages, be encouraged to look again at the Christian story as a place to discover a hope-filled resistance, reminded that at the heart of the gospel is the truth that death and despair are never the end.

Discover hope as a catalyst that believes the world can be different, that our living life can be different. That hope thrives in a community of broken people willing to live in brokenness. 

Find a call to faithfully and hopefully respond to God who knows our struggle, can meet us in unknown places and offers us stability and constancy, and the hope that things can be better and brighter. God who is the source of all hope, who begins to restore the brokenness, makes a difference to our living, and help us glimpse the light of the kingdom of God.

Hope that says ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’. [2]


‘Finding God in a Culture of Fear ’ is published by Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), written by Joanne Cox-Darling.

Purchase from your Local Christian Bookshop or visit the BRF online shop.


[1] Joanne Cox-Darling, Finding God in a Culture of Fear, (BRF, 2019), p27-8.

[2]Joanne Cox-Darling, Finding God in a Culture of Fear, (BRF, 2019), P.96.

Recommended read: So What’s the Story…?

This is the first of what I hope will become a semi-regular series of short tasters for books that I recommend reading.


Lots of you will know that I have a passion for testimony; stories of God in our lives, shared with others. I believe that testimony has the power to challenge minds and inspire hearts and transform lives.

‘So what’s the story…?’ is a made up of 12 short, accessible chapters, packed with insights from Barbara and Clive’s own experiences in life and ministry as well as their own research. Through the book they unpack multiple ways that story can shape us, our faith and our living as individuals and community, as well as exploring scripture as story – not in terms fiction or non-fiction, but in terms of the influential and transformative power of story within scriptures pages. Clive and Barbara also helpfully highlight places where we must be careful not to abuse the power of story, emphasising the importance of pastoral sensitivity and care.

I recommend, ‘So what’s the story…?’ because not only does it explore the power of story in it’s multiple forms, the book also strikes at the heart of what it means to practice our faith in Christ, pursuing our own discipleship, living as Christian community and sharing the story of God in us, with us and around us, with our neighbours and communities.

For me, the book helped me make more sense of how my story has been shaped by God’s story, and given me more confidence in how that testimony can bear witness to my experience of God – where ‘God’s presence has made a difference’ (p.47), and open space to challenge, inspire and transform, by God’s activity in the stories of others.


‘So What’s the Story…?’ is published by Darton Longman and Todd, written by Barbara Glasson and Clive Marsh, current President and Vice-President of the British Methodist Conference (2019).

Purchase from your Local Christian Bookshop or visit Methodist Publishing Online.