Three Titles Now with More to Come This Year! (Lord willing!)
I do a lot of writing:
- More than 200 articles and essays at this website, and
- at least 400 daily devotions at PathofLifeDevotions.com.
It is time for me to move toward published books. With the release this Spring of Into the Secret Place, Answering the Call to Pray, my Phifer bookshelf has three books on it!
1. Worship that Pleases God (A Biblical Study of Worship)
2. More than Music (A 13 week Training Course for Worship Teams)
3. Into the Secret Place (A Biblical / Historical / Practical Study of Private Prayer)
Let’s take them in reverse order.
For all Christ-Followers
It Is Time to Pray as Never Before!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: The Call to Pray
BOOK ONE: EXPOSITION
Chapter One: My Story
I Needed More
Stirred by a Nobel Theme
Chapter Two: New Covenant Prayer
Prayer the Way Jesus Taught It
Prayer the Way the Apostle Taught It
Chapter Three: The Apostle Paul on Prayer
All Kinds of Prayer
New Language of New Covenant Prayer
Chapter Four: Prayer in the Early Church
Public and Private Worship
The First Century Prayer Paradigm
The Church in the Book of Acts
Chapter Five: Ancient Wisdom
The Rule of Prayer Is the Rule of Faith
The Life of Prayer—Pray without Ceasing
The Colossians Credo
Chapter Six: A Short History of Prayer
The Ancient World (33 A.D. through 1054 A.D.)
The Medieval and Modern World (1054-Today)
BOOK TWO: INSPIRATION
Chapter Seven: Prayer and Renewal
A Flame for each of Us
Chapter Eight: Prayer and Healing
Candles in the Desert
The Gift of Tenacity
Chapter Nine: Prayer and Change
The Refiner’s Fire: A Cleansing Flame
Private Prayer Is Spiritual Warfare
Chapter Ten: Conclusion
Secrets of the Secret Place
Charge: A Call to the Life of Prayer
BOOK THREE: APPLICATION
7 Days of Prayer
Morning Prayer Sunday through Saturday
Why a book on Private Worship?
Into the Secret Place tells two stories:
- My story is one of a life-long struggle to be as effective in the Secret Place at prayer as I was in the Public Place of worship. At age 51, I began the Doctor of Worship Studies degree program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. This was a major turning point for me. When I learned of the DWS program at IWS, I felt a strong leadership from the Lord to do the degree. This leadership proved to be correct and now I have enjoyed 20 years of writing and teaching ministry on issues of worship renewal with the tools and skills I learned at IWS. Book One in this book is a reduction of my doctoral thesis on private prayer. If one is going to do a doctoral thesis it needs to be on a subject one needs to explore. A good summary of my need for a better way to pray in private is in the chapter title, “I Needed More.”
- The other story is the story of the practice of personal prayer in what Jesus called “The Secret Place.” As much as I learned in 40 years of study and ministry in public worship, problems remained everywhere I looked. Pride and performance on the platform, Pop culture instead of Scripture as a primary source of content, strife between the pastor and the board, staff conflicts behind the scenes, and the unending worship wars in the congregation. I saw that these sad dramas may be played out on the platform, in the board rooms, in staff meetings or in whispered complaints behind the last row in the sanctuary but they are not rooted there. They are planted in that neglected garden called The Secret Place. I had been saying for years that it was time for leaders of the church to start leading private worship. My thesis was my opportunity to make a deep study of the issues involved. Throughout the history of Christianity one of the most challenging of all the apostolic challenges is this: “Pray without ceasing.” What could this mean? How is it even possible? Through the ages the answers have been many. I provide a brief historical report to give the reader at least an introduction to the history of private prayer. My emphasis remains on finding contemporary applications for the ancient principles and commands of scripture.
What did I learn in this study of private worship?
In short, I learned that my struggle with private worship was rooted in the lack of a service. Public worship worked because I had a plan and followed it. The idea I discovered from the history of private prayer was that this could also be done for the Secret Place. I courageously stretch beyond the limits of my Pentecostal tradition and investigated The Book of Common Prayer. I had to overcome my prejudices against written prayers in general but once I did a whole new, ancient, and rich method of prayer opened for me. I deal with the issue of prejudice against written prayers in Chapter One, “Stirred by a Noble Theme.” Part of my thesis, Experiment in Prayer, included a contemporary prayer book. Book Three of Into the Secret Place is 7 Days of Prayer, the latest version of the often-revised prayer book that began life with my thesis back in 2004. My these work reported to me that many contemporary worshipers were blessed by these daily prayer services.
The Apostolic Prayer Paradigm
Perhaps the most enlightening and liberating discovery I made in my thesis work was what I call the Apostolic Prayer Paradigm, also called the New Covenant Prayer Paradigm. Under the first Covenant with Israel prayer was expressed in two modes:
- Written Prayers from Scripture and those composed for the purpose of prayer, and
- Simply conversing with God, talking with God as one would a close friend.
These were the two ways Jesus and the Disciples prayed at home, in the local synagogue, and in the Temple.
With the New Covenant came a new mode of prayer: Prayer in the Spirit. This was decidedly different from the other two modes of prayer. What was the difference? What is the difference for us, today? Because of Calvary and the cleansed condition of the Believer’s heart, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts. At the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples much about the coming New Covenant ministry of the Holy Spirit. A summation of that ministry could be said to be this: “He has been with you and now He shall be in you.” (Jn 14:17) The New Testament makes it clear that we can now pray as directed and empowered by the Spirit of God. Here is my representation of the New Covenant/Apostolic Prayer Paradigm.
The power of prayer in the Secret Place is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit writing the Word of God into our hearts.(Heb 8:10) The book is available now from Kingdom winds and from Amazon.
Answering the Call to Pray
From the Introduction
The call of God comes to us in spiritual sounds, inaudible to the human ear, but insistent deep in the human heart. We hear this call when we stare at that horizon where the sea and sky dance together in the wind. It comes to us clearly when we ascend some precipice of note to gaze at distant lands shrouded in mist. In the quiet of the late-night hours, we hear it in our dreams or in those sleepless times when our minds will not be still. We sense the call in the fellowship of those we love and trust, in moments so soon to pass, and never to be relived.
In biblical terms, this is a witness born deep in our flawed human spirit, a connection with the Holy Spirit of God. It is a deep conviction that we belong to Him, though we are separated from Him. “His Spirit bears witness with our spirit.” This is the call to pray.
For those without a biblical worldview, this call can lead them to all sorts of misguided pursuits. These are born in the soul—the mind and heart where ideas and feelings boil together in the heat of circumstance—but they are executed in the body to momentary pleasure and eventual pain. Many believe the lie that there is no spirit within them, no capacity to know God, and no destiny beyond the here and now. Others resist such foolishness with spiritualities born of cultural lies presenting false gods and fruitless hopes, wasting their spiritual energy in post-modern paganism
There is a better way, a way born in ancient truth, proven by experience and by the close presence of the Divine,
- the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
- the Jehovah of Old Testament saints,
- the Heavenly Father of New Testament disciples,
- the Risen Christ of our historical church fathers,
- the Living Word of the Reformers, and
- The Faithful God of our own parents.
For us, too, there is a way to clearly hear the call and to answer it. This call is the deep desire to have an on-going fellowship with our Maker.
Noun and Verb
The Call to Pray involves both the noun, “prayer,” and the verb, “to pray.” We must understand what prayer is, and we must actually pray. For most of us, prayer has been reduced to petitions, a means of asking God for things. This is only a small part of the whole reality of prayer. What is it, then?
Prayer is fellowship with God. In this time of fellowship:
- we read and listen to His Word,
- we hear His voice in His creation and in the words of others,
- we wait in His holy presence,
- we praise Him with our own words and with the ancient words of those who came before us,
- we worship Him with hearts made clean by His own blood, and
- we rehearse again and again the revelation of who God is as revealed in Scripture.
Prayer is so much more than petitioning! It takes on many forms and engages our entire human self in these many processes. Into the Secret Place, is a careful biblical, historical, and practical exposition of the noun, and is a collection of inspirational essays to encourage you to pray. 7 Days of Prayer is a set of personal services to aid you as you pray.
From the Conclusion
This book serves to introduce you to the practice of private prayer in the paradigm of the apostles. Now, it is time to pray. I know we live in a busy world, and our daily calendars are crammed with activity. I challenge you to carve out daily times of prayer: at least morning and evening times, and perhaps even morning, noon, and evening periods with a private celebration of communion at one of these times.
As you prioritize the Lord’s presence and rehearse the revelation of just who the Lord is—
- these great prayers will shape your faith, lex orandi, lex credenti, est, The Rule of Prayer is the Rule of Faith;
- you will regularly contemplate the Lord’s glory, and you will find yourself changing from the inside out.
You will avail yourself in these incredible “means of grace:” prayer, Scripture, the Lord’s table, praise, adoration, silence, and solitude.
The Lord is inviting you to the Secret Place of prayer. The Father is there, Jesus said. He will reward openly what we do secretly, privately, with no possibility of the acclaim of men. An old Pentecostal Chorus says it so well:
Shut in with God
Shut in with God in the Secret Place,
There in the Spirit, beholding His face,
Gaining new power to run in the race.
Oh, I long to be shut in with God.
The Worship Team
For Worship Team Training
This is a 12-week course of discipleship for the worship leader and for his/her team. The first half presents a theology of worship and the second half applies biblical principles to the ministry of the worship team. I do not deal with local culture but with universal principles found in Scripture.
From the Preface
In More than Music: Becoming a Highly Effective Worship Team, I attempt to bring my life’s work as a writer, biblical student, and experienced worship leader to bear on the fundamental challenges of worship team ministry. Because worship is expressed by culture, these two things become almost in separable in our think, but separate them we must. Culture is temporary and worship is eternal; it is essential for an effective worship team to constantly monitor these differences. Toward this goa;, I have written the book in sections;
- The Biblical Study of Worship, and
- The Biblical Study of Worship Leading.
The biblical instructions and principles of worship are eternal and absolute, acceptable to all cultures. The local praxis of worship leading is temporary and relative, applicable in one place at one time. I want to clearly set for the differences between the two.
The Biblical Study of Worship
In the first half of the book, we explore biblical terminology and models of worship. The reader is introduced to the original biblical meanings of important worship terms. Seven biblical models of worship are presented which illustrate vial and universal aspects of worship.
The Biblical Study of Worship Leading
The second half of the book applies these truths to the ministry of the worship team. I do not speak to controversial issues in public worship. My goal is to make application of the biblical truths that have the power to solve these conflicts. I want to point out the eternal things so that the temporary things can be clearly seen. In this way, these biblical principles and instructions can be useful across cultural lines.
Plans for Use
This is a group study book designed for use in these practical ways:
- A 12 week Bible Study setting,
- A year-long monthly teaching fellowship,
- A personal study by each team member,
- Weekly chapter readings with rehearsal devotions discussing each chapter using the questions provided, and
- A supplemental text in college and seminary classrooms.
From the Conclusion
The Choice Is Ours
There is so much at stake. In these last days, two biblical prophesies are predicted to happen at the same time:
- The Great Falling Away (2 Th 2:3) and
- The Great Outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32/Ac 14:21)
Every day, when we choose the Secret Place and time with the Father, we choose the Outpouring. Every week when the team gathers to rehearse out public art, we are choosing the Outpouring. Every service, when the countdown is done and the click trac counts us off, we are choosing the Outpouring. The highly effective worship team is the one lifting up the praise of God, the name of Jesus, and opening their hearts to the ministry of the Spirit. We are offering hope, the only true hope, to our corner of the fallen world.
God has not called us to failure but to highly effective ministry! From hearts set aflame by the Holy Spirit, and human frames prepared by diligence to be skillful, the Lord will shine forth. As the Psalmist predicts, “Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth! (Ps 50:2) True worship is the hope of this fallen world. It is no wonder that worship is More than Music!
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(Available soon from the Publisher)
For All Worshipers!
The Biblical Study of Worship
This book is the flagship of my worship studies. It presents 10 years of concentrated Bible study and another 10 years of experience as a worship leader. The scope of the work extends far beyond the worship service to issues of private devotions, craftsmanship and creativity as worship, and spiritual warfare. It is often used as a college/university text but is written for all worshipers.
Worship That Pleases God: The Passion and Reason of True Worship is a comprehensive book ranging far beyond the sanctuary to the private altar, to the heart of the worshiper and even to the workplace. Whole-life worship is the kind that pleases God. “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise and do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:15, 16 NIV).
A worship leader for more than thirty years, Dr. Phifer, brings a passionate writing style and sound biblical interpretation to this search for the meaning of “spirit and truth” worship (John 4:24). Dr. Phifer believes that True Worship establishes the Kingdom of God in our hearts, our homes, our places of worship as well as in the workplace and the marketplace. This book is about much more than what happens on Sunday morning.
“Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” the three characteristics of the Kingdom of God found in Romans 14:17, form the themes of each section of the book.
- Section One, Righteousness, deals with a biblical theology of worship. Dr. Phifer offers biblical definitions for the essential elements of worship and he presents seven biblical models for worship.
- Section Two, Peace, presents the priority of worship as the factor of church life that is intended to bind generations and cultures together in a bond of peace.
- Section Three, Joy, treats the daily life of the believer dealing with issues of craftsmanship, creativity and the spiritual warfare of private worship. Paul urged the Roman church to . . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (of worship) (Rom 12:1 NKJV [NIV]). Worship That Pleases God is a passionate book presenting that reasonable service of worship to God.
Dr. Stephen Phifer has been a minister with the Assemblies of God since 1975. His life experience is varied: high school teacher, youth pastor, music pastor, worship leader, college professor, and denominational representative. He has served fulltime in churches from 250-2500 in attendance in six states. Holding bachelors and masters degrees in music education (University of Arkansas, 1971, Monticello and Wichita State University, 1986) he earned a doctorate in worship studies from the Institute for Worship Studies, headed by Dr. Robert E. Webber, in 2004. He and Freeda have been married since 1974 and have two married daughters. He presently serves as founder and director of the Worship Renewal Center (www.StevePhifer.com) and writes extensively on devotional and spiritual themes. He posts a daily devotional, The Path of Life Devotions (www.PathofLifeDevotions.com) where he relates a daily episode from the life of Christ called TheJesusStory Devotions.
From the Preface
Passion and Reason
These two great statements of Jesus form the foundation stones of this book:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Both passion and reason are essential to worship. It is not possible to love God with “heart and soul” without passion. Likewise, it is impossible to love Him with “mind and strength” without reason.
“…worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Worshiping God with spirit implies passion. Worshiping Him in truth demands reason. Discovering the passion and reason of True Worship is the goal of this biblical study. Too many people and too many traditions have emphasized one over the other. But, in this twenty-first century, it is time for us to put the two together. We must whole-heartedly thank the Lord and proclaim His excellence with the full force of our spirit employing our capacity for passion. And, we must whole-heartedly seek out His truth using our ability to reason. We must then adjust our preferences to His preferences as they are revealed in the Word of God. In other words we must let reason inform and focus our passion and we must let passion set fire to the truth we have discovered.
The Presence of God
When we worship in spirit and truth, with passion and reason, we enter the manifest presence of God. In pages of this book you will find an analysis of the differing aspects of the presence of God.
The Kingdom of God
The primary effect of True Worship is to establish the Kingdom of God in our hearts, our homes, our work-places and our houses of worship. The Kingdom of God is defined in Scripture as “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro 14:17-18) These qualities of the Kingdom become the three major divisions of the book.
PART ONE – RIGHTEOUSNESS Under this heading a Theology of True Worship is presented, for it is only by the Righteousness of Christ applied to our lives that we worship the Lord.
PART TWO – PEACE The second section of the book develops the philosophical aspects of the priority of worship in the life of the congregation. A church full of peace, not strife, will result from Passionate and Reasoned worship.
PART THREE – JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT The life of the Believer who is a True Worshiper should be a life of joyful victory. This section explores the topics of Craftsmanship, Creativity and Spiritual Warfare. God’s people are victorious in their living and the forces of darkness flee before them. The result is “joy in the Holy Spirit.”
From the Conclusion
THE JOY OF CHANGE AND CONSTANCY
This many-faceted joy in the Lord is encouraging.
- There is the joy of craftsmanship,
- the joy of creativity,
- the joy of victory, and
- the joy of the oak tree (productivity.)
- The joy of daily living includes both the joy of change and constancy.
Change is joyful to those who have a vision of what God wants to do. If we believe prayer changes things, we must either learn to get excited about change or stop praying. Constancy is also joyful. When changes frighten us, we can take joy in that which will never change:
- the character of God,
- the Word of God, and
- the faithfulness of God.
Have no doubt the things that can be shaken will be shaken so that which cannot be shaken can remain. The things that remain are the things of the kingdom:
- peace, and
- joy in the Holy Spirit.
His kingdom endures.
“GO THROUGH THE GATES!”
God burned a special passage from Isaiah into my heart. For months I had been absorbing chapters Isaiah 58 through 61, letting the plight of those whose creativity has been captured by the enemy sink deep into me and finding a vision of the creative haven God intends for the Church to be. One day I felt I should go on and read chapter 62. There I saw verse 10 and in it, I felt a sense of urgency in the heart of God. I marked that verse in a Bible I said I would make no marks in. It has become a life-verse for me.
Isaiah 62:10 NKJV
Go through, go through the Gates! Prepare the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, Lift up a banner for the peoples!
Go through the Gates! What we have learned demands action. You and I must go through the gates every workday and every Lord’s Day! Jesus opened these gates by His life’s blood; all He asks is that we go through them. There is nothing on which to wait. No further word from God is required. God and the world He wants to reach await our passionate and reasoned obedience.
Prepare the way for the peoples. We have learned, though God’s plan is revealed in Scripture, we must prepare “the way” for the people. Not our way, like King David’s new cart, but His way. It is time for all of us—Pentecostals, “main line” believers, evangelicals and fundamentalists—to cast off traditions of men if they do not conform to “the way.” It is time for us to travel “the way” ourselves, to release control of our public worship to the leadership of the Holy Spirit through His anointed worship leaders.
Come alive in church! Worship God with all your might, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. There is no subsequent event for which to save your passion. In so doing you prepare a way for the unsaved and spiritually dead to get to God. He inhabits your praise!
Build up the highway! There are dangerous potholes in the highway we offer to the Lord each week. We must build them up! Use the truths presented in this study, those you find in other books and especially those God burns on your heart from the Scripture. Take these reasonable things and implement them! Potholes of ignorance must be filled with reason and with biblical truth.
Take out the stones. There are hindering boulders of man’s tradition, culture and our own personal preferences that need to be blasted out of the way by the dynamite of biblical truth. It takes courage; it takes humility; it takes unity but it can be done. Entire congregations can hear about true worship and obey the Lord. Through teaching and example, leaders can “take out the stones.”
Lift up a banner for the peoples. Above all, lift up Jesus, our banner! Lift Him up on songs, on shouts, and on standards of obedient living. He is “The Lord Our Banner, Our Victory.” Let us center our lives on Him. Let us rally to Him as warriors to a battle flag flying high above the smoke and dust of man’s efforts. He is mustering us for battle for souls are in the balance. He is their only hope and He flows through our lives. They need a King and He has promised to reign upon our praise. He will take it as His office where He will meet their needs. This is worship that pleases God; True Worship; Worship in Spirit and Truth; worship with passion and with reason. This is what it means to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and this is the ministry of every believer!
By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Let Us, with PASSION AND REASON…
- Praise Him,
- Worship Him,
- Obey Him, and
- Share Him with others as we
- Love Him with heart, soul, mind and strength.
- Share Him with others as we
- Obey Him, and
- Worship Him,
In so doing we can love others and thus extend His Kingdom—His righteousness, peace, and joy. This is worship that pleases God.
In the light of the moment when we each stand before Him, is there anything that matters more than this?
“Worship that Pleases God” is an excellent resource for any individual that is looking for a closer understanding of the Biblical foundations of worship, and anyone who is searching for more of God. No other book that I know of has such a lush knowledge of scripture that helps the reader implement it’s knowledge into their personal prayer lives and into their corporate worship services. A must read for anyone who is a worshiper at heart! 5 Stars!! Rev. Caleb Gudgeon
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WORSHIP * INTEGRITY * ARTISTRY * MINISTRY
Endorsements of Dr. Stephen Phifer
“Steve Phifer has a wonderful heart for ministry and a passion for worship renewal. I have found him to be articulate and convicting about his insight on the direction of worship ministry in the 21st century.” Vern Sanders, Publisher, CREATOR Magazine
“Dr. Steve Phifer is a gifted speaker who communicates with great passion. His years of scholarship and ministry experience in the area of worship results in anointed presentations. His seminars are always relevant because they focus on the unchanging truths found in the Scriptures. I highly recommend his ministry to your worship team and congregation!” Dr. Billy DeSanto Chair, Music Department – University of Valley Forge
“Steve Phifer has impacted so many lives through the years, including mine. His knowledge of the Word of God, his musical expertise, and his passion for serving Jesus and others make for a powerful combination in helping the world experience God.” Michael Neale, Dove Award-Winning Songwriter, National Best-Selling Author and Lead Worship Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX
“Dr. Stephen Phifer has turned into my go-to window when I want to look into the world of Pentecostal worship. He brings to the academic task a solid, integrative perspective born from decades of experience in worship leadership, a biblical sensitivity, and a willingness to learn from the broader Christian tradition.” Dr. Lester Ruth, Research Professor of Christian Worship, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina
“Dr. Steve Phifer is one of those guys that you quickly realize has a sincere and caring desire for what he teaches, writes, and all around exhorts. His book, Worship That Pleases God, quickly became one of my favorites in the beginning of my doctoral studies. His understanding and expertise on the subject of worship is one to be ‘taken advantage of.’” Luke Gambill, Creative Director Brentwood-Benson Music (a div. of Capitol Christian Music Group)
“I have been blessed many times over with the wisdom and knowledge of Steve Phifer’s writings and teachings. He is a solid man of faith, the Word, and wisdom. EVERYONE will benefit from this ministry. It is a must have resource!” Rev. Cyd Collischonn, Director of Creative Arts, Calvary Assembly of God, Cobleskill, MY.
“Depth of scripture, depth of thought and depth of passion are rare commodities these days, and even more rare to find all three embodied in one individual. With now 30 years of journey, I have never not (sorry Steve, double negative just says it best) experienced the evidence of all three in the words and writings of Dr. Steve Phifer.” John R. Bost, President Master Counsel & Associates, Inc.
“Dr. Steve Phifer is a man after God’s own heart, loving God with all he has within him. He epitomizes the concept of a “kneeing theology,” doing theological reflection from an attitude of prayer and devotion, with a heart of worship. There is no better endorsement and no higher calling. He leads a straight path to the throne of God that is paved with prayer and praise. His unique style will grab your attention and beg for more. I encourage you to open the door for his ministry at your church.” Rev. Bob Brock
Dr. Stephen Phifer is the consummate pastoral musician. Throughout his multi-faceted ministry career he has served as worship leader, arranger, conductor, author, professor and, perhaps more relevant, distinguished mentor. He is widely regarded for his presence on social media. That said, I would like to emphasis not only his prolific scholarship but his care and concern for our fellow guides into the presence of the LORD. Clearly Dr. Phifer understands the Biblical presupposition, “Its not by might not by power, but by the Spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts. I urge you to check out his writings for they will not only enrich your life but augment your ministry effectiveness. Tom McDonald, Ph.D. Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Steve Phifer is an accomplished musician and gifted teacher, with a deep insight into Biblical concepts of worship. I have enjoyed hearing him deliver these truths in a personal style that includes a quick wit and knowledge of history…I highly recommend Dr. Steve Phifer! Darlene Greenlee, CTN Network Producer-Host
Endorsements for Books by Stephen Phifer
Worship is famously described as the source and summit of the entire Christian life. Everything flows from worship and conduces to it. More than Music: Becoming a Highly Effective Worship Team provides a good starting point for the critical task of studying worship from a biblical and Christ-centered perspective, gaining knowledge and wisdom regarding the work that followers of Jesus will be doing for eternity. It is difficult not to see the God-loving heart of Dr. Steve Phifer in this book. His deepest desire is for his heart (and the reader’s heart) to resonate with the heart of God and his love for all of creation. Dr. James R. Hart, President, The Robert E. Webber institute for Worship Studies.
Dr. Phifer has written a book that will benefit anyone involved in any way in worship leading. He does not get bogged down in the “worship wars” that plague many congregations. Rather he develops theology that should inform everyone’s approach to how we will lead congregations before God. Dr. Bob Caldwell. Theologian-in-Residence, Network 21, Professor of Theology, Global University.
Having already read Dr. Phifer’s book, Worship that Pleases God, I was itching to find out what he had installed for More than Music Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Steve has a strong passion for worship, music, and scripture that he has been able to articulate well as written teachings for worship leaders, musicians, singers, and worshipers of any background. If you are looking for a resource that helps explain what praise and worship is and what it can look like as a leader and team member, in layman’s terminology, including lots of scriptural references, look no further. Luke Gambill Nashville based Producer, Worship Leader, and Choir Director, Professor of Worship Studies, Lee University
Stephen Phifer has written a concise, deeply spiritual and practical book on biblical foundations and practical applications of worship that every pastor, staff member, worship team leader and member should read, study and apply. His work skillfully shows us how to experience “worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) both privately and in public worship as prescribed by Jesus. Like Dr. Phifer, my doctorate is also in the field of worship studies. His book, however, has revealed principles and practices that will be transformational for me personally and for my church as he has called us back to our first love and first calling to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37). His work has challenged and encouraged me to put as a priority (personally and corporately) the entering in to God’s presence in the holy place where “with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, (we) are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). The Reverend Dr. Danny Austin, pastor, The Oaks Church, Gainesville, Florida
Steve, just finished your new book. It is absolutely excellent. The way you approach the generational dynamics utilizing “Polarizing terms” is genius and how you connect that with the fabric of God’s created universe is eye opening. The mark of a good book in my mind is that it makes me think rather than tell me what to think. You have hit the nail on the head with this. Pastor Randy Brock Lead Care Pastor Victory Church, Lakeland, FL
“More Than Music” is a finely articulated resource that explains Biblical principles and explores the various polarities of worship. It is perfect for teaching and studying God’s Word to obtain a biblical understanding of worship. Whether you are a worship leader, worship team member, or a fellow worship participator, you will walk away with a greater understanding of personal and public worship. Practical takeaways make this a wonderful book to read with your worship team! Caleb Gudgeon Worship Director Trinity Assembly of God West Chester, Pennsylvania
“I have had the privilege of reading this book, manual, and guideline that should be required reading for all worships leaders as well as all members of worship teams. What we do in a service on Sunday is useless unless it has been preceded by 6 days of worship. This work will help you guide yourself and your team, in a Godly biblical study of worship. I am also blessed to call Steve Phifer my first music pastor who taught me band, orchestra, directing, choir and worship leading; he helped shaped me my life for ministry. What is such a blessing, is that he has lived this all his life. This book is a culmination of worship, study, and application. My prayer is that the Body of Christ will get ahold of it and let the biblical teachings shape and change how worship is done. He states in his Book, “Because when we worship God here on earth, we are actually joining the constant worship of heaven. What a privilege!” Pastor Robb Stancer Creative Arts Pastor Brightmoor Christian Church, Detroit Michigan
With this book Steve Phifer’s practical wisdom and experience have moved from the keyboard of the piano to the keyboard of the computer. As countless churches have been blessed by his musical gifts as many will be instructed by his teaching in More than Music. Dr. Lester Ruth, Research Professor of Christian Worship, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.
Dr. Phifer shares from a lifetime of leading congregations in worship and teaching others on the theology of worship. This book is both a theological study of worship and a practical exploration of leading worship in today’s churches. This would be a great resource to go through as a team, and he has added questions at the end of each chapter for further discussion. There are many contradictory views of what worship “should be” in today’s churches. Steve lays out these views as natural dualities and calls us to minister to every believer. Rev. Andrew Soerens Worship Pastor Bethel Church, Temple, TX
Dr. Phifer, I just finished reading the manuscript and was blessed by every single page! I love how you divided the content of the book into two parts, first focusing on the biblical vocabulary and models of worship, then shifting to the more practical aspects of worship leading. Once again, well done, my friend! I was blessed numerous times over while reading the manuscript. On several occasions the book inspired me to just pause and worship the Lord! It is an honor to be able to work together in the context of the Worship Studies program at UVF! “In this book, Dr. Steve Phifer so eloquently addresses the spiritual dynamics of worship team ministry. He reminds us that our innovations and methods of worship in the 21st century must be grounded in the foundational and eternal truths found in the Scriptures. He brings these truths to life by making them relevant and practical for those involved in worship ministry today. This book is an outgrowth of Dr. Phifer’s years of spirit-led music ministry experience and his years of study on the subject of worship. It is a must-read for every musician, worship leader, and pastor.” Dr. William DeSanto, Music Department Chairman, the University of Valley Forge