The Music Architect: Blueprints for Engaging Worshipers in Song

By Constance Cherry

This third book in the worship architect series completes a trilogy of thought related to worship leadership in the church. Published by Baker Academic, this book offers solid theological underpinnings and practical advice for all leaders who have any responsibility for any aspect of music in worship including pastors, musicians, media techies, other artists, etc. Coming soon in Korean and Spanish!


The Music Architect chapters include:

  • Becoming a Pastoral Musician

  • God-Focused Song

  • Music’s Role in Worship

  • Selecting Songs for the Movements of Worship

  • Evaluating Worship Music

  • Maximizing Shorter Song Forms

  • Maximizing Longer Song Forms

  • Discovering the Congregation’s Worship Voice

  • Leading Congregational Song

  • Helping Worshipers to Engage through Singing

  • Forming Disciples through Song

  • Pursuing Spiritual Leadership through Excellence


“What I love about this book is the clarity of thought it brings to its subject. Written with wisdom and grace, The Music Architectwill energize and equip those who seek to lead their congregations with intelligent authenticity week by week in truly Christian Worship.”

-Graham Kendrick, well known worship leader and songwriter


“Few can match Cherry’s education, experience, and ecumenical perspective. The Music Architectsituates the selection of music for worship in the broader context of of being a pastoral musician who makes musical decision with pastoral sensitivity and theological integrity as well as musical skill and insight.”

-C. Michael Hawn, University distinguished Profess or Church Music and director of the Sacred Music Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Editor’s Pick for Best Book on Worship in 2016!

A sequel to The Worship Architect (Baker Academic, 2010), The Special Service Worship Architect applies the foundational worship principles found in the first book to the special occasions for worship common among many Protestant
worshipers. Also available in Korean!

The book begins with an introduction to the concepts and terminology of church rituals in general as

practiced for centuries. Then a chapter is dedicated to each of these occasions, emphasizing that

each one is a type of corporate worship experience:

The Music Architect Chapters include:

  • The Christian wedding

  • The Funeral Service

  • Holy Baptism (both believer’s and infant)

  • Holy Communion

  • The Foot Washing Service and Love Feast

  • The Healing Service

  • The Child Dedication Service (and three alternative rites)

The book concludes with a chapter that guides the reader in creating services related to any other

special occasion appropriate for a service of worship.

“This book is much like Constance Cherry herself: a wonderful combination of a theologian’s wisdom, a pastor’s sensitivity, and an artist’s creativity. All worship planners—musical or pastoral—will benefit from it.”

-Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity School


“Some of the most profound pastoral and prophetic moments in church life happen during occasions of significant transition and change. This book provides a vision for thinking about these and other occasions that draws deeply on a biblically shaped imagination, wisdom from historic practices, and concern to respond in contextually appropriate ways to specific circumstances. Pastors and worship leaders who read this book may well learn to think of these occasional services as events not on the periphery of their ministries but rather at the center of them.

-John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminar


Used as a required text by 150+ institutions of higher learning worldwide (graduate and undergraduate) representing more than 40 denominations. Available in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. Coming soon in Indonesian!

There are many books available on the topic of worship today, but few provide a comprehensive,

practical method for worship design. In The Worship Architect, worship professor and practitioner

Constance Cherry offers current and prospective worship leaders a blueprint for designing worship

services that foster meaningful conversation with God and the gathered community.

Professors and students in worship courses will appreciate the book’s thorough and systematic

approach, while pastors, church leaders, and worship planning teams will value its practical

guidance on structuring a worship service.

“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

“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 College and Calvin Theological Seminary


Wesleyan Publishing House, Fishers, Indiana, 2011. Also available in e-book.
Just released in Chinese! Coming soon in Indonesian!

Selecting songs for worship is one of the most important things that worship leaders do, because we

are formed by the songs we sing. Today, more than ever, worship leaders have a wide range of choices.

On what basis will we make our selections? The popularity of the song? The worship leader’s favorite?

The request of a parishioner? The hottest worship band on tour?

Selecting Worship Songs: A Guide for Leaders was co-authored by three Indiana Wesleyan University

professors: a theologian, a poet, and a musician. It provides clergy and musicians with an objective

method to use for determining the quality of any song while considering three aspects: theology, lyrics,

and music. A rubric is presented, along with detailed explanation, which provides criteria for judging the

viability of any worship song for one’s context. Numerical values are given for various categories within

each of the three areas of consideration. It’s a great way to establish a conversation among leaders,

helping them to arrive at consensus for good choices.

Selecting Worship Songs: A Guide for Leaders

By Constance Cherry, Mary M. Brown, and Christopher T. Bounds

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Arquitecto de la adoración: Una guía para planificar cultos bíblicamente fieles y culturalmente relevantes (Spanish Edition)

By Constance Cherry

Una guía para planificar cultos bíblicamente fieles y culturalmente relevantes.

Los lectores aprenderán como crear cultos de adoración y alabanza semanales que sean fieles a las Escrituras, que tengan en cuenta la historia, dignos de Dios, centrado en Cristo, y motivadores para los adoradores de cada edad en el siglo XXI.

Hay muchos libros disponibles sobre el tema del culto de adoración hoy, pero pocos proveen un método comprensivo, práctico para el diseño de la adoración. En Arquitectos de la adoración, la profesora y practicante en la adoración y la alabanza, Constance Cherry ofrece a los líderes prospectivos un modelo para construir los cultos de adoración que fomentan la conversación expresiva con Dios y la comunidad reunida.

Readers will learn how to create weekly praise and worship services that are faithful to Scripture, historically conscious, relevant to God, Christ-centered, and engaging for worshippers of all ages in the twenty-first century. There are many books available on the topic of worship today, but few provide a comprehensive, practical method for worship design. In The Worship Architect, worship professor and practitioner Constance M. Cherry offers current and prospective worship leaders a blueprint for designing worship services that foster meaningful conversation with God and the gathered community.

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