Worship 4 Today is a highly successful course which has been used in Sheffield Diocese since 2007, where it runs for one academic year alongside other lay training. Fully revised and re-published during 2013 by Church House Publishing, the course has received national and international recognition as a key training resource for all those involved in leading worship.

Written by experienced practitioners, Revd Helen Bent, Head of Ministerial Training for RSCM/Praxis and Associate Vicar in the Rivers Team, together with Liz Tipple, worship leader, teacher and professional musician, Worship 4 Today has proved a catalyst in many churches for renewed vision and direction in worship.

Part 1: Laying a firm foundation

published by CHP June 2013

Part 2: Developing key skills

published by CHP September 2013

Part 3: Consolidating and expanding horizons

published by CHP January 2014

Worship 4 Today’s three volumes contain everything you need to run the course, including full teaching notes, handouts and PowerPoint presentations on the accompanying CD-ROM as well as useful information for setting up a diocesan, deanery or parish course. From the very first session, they will transform the way you think about and lead worship.

Worship 4 Today is a twelve session course specially designed to encourage and equip those involved or interested in leading worship in the local church. It is suitable for everyone – those with some experience and training and those with none; musicians and non-musicians; those who read lessons or lead intercessions; those with skills in creative and expressive arts or technology; ordained or lay.

The aims of the course are

• to nurture a foundation of personal worship
• to provide a biblical and historical background
• to deepen understanding of worship styles across the church
• to increase confidence in practical skills
• to develop new expertise
• to explore authentic worship for a mission-shaped church

This practical course is particularly suitable for both those who

• wish to deepen their understanding of worship
• already be involved in leading worship in their local church
• sense a call to a ministry of leading others in worship
• wish to improve their practical worship leading skills
• wish to develop their musical understanding and level of competency
• wish to develop other creative gifts to enhance church worship

This highly successful course has been developed and run centrally in Sheffield Diocese over the past eight years. It attracts both clergy and laity including a growing number of churchwardens. It is designed to compliment other types of training. It has been written to fit in with the academic year with each part corresponding to one term. However, it is now being used more widely in parishes, benefices, mission partnerships and deaneries.

Each book contains four sessions. Part 1 also contains all the introductory material and instructions for setting up the course. Part 3 contains end of course review and assessment materials together with information about Continuing Ministerial Education. There are teaching notes for leaders, handouts for participants, and a PowerPoint presentation to accompany each teaching session. A CD-Rom contains all handouts, PowerPoint and other resources. Written by experienced practitioners, Revd Helen Bent, Bishop’s Adviser in Music and Worship in Sheffield Diocese, together with Liz Tipple, worship leader, teacher and professional musician, Worship 4 Today has proved a catalyst in many churches for renewed vision and direction in worship.

There are four key areas to the programme

Theology and History

• Theology of worship, liturgy and music
• Worship in the Bible and through church history

Exploration of different church traditions and worship styles

• Anglican worship – patterns and structures
• Liturgical formation and good practice
• Worship in a mission context
• Emerging worship and fresh expressions of church

Leadership Skills

• Developing a servant heart
• Developing skills for putting services together and leading worship
• Pastoral skills for building a worship team
• Enabling a congregation to worship

Practical Skills

• Facilitating liturgy and prayer
• General musical skills for the musician and non-musician
• Developing creative skills, such as use of audio-visuals and other expressive arts
• Introducing and teaching new material to a congregation
• Running effective rehearsals

The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft writes: “I have seen at first hand the effect the course has had in transforming the worship of individuals and congregations. The material is very well grounded theologically and liturgically and immensely practical. You will find from the very first session that the course begins to affect the way you prepare for and lead the worship of God’s people. The Worship 4 Today course is a vital resource to train and equip leaders of worship in a mission-shaped church. I am delighted that the course is now being made available for use in a range of different ways through the hard work of Helen Bent and her team.”

Our passion is to encourage and equip worship leaders, both lay and ordained, nurturing their own personal worship as well as renewing vision and direction for inspiring worship in the parish. Common Worship has provided a library of resources, but the abundance of material now available demands a higher degree of liturgical understanding and expertise. Similarly, the breadth of contemporary music for worship creates an expectation that musicians will be competent in many different styles. Fresh Expressions such as Messy Church and other emerging worship are developing kinaesthetic learning styles, which require artistic creativity and technical expertise. Worship 4 Today is designed to address all these issues, offering practical training and developing new skills to support worship for a mission-shaped church.

Worship 4 Today also addresses many issues raised by the Transforming Worship initiative launched by the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission in 2007. Helen Bent explains: “Worship is central to our encounter with God, nurturing and strengthening faith through word and sacrament. However, encounter should not just leave us with a rosy glow. Worship is the launch pad for mission, sending us out into our communities with passion and vision to see lives changed.”

The Results:

In Sheffield diocese

130 worship leaders authorised in 7 years
18 more potential worship leaders in training from September 2014 in Sheffield diocese
Improved parish worship
Better working relationships within parish worship teams
Worship teams available for deanery and diocesan services
A growing pool of able teachers, trainers, worship leaders and musicians across the diocese

Further afield

25 worship leaders trained on a Worship 4 Today pilot course in Leicester diocese in 2011/12 and many other dioceses are now running Worship 4 Today courses at diocesan, deanery or parish levels.
60 participants have also trained on a pilot course in the Diocese of Cape Town, S. Africa.
Across the miles, Worship 4 Today has also made its way to Johannesburg, S. Africa, to Norway, to South Carolina, USA, to Argentina, and to Christchurch, New Zealand, to aid in worship training in these countries.


Purchase course material from Church House Publishing.

Purchase Workbooks from Worship4Today