As a musician, I always enjoy walking up to a stage at a church or a concert and looking at the gear they’re using and geeking out. And as you may know, if you ask a guitar player about their pedal board they can spend hours talking about why they have chosen the various gear they have and the tone they love that each piece creates.

This is my “pedal board” of favorite books and tools for worship leaders. I hope you find it helpful.


Gives an overview of Christian worship throughout history and across time and culture. Then provides a helpful description of the biblical attributes that are present in all Christian worship. (Check out my article on worship planning and design based on his concepts.)

This book covers the same material as Christ-Centered worship but is an easier read and highly practical.

Webber introduces the idea that Christian worship is about hearing, responding, and telling the story of God. It shows how the past traditions can still shape modern worship services. (Here’s another article based on this concept.)

A great starter book for worship leaders. It covers a broad range of topics.

Illustrates how we are primarily driven by desires and how God uses worship to re-form and change us.

Examines the words we use in worship and how to communicate effectively. (Learn how to speak effectively during worship)

Gives a wonderful picture of what it looks like to cultivate the talents of artists in the church, and for the church.


Basically helps creatives with “imposter syndrome” and gives us permission to gather ideas from other people and make them our own. (This is not from a Christian author, and has a tiny bit of language, but the content  is worth skipping those words for.)

How to develop habits and systems that will cultivate new ideas and creativity.

How to make information and experiences “sticky” so that they are memorable and make a bigger impact.

How to put together a creative team for worship: who should be on it, what roles are needed, and more.


Full of calls to worship, prayers, and other spoken elements that help make a rich formative worship. Has a searchable .pdf that is great for finding prayers and scriptures that go along with the theme of a Sunday or a season.

For those leading worship in churches where the preaching is topical, this tool helps you take a topical word, find scriptures that speak to that topic that can be integrated into the worship service between songs, or to help you think about what songs should be sung, etc.

  • Commentaries: Okay, so this is for those worship leaders who are ready to go to the next level. It takes time, but a worship leader who has studied the same scriptures as the main teacher is going to be more equipped to plan corporate worship that works side by side, compliments, and enhances what is preached. Be careful! You could end up becoming a preacher (that’s what happened to me).

This commentary series is in between a sermon and a in-depth study. It also does a great job of making Jesus the main focus of the text.

These are not in-depth commentaries, but are great at distilling the main truths of a passage and making really practical applications.

I started with these commentaries so they hold a special place in my heart. They do a great job of explaining (1) what the original author most likely intended, and what the original audience would have understood, (2) differences to pay attention to between then and now, (3) and suggestions on how the scriptures are to be applied by God’s people today.

I know there are tons more resources out there, but these are a few of the major ones that have made an impact on me as a worship leader.

Picture of Nic Cook

Nic Cook

This article was first published on as part of a series of resources for worship pastors/directors, and volunteers.