Tim Keller on Evangelistic Worship

kellerI’ve just given my guided reading group an article by Tim Keller called “Evangelistic Worship.” It’s absolute gold dust! It’s based on his chapter from Worship by the Book which he contributed alongside Carson, Kent Hughes, and Mark Ashton – but this article is revised, abbreviated, and updated. In the article Keller engages with high culture advocates, low culture advocates, seeker sensitive services, and their critics. The genius of Keller is his ability to see clearly the pros and cons with the various approaches and navigate a way through. He advocates what he calls ‘evangelistic worship.’ Here’s a paragraph from near the end of the article:

 “Therefore, the one basic message that both Christians and unbelievers need to hear is the gospel of grace. It can then be applied to both groups, right on the spot and directly. Sermons which are basically moralistic will only be applicable to either Christians OR non-Christians. But Christo-centric preaching, preaching the gospel both grows believers and challenges non-believers. If the Sunday service and sermon aim primarily at evangelism, it will bore the saints. If they aim primarily at education, they’ll bore and confuse unbelievers. If they aim at praising the God who saves by grace they’ll both instruct insiders and challenge outsiders.”

If you have service leaders or speakers this article is really worth passing on and is available for free here:



One Reply to “Tim Keller on Evangelistic Worship”

  1. Martin, Thank you for sharing this. It’s one of those articles I wish I had seen several years ago as it would have saved me a lot of clumsy efforts at communication. I like the phrase “evangelistic worship.” There are some interesting points about traditional and contemporary worship. I think one of the practical challenges is that we settle so easily into what we are comfortable with which is why contemporary quickly becomes dated.

    Have you had chance to read Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters? I’m reading through it at the moment -don’t agree with everything but overall it’s refreshing and helpful. I would say that most of it could be applied much wider than just to those leading singing.

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