Where a Book Goes

The day I hit “send” on the email to the publisher, Crossbooks, with my edited manuscript attached, I was both excited and relieved.  There was a drive to complete that task and a passion to share a message that was burning in me born out of a sincere concern that churches are not engaging fully in singing as worship.  I felt that my concerns were broad spread, if not universal, based primarily on my personal observation in many Tennessee Baptist churches as well as my discussions with church leaders from all over the U.S.  The concern was certainly not limited to Baptists for as part of my research I had spoken at length with members of several other denominations and some from so-called “non-denominations.”  Organizing and publishing some of my thoughts, theological and practical reflections, and solution suggestions was somewhat therapeutic, but more pointedly it was a way of attempting to make a contribution to something I felt very passionately about.

I was ill-prepared for the breadth of what would happen and is happening as result of having a book published.  In my immediate network (TBC churches) I am trying to find ways to disseminate the book in hopes that pastors and worship music leaders might become attuned to the message contained in those pages.  I see it as a definite part of my ministry.  I gave away a good number of copies on our recent cross-state tour (those who took my class received a copy).  Charlotte sold some copies to interested participants who saw or had heard about the book, some of whom indicated they would be delivering the book to their pastors ( largely lay leaders concerned about their church’s worship).  I have some strategies for further disseminating the book and getting word out to others.  To be honest, I am not good at this marketing part of the process at all.  My wife says I will give away the vast majority of the books rather than sell them.  She may be right.

While I have been somewhat engrossed in the cross-Tennessee distribution plan I was less focused on the fact that the book was available through www.amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com, making it accessible to anyone anywhere. It was a bit novel to see the book cover’s image on those websites.  But the real shocker for me has been the interaction with Christians and even non-Christians from a variety of backgrounds and interests all because of the book.  I received two phone calls from worship pastors in Oregon just last week.  I spoke with a Methodist pastor in Louisiana who chased my contact information down through a fellow graduate of the Institute for Worship Studies.  I have had email from people in several states across our country, and even the U.K.  It is a bit surprising, humbling, and yet it also rekindles the fire over the issue of worship renewal through congregational singing.  I have been interested that it seems the problematic issues in Tennessee Baptist churches seem common to those from other regions and denominations.  My unction to address the subject and to take a biblical theological approach to it in the first place has been confirmed through these interactions.  While I have written about a subject I pray will strengthen and encourage you and perhaps enlighten your pastors and people, you are placing song on hearts, minds, and lips of people such that will continue to form them as it lives on in their minds long after the last note has sounded of a Sunday service.  The interactions I have had with those who have read pages from my book have inspired me that much more.  They remind me that what you and I are involved in goes far beyond how good our church members feel about last Sunday’s songlist or how it was presented.  We are strategically involved in a process that helps place the praise of our God upon the lips of His people.  We are serving as voices who begin singing the song of salvation when the faithful gather and enjoin them to lift the proclamation of witness and Word.  I want to do all I can to encourage you who lead out in “the everlasting song” to lead boldly, to assess thoroughly, to choose wisely, and to minister with grace.  While there are those who would diminish your position to something of a resident minstrel, I want to build you up to recognize your place in God’s Kingdom’s work.  You are the ones who remind the church:

            Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise!

                                                                        (Robert Robinson – Come, Thou Fount)

He keeps me singing,


Explore posts in the same categories: Spiritual formation through singing, Uncategorized, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts

2 Comments on “Where a Book Goes”

  1. Lisa Huddleston Says:

    Just ordered my copy of your new book, Paul. I’m looking forward to a great read!

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