Follow Here To Purchase Sound of Worship: A Handbook of Acoustics and Sound System Design for the Church

Author: Douglas R. Jones

Publisher: Focal Press

ISBN: 978-0-240-81339-4


This handbook takes a secular approach to sacred subject matter. The first three chapters are an overview of historical Christianity and do not give much insight into the sounds of worship in those eras. However, they do provide context for contemporary worship styles and spaces.

Jones writes in fairly accessible language, throwing in some technical and religious terminology that may need further explanation. For such moments, there is a Glossary of church terms at the back of the book. It is assumed that the reader will have an adequate background to understand the technical language, which, unfortunately, I did not always possess. So, as a disclaimer, I must admit that I went into this book with minimal knowledge on acoustics and sound systems, but the desire to learn more, from the perspective of a worshipper and not someone who designs and/or installs sound systems for churches. For the most part, this did not hinder my understanding of the book. Jones includes resources designed for church committees to enable them to ask the proper questions and insure that they end up with the best sound system for their worship needs within their budget.

In Sound of Worship Jones outlines four styles of Christian worship: Celebratory, Evangelical, Experiential, and Community. Jones sums up these four worship styles as follows:

In Celebratory church we have sacred space where every element is there to provide a context for the celebration of the Eucharist. In the Evangelical church, the Word is preeminent and the acoustics must be optimized for intelligibility. In the Experiential church it is the total experience that informs the acoustic and sound system choices. Finally, in the Community style of worship it is most important that the congregation needs to be able to hear themselves and feel as though they are a part of the whole. (page 187)

Each style’s inherent acoustical challenges should be addressed structurally. I realized that acousticians work closely with architects to design buildings and systems that will meet or exceed worship expectations as well as renovating existing buildings. Jones provides Case Studies when discussing each style. These helpful illustrations allow readers to learn from the experiences of others who have overcome similar problems.

Sound of Worship is a comprehensive handbook that not only provides useful information about acoustics and sound system design for the church, but also valuable insights into the history of Christianity. I learned more about how other Christians worship as well as obtaining tips that may enhance worship in my own congregation.

Follow Here To Purchase Sound of Worship: A Handbook of Acoustics and Sound System Design for the Church