Revision 3 Complete – Help Me With The Title!

Book Cover ConceptI have received helpful feedback from many of my readers and I have made some important changes to the structure and content of the book and it is almost ready to send to a publisher. I have an "inside man" at Zondervan (my current publisher of choice) who has said he is excited about my book and that he will read my proposal and sample chapters. I have a book on crafting good proposals and it notes the importance of the writer settling on a good title. It admits that most books will have their title changed by the publisher but it chalks this up to writers not taking the time to find the right title for their work.

Thus far I have been using the title Naked Worship: Rethinking Modern Worship Lyrics and Spirituality. Unfortunately there are several reasons I believe this title will not make it all the way through the publishers gauntlet. First off, for a Christian book (hopefully) published by a major publisher it is rather edgy. Secondly, it has not been well accepted by my readers thus far (it seems to be a love it or hate it type of title). Third, many Christian organizations would firewall a website entitled nakedworship.com. I still like the subtitle but I feel I am only being idealistic thinking that a title like Naked Worship could be accepted. Still, the title is captures the essence of the book better than anything else I have come up with.

For those of you who have not yet read or completed the manuscript I will summarize my approach. I have tried to reduce the concept of "Worship" down to its core elements to see if Modern worship has really captured the essence of biblical worship or missed the mark. Essentially, I argue, worship is loving God. This allows me to bypass the fruitless word studies about worship that have plagued every worship book written since 1980. (I say they are fruitless because the word studies and analysis of "critical passages" on worship always seem to say exactly what the author wants them to say. Two books with completely opposing opinions will use the same verses and sections to make their points. This is because passages that use the word worship are never about how to worship or what worship is but assume that the reader already knows what they are talking about when they use the word "worship". Writers have capitalized on the vagueness of these references to expound their own ideas that have little relation to the text at hand.) Since worship is loving God I write about love instead of "worship" because the Bible does have a lot to say about that. Chapter 1 and 2 look at the biblical view of loving God. Chapter 3 looks at faith (the foundation/motivation of biblical love). Chapters 4-6 deal with worship in the psalms (How has God been worshiped/loved in the past). Chapter 7 addresses the dilemma of manifest presence in modern worship.

With that understanding, what should my book be called?

I liked the word naked because I am trying to strip away all the preconceived ideas and traditions about what worship should be and look at worship at its core. I thought of the words "essential" (like essential oils) or "distilled" or "core" or "refined" (each modifying "worship") but none of them captures what I was really trying to do. I have also considered a less aggressive form of "naked" like, Worship Unadorned. I do like that.  I also thought about Raw Worship but that doesn't carry quite the right connotation, and besides, someone already has the domain (though they are not using it).  So here are a few titles.  What do you think, do you have anything better?

Naked Worship: Rethinking Modern Worship Lyrics and Spirituality.

Worship Unadorned: Looking at the essentials of worship to rethink Modern Worship lyrics and spirituality.

Pure Worship:  Looking at the essentials of worship to rethink Modern Worship lyrics and spirituality.

(Your title here).

Perhaps I need something longer than a two word title... Any comments, suggestions?

BTW the cover design is something I put together a while back.  Obviously this would not be the final cover even if the title gets accepted.  Still, I like the concept.

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  • I vote for Naked Worship. A book title needs to be edgy, especially today. Naysayers be damned (this coming from a blogger for Church Marketing Sucks). I think the few folks you gain thanks to a good title will more than make up for the ones you lose (especially over something as innocent as naked–trust me, ‘sucks’ is a much more loaded term).

    And that cover design is pretty good. It’s simple and basic but the picture grabs your attention and communicates what the book is about. You’ve accomplished more than most published books have with that cover. Nice concept!

  • I like “Worship in the Nude”

  • I had thought of other titles, like “Worship in the Nude” but I rejected them in favor of the shorter two-word title, “Naked Worship”. Here are a few of the front runners:
    Nothing but Bare-Flesh Worship
    Skinny Dipping into Worship
    Worship: Apparel Optional
    Birthday Suit Worship
    Unclad and Loving it Worship
    Worship Au Natural

    and of course, the current title with modifiers:
    Buck Naked Worship
    Stark Naked Worship
    Totally Naked Worship
    Naked Worship All Day Long

    In the end I thought it best to keep things simple.

  • Stripped Worship?

  • I wouldn’t go with “Naked Worship” only because it would be copying “Naked Conversations” the book about blogging 🙂 But the concept of being exposed is a good one.

    I like the unadorned theme, so something like…

    Unadorned in the Garden of Worship

    Or

    “Unadorned: Worshiping God without barriers

  • Amira

    I really llike Naked Worship. It’s catchy and as was said above, it will make a lot of people pick it up, especially if you keep the cover. Raw Worship is what a lot of modern worship thinks it is. BTW Brian did a great youth thing on worship.

  • Ninrai

    Alright, Roland and I have solved all your problems. Call it “Let’s Get Back to Worshipping Naked”. What do you think Adam?

  • HA!

  • Well, friends, I think I may have been a little to conservative in my view of Zondervan. It turns out they published Rob Bell’s latest book, “Sex God”. After that I’m sure Naked Worship would sound rather tame.

  • Amira

    Must look into that……

  • Ninrai

    Interesting…

  • Amira

    Will we need chaperones?

  • Adam, I’m surprised you hadn’t heard of Sex God…and I think Naked Worship would go quite well on the shelf next to Rob Bell’s tome! Maybe the subtitle could be something like, “Return to Eden”. Or maybe that’s good for the title, with a subtitle, “Unadorned, Unashamed Intimacy with the Creator”.

    Anyway, I hate to rain on a parade (especially in this beautiful weather we’re having) but I’m not sure I agree with your definition (“worship is loving God”), and the apparent focus of the book according to your proposed subtitle, which suggests that worship is music. I understand worship to be “a response to an encounter with God”, which is why I tend to be a bit persnickety when I hear a “worship leader”, right after a sermon, say, “now let’s worship some more”. What – listening to God’s word isn’t worship? Well, I can’t criticize (too much) what I haven’t read, so … where’s my copy?!? I’m on campus Monday nights during the Spring.

  • There are actually a few people who are waiting on copies. I can’t wait to get it in the hands of a few more readers, but I have been given some good but incomplete suggestions on things I could change that I would like to fix before I hand it out to anyone else. For now I am happy to interact with your critiques.
    I prefer “love” to “a response to an encounter with God” because the latter accurately describes faith, but faith is only the beginning of love. Worship is faith full blown, namely love. The reason I did not go with the more conventional definition (as you have written here) is that I feel it is simpler to say “worship is loving God” and then talk about love. Everyone can agree that in worship we should be loving God so that gives us some level ground to start a substantial discussion.
    I deliberately chose to speak only of song lyrics and spirituality mostly because that is what people expect when they pickup a book on worship. I hate it when I read a worship book and the whole thing is about worshiping God through how we live. If I wanted to read that book I would pickup something in the Christian living section! No, when I read a worship book it is because I want to read about singing. Sure the semantic domain can include all of life, or an entire “worship” service, but usually people are referring to singing to God. That is what this book is about. By saying that worship is loving God I am admitting that worship must encompass all of life (for love is an all of life type of thing) but the focus of the book is on lyrics and spirituality.
    You are not the first to point out such problems in my approach. I will need to make sure my introduction is robust enough to calm such fears and keep people excited enough to read on.
    I can’t wait for you to read the whole thing, perhaps I will keep an old copy in my car and look for you next Monday. I can explain the changes that have and will take place then. I appreciate your interest and feedback.

  • MissMegan

    I know this is a little late in the game, but “Naked Worship” is perfect just as it is =D