Reading Extravagant Worship is like listening to spiritual cheerleading.  Its enthusiasm is infectious, but its tone is so overbearingly peppy that it loses some of its credibility.  While author Darlene Zschech is obviously heartfelt and sincere, she glosses over the painful struggles many people go through as they try to grow in life--and especially as they try to worship more freely and purely.  The book (in which every other sentence seems to contain the word “awesome”) leaves the impression that everyone is always hyper-motivated to worship God, and that every worship experience people have is a spine-tingling, supernatural miracle that completely transforms their lives right then and there (I could go on and on, as Zschech does, but you get the idea).

The book pays lip service to different struggles people encounter when trying to worship, and how to overcome them (such as deciding to thank God for who He is and praising Him even in the midst of difficult circumstances, or surrendering personal ambition to let the Holy Spirit take over).  But, for all its good intentions, it lacks sufficient depth.  And a chapter on how to break out of spiritual dryness would be a welcome addition.  So many people struggle with that, but Zschech writes as though everyone is always “on fire” for God.

One great feature is the inclusion of worship song lyrics throughout the book.  Although the full impact of each song doesn’t come through without the music to accompany it, the lyrics still carry powerful messages about the longings of those who worship.  Many of the songs are ones that Zschech herself has penned, such as the famous “Shout to the Lord.”