Imagine entering a restaurant where you walk in and no one speaks initially, they toss you a menu, and take forever to go speak with you. Then, when you finally order the food it takes long to get there and the food isn’t very good, lukewarm, and you find a hair in the food.
Are you ever going back to the restaurant?
There is nothing that you do that will effect more people in your congregation than worship. If you don’t have excellent worship, then your congregation will never grow and move forward.
For most of us it is easy to do mediocre worship.
If a restaurant is average, then it will not survive. The same for the church.
Folks no longer go to church out of duty. Those days are over. Folks are expecting to get something out of worship. What’s in it for me? If I experience nothing, I gain nothing. It becomes a waste of time.
If we are unable to offer worship in ways that folks understand that their time is well used, then we are sunk. Folks are not interested in wasting their time.
You have to design excellent worship, it doesn’t happen by chance.
What do we want to have happen to the worshippers when they are in worship this weekend?
In the Bible there is no preferred style of worship. The focus in on the attitudes of the heart.
People want to connect to God, and they want us to help find him.
Design worship to experience the holy, then you lead worship to accomplish that task.
You should be spending 5 to 10 hours a week in designing the worship experience.
Worship leadership — folks don’t know how to do it so we are the guide in helping them to do it. People who are hungry to experience the presence of God.
- Prayer for God to touch his people
- Prayer during the week for the folks in the sanctuary.
- Kneeling and the altar at the beginning.
- Setting a tone of prayer
- Adam sets the emotional energy with the welcome and introduction.
- Introduce yourself every single worship service to say that we are expecting visitors.
- Creating a sense of anticipation by telling what we plan to happen.
- They do greeting and welcome at the beginning, and sometimes give guidance for longer community conversation for a couple of minutes. Creating intimacy at the beginning of worship
- No announcements at the beginning of worship.
- Prepare persons for worship
- A guided prayer to help folks enter into worship. Helping people be ushered into the presence of God, including posture.
- Offering respect to the candles and cross when they come into the world. Creating a sense of reverence. Be intentional.
- It is easier to do contemporary worship than traditional worship.
- Contemporary music is simpler and more familiar.
- Hymns are written in poetry that may be less accessible.
- You may need to help folks interpret the poetry and explain the language.
- Pastoral Prayer time, allow folks time to pray in silence.
- When it comes time for the anthems, sometimes it is helpful to give some guidance about what to listen to.
- Explain the sacraments as if no one has ever experienced it before.
- Help folks to understand the meaning and ways to access the experience.
- There is nothing that the pastor can do at the church that is more important than preaching.
- Doing excellent sermons requires time. We are not providing TV dinners for folks. Spiritual nourishments.
- Ten hours or more to prepare a good sermon.
- Don’t take too much consolation from the praises.
- Pointers for Preaching
- Purpose of preaching is to do everything that you can do to accomplish the mission statement.
- Three Keys to Effective Preaching
- Teaching — teaching them one thing they didn’t know before, or reminding them things they did know. In order to teach them one thing, I have to learn ten new things.
- Inspire them — make them laugh, a sense of awe, telling stories that touch peoples hearts. Inspirational moment that connects from the minds to the heart.
- Inviting people to action — asking for the sale. What do you want me to do at the end of the sermon. Folks need the means to respond.
- Two basic sermon types
- We can’t assume that people care about what the Bible says.
- One way is to start with the bible, exegete it, apply and then illustrate.
- Another way is to start with the human condition, exegete the human conditions, see how the Bible speaks to this, and then illustrate.
- How does the bible connect with the human condition.
- This requires taking a long-term look at your preacher, alternating between the two types of sermons.
- Jesus’ own preaching connected with the human condition.
- Connecting daily life with the scriptural images.