Archives For Worship

My earliest preaching mentors taught me that every sermon needed four things: a compelling introduction, a body that included two or three points of biblical exegesis, illustrations to make it memorable, and a conclusion that helped people apply the truth to their lives.

Boy were they wrong.

Group of people watching boring movie in cinema

Three points and a poem may have worked at one time; not anymore. Listening habits have changed, listener attitudes have changed, and the environment of the preaching event has changed.

Today, every sermon must do these seven things to capture attention and motivate life change.

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Consumer behavior among church attendees results from a value-driven approach to ministry based on a corporate model for the church. This mistaken ideology is the central problem in North American Christianity.

Church is now a commodity rather than a community, and members increasingly approach worship with a consumer mind-set. That should be self-evident to any church leader, but it’s easy enough to substantiate.

Value Sphere Definition Meaning Importance Worth And High Value

Consider these actual statements heard from church members and visitors—

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“I love Jesus, I just don’t like church.” Anyone who has ever been part of a local congregation has probably felt that way. Christianity in its abstract form is a beautiful faith based on the perfect life of Christ. In reality, it’s a bunch of imperfect people, doing their best to follow a high calling while stepping on each other’s toes almost constantly.

It is challenging to be part of a local congregation. That may be why so many Christians are quitting going to church.


Most recently, Donald Miller expressed a similar view, saying, I think, that he simply doesn’t connect with God through the things we usually do at church, namely singing, preaching.

I have felt that way myself.

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Super Bowl XLVIII was a huge disappointment to the faithful in Denver and the legion of Peyton Manning fans everywhere. The Seattle Seahawks trounced the Broncos 43-8.

This anticlimactic result isn’t unique. The Super Bowl is always a letdown, no matter who plays or wins. That’s inevitable, given the spectacle it has become.


Many people find church a frustration too, and for exactly the same reasons.

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Christmas Eve presents a dilemma for family-oriented churches because it’s a time when parents want to bring their children but it is difficult to provide programming for all ages.

Christmas angels in front of church entrance in the evening.

Do you offer an adult service that is high on solemnity but bores children? Or a family service that includes kid-friendly moments but little reverence? Or one of each?

As a pastor I’ve faced this dilemma for years.

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Nobody likes the term church shopping, but nearly everyone finds themselves looking for a new church home at some point. Undoubtedly, there are some who swap churches too casually, applying the same consumer mindset to worship that they do to buying groceries or appliances. But many are driven by some legitimate need such as relocation, a major life changes like marriage, or unresolvable conflict.

For years I swore I’d never become a church shopper, but when Heather and I got married and began blending a family, we found ourselves doing exactly that.

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Most Christians never read the Bible outside of church. So when you have an opportunity to read Scripture aloud during a worship service, you are providing all the Scripture most people will hear that week. That makes Scripture reading a critically important part of any worship experience.

Young girl holding Bible in hands

Too often we think of the public reading of Scripture as a perfunctory part of the service or as a fill-in between the offering and the sermon. That’s tragic, because Scripture reading has always been a cornerstone of worship among Christians, and it is always an opportunity for God to speak.

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