As I was thinking about the New Year coming upon us, I began to think about church….and life.
I understand that life happens. However you want to define life is up to you, but I do understand: kids get sick, cars break down, jobs call for an extra shift….I get it.
But, what I don’t get it is….why do people not want to come to church? (Specifically speaking about believers)…..
If you are a believer, why do you feel compelled to skip church…..for no reason. And, if you do have a reason, what is it? Do you have a problem with the church (building), do you have a problem with the church (people), do you have a problem with the worship (music), do you have a problem with the leadership (pastor)?
What is it? Because believe me, as a minister’s wife, I notice. And sometimes, it makes me mad.
So…..to calm my spirit, I found this….it is list of 10 things that Worship Leaders/Pastors can do to get people EXCITED about church!!
Not that it’s the fault of the worship leaders/ministers, but……like the movie says, “If you build it, they will come!” Maybe it should say: “If you are excited, they will be excited!”
(This list is not my own–and I realize it’s LONG, but…..so to help, I “bolded” the important stuff and added my own thoughts in parentheses and underlined them)…..
1.) Get the people involved! (And I would also say church members can get themselves involved!! Don’t just wait to be asked–ask if you can help somewhere–don’t sit back, get involved)!
Not just as readers or liturgists but really involved in the planning and in the preparation. No matter what size church you have, the people need to have input into what happens on Sunday. This can be in the form of worship committee or just in conversations as people go out the door or in the weekly visitation. Most importantly the voice of the Holy Spirit within the laity should be added to the voice of the Holy Spirit that the pastor is hearing.
2.) Have a good time! If you are not enjoying worship as you lead it, do you think other people are going to get excited? (SMILE and interact)!!
This doesn’t mean turn the sermon into comedy hour, but it does mean intentionally being outgoing to the people, excited about worship, and passionate about relating to God each and every moment of each and every Sunday. Can you watch a video of your service and not cringe?
3.) Realize that it’s not about you, it’s about God… and God is all about God’s people! All passionate worship begins in God’s heart reaching out to the hearts of God’s people. Choose or write liturgy that evokes change and challenges and emotes in your heart. Tell stories and illustrations that not only flesh out the points but also incarnate God into human tears, laughter, anger, and smiles. (Personally, I love a joke or two, a personal story…..something to “reel” people in)…..
It doesn’t hurt to remember that the pastor doesn’t have to lead the entire service either. The pastor may speak to Word of God, but all human voice is made in God’s image.
4.) Listen to God’s people. (Take people’s advice and criticism…..even if you think it has no merit, think about it. It might be better their way in the long run)!
If folks think your sermon is a shade too long, it may very well be! If people are not singing that hymn you love for the third Sunday in a row, it might not be a good pick for next Sunday. We don’t worship the people (their ways, culture, customs, etc.), but the people are the ones worshiping. Listen to the sheep to keep people in church; listen to the goats to bring in the not yet convinced.
5.) Worship has always been and should always be interactive. Hear a baby cry, say “I’m heartbroken over that too child.” Hear someone’s forgotten cell phone go off, say “Jesus is calling you!” Don’t force “Amen’s” but do encourage people to interact. Allow the environment to aid the delivery of the sermon. Do not be a control freak about every little detail of worship. God is in the mix, and according to Genesis, God created a lot out of chaos. Let the congregation chose hymns some of the time. (Take an “informal survey” of your church people–both young and old–and see what they want to hear during the “worship time” of your service)….
Train and encourage other people’s voices to pray, read, and be the voice of God in worship.
6.) Worship has always been and should always be multimedia. Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, Smell… these are the ways we learn and relate. These are the ways we worship. We’ve always had these in the forms of stained glass, music, Communion, Baptism, incense – worship has always strived to captivate our senses (Does yours)?
Why should today be any different with “all things new?” Have paintings, pictures, and images during the sermon, all sermons can have object lessons (not just children’s), videos, and music, music, music! Some churches are even encouraging people to text prayers to others from their cell phones during prayer time. Some are asking people to email questions about the sermon to the pastor during the sermon. It’s a brave new worship service out there just waiting to “reach out and touch” God.
7.) Worship is as much about preparation as inspiration. (Your congregation can totally tell when you “rushed” to prepare a sermon).
Has the sound system been checked so that there are no uncomfortable feedback moments? Has the projector and power point been run through to see if there are any unnecessary gaps? A good worship service takes months of preparation, just like a good sermon.
8.) Live with God’s People. (I might add: Live in God’s People’s Community)!!! Are the ‘prayers of the people’ relating to the people’s prayers from the pew? Did the pastor ever get surprised to find out that Sister Betty or Brother Joe has been in the hospital for three weeks during the sharing of concerns and joys? Worship begins in God’s heart and reaches out to the mourning and celebrations that happen in the hearts of God’s people. Sunday afternoon through Saturday night have everything to do with what happens on next Sunday morning.
9.) Pray for God’s people. (Don’t just let your congregation members be another number on a prayer list).
Worship planning should always begin with a conversation with the one we are worshiping! Not to mention that sincerely praying for congregants during worship planning is a good way to keep worship in the local language as well as to avoid preaching to them instead of with them.
10.) Love God’s people. (Be involved in their lives, not just a “hello” as you pass in the hall or a “phone call” on a Wednesday afternoon, so you can report on them on Wednesday night).
Even if folks are giving you “the look,” love God’s people. You were called to love, not to be loved. Worship is the one time you are with more of the people you are appointed to than any other time during the week. What an amazing opportunity to love them all at once!
So, that’s the list….it comes from a pastor in California~
It’s not all inclusive, but as church leaders it certainly gives you something to think about, huh?