Archives For Worship

Leading WomenI led the worship department at Parkview Christian Church for 20 years, where I started on staff with me, myself, and I. But as the years progressed and the church grew, the worship staff did also and in my final years, I was leading a staff of 11 paid staff plus interns, and over 300 volunteers. I’ll be honest, I had no management training in college. Unfortunately, most people who are educated for Ministry are not taught these things, and they should be.

Some of you lead a department at a ministry or church, some of you lead volunteers whether a serving team or a small group, and some of you lead other moms or even just your own family for now. But you ARE a leader. And how you lead truly influences others and their perspective of Jesus. And, Ephesians 6:7 says “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” (NIV) so our attitude when leading others should be about doing our very best.

So, as a leader, I wanted to share some tips I have learned along the way to help you (as well as my…

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EasterEggHope

For three and a half decades, Easter Sunday has been one of the biggest evangelistic opportunities of the year for Saddleback Church, and for thousands of other churches too. When the celebration of Easter Sunday is such a golden opportunity to tell people about the hope we have in the risen Christ, it’s definitely prudent to start planning for it early.

As your staff and leadership team starts to develop a strategy for reaching as many unchurched people as possible, here are some vital questions for pastors to answer…

What message will I be preaching?

Obviously, you’ll be preaching about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The world is starving for hope, and the resurrection story is the greatest source of hope we have. But the greatest story ever told can be told many different ways and from many different angles. Here are just a few of the messages I’ve preached on Easter Sunday:

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The question often comes up: How can a service be both worship and seeker-friendly? At Saddleback, we believe you can have both without compromising either.

When we speak of worship, we’re talking about something only believers can do. Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.

Here is the simple definition of worship that we operate with at Saddleback: “Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said, and what he’s doing.”

We believe there are many appropriate ways to express our love to God: by praying, singing, obeying, trusting, giving, testifying, listening and responding to his Word, thanking, and many other expressions. God – not man – is the focus and center of our worship.

God is the consumer of worship

Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. They can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how worship encourages, strengthens and changes us. They…

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At Saddleback Church, holidays are a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to reflect on God’s infinite love, which he pours into our lives. We’ve seen thousands of people trust in Jesus at our Christmas week services, so it’s a great opportunity for evangelism. But we also need to remember how easy it is for people to remain lost even while we’re talking about the birth of Christ.

Here are three principles we should all remember as we enter the Christmas season that will help people experience God’s love…

Keep it simple

Jesus was born into some pretty sparse circumstances. The son of two poor Galileans, he lived a life of humility and simplicity that became a key element of his ministry here on Earth. We try to reflect these same Christ-like attitudes at Saddleback, and that’s why all the activities we focus on at Christmas tend to be small and personal.

We want people talking to each other, helping each other, and growing together. Despite the fact that we have more than 20,000 regular attendees, we’ve found that the larger we grow, the smaller we must become. We want our members and…

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I’m often asked, “How can a service be both a worship service and place for seekers to experience Jesus?”

At Saddleback we believe you can have both without compromising either.

When we speak of worship, we are talking about something only believers can do. Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.

Here is the simple definition of worship that we operate on at Saddleback:

“Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said, and what he’s doing.”

We believe there are many appropriate ways to express our love to God: by praying, singing, obeying, trusting, giving, testifying, listening, and responding to his Word, thanking, and many other expressions.

God – not man – is the focus and center of our worship.

God is the consumer of worship

Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. They can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how…

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vision (1)

Dreaming about the future of your church and ministry? Wondering what God might do through you and your congregation or team?

Whatever He has for you, you can be sure that every God-inspired vision has six distinct characteristics. All of them can be clearly seen when God commissioned Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land…

1. It’s bigger than you think.

God told Joshua He was giving them “all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them” (Joshua 1:6).  It’s been estimated that the total territory for the Hebrews was upwards of 15 million acres! It would be hard for anyone, including Joshua, to fathom that much land mass.

On an even grander scale, Joshua most likely had no idea he was a type of Christ, symbolizing though his own obedience and actions how Jesus would later save His people from their sins. God is always working through our lives to do things which are much larger than we can comprehend or see at the moment!

2. It’s harder than you can do.

Joshua had been given a God-sized assignment. Leading over a million Israelites across the Jordan…

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handspraying

A worship leader recently asked me for advice. He is trying to make some important improvements to his music ministry, including adding a choir and a new recruiting process. How would you answer these questions?

Q: I’m in the process of putting together some new systems for the Fall. One of them is a recruiting/audition system. I wanted to seek some advice and wisdom from you about that. Do you guys do formal auditions there? If so, what does the process look like? I know involvement in the band and vocals is also part of the leadership development system y’all use. And I’m thinking of loosely implementing some of that ideal into who serves where. But does everyone who wants to be involved have to go through some audition/interview process? If so, what does that look like? Any and all feedback is much appreciated.

A: We do not hold regular auditions at this time. Instead, we allow any one who wants to sing in our adult choir. After 3-6 months of singing faithfully in the choir, we may ask individuals to audition for our vocal team (as we have need). We want anyone on our…

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Stephen Moore“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).

In this one simple verse, David has given us three distinct purposes of worship ministry. These purposes apply whether we’re in a church of 100, 1000, or 10,000. The purposes do not change. We may have different ways of reaching these purposes, but reach them we must. As worship pastors and leaders, we are tasked with leading our church’s worship ministry toward these three all-important goals. These 3 goals can be summed up in 3 simple words: Lord, leader and laity…

1. Lord. “Magnify the LORD.” Any worship ministry worth its salt will first and foremost seek to magnify the Lord to the best of its ability. Therefore, we must prioritize developing quality worship services week in and week out.

2. Leader. David said, “O magnify the Lord with me” (italics added). The second purpose of worship ministry is found in the word, “me.” “Me” represents those involved with the worship ministry, who are helping lead the times of praise during worship services. Any public appeal to magnify the Lord must include “me.” We can’t ask people to go where we’re…

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Crowded ChurchAlmost every church in the world will see an attendance spike this week. In the this-is-really-obvious-research-finding, we found that Easter was the highest attended day of the church year. (OK, really, it was about Mother’s Day, as USAToday reported in a front page story on our data, but Easter was number one.)

If you work in ministry, you already know this and did not need LifeWay Research to tell you. You’ve been planning for it. But are you planning for next week, too?

Nicola Menzie, a reporter for the Christian Post, asked me some questions for her story, “How to Keep the ‘Chreasters’ Coming: Experts Say Preparedness and Follow-Up Are Key.” The story has lots of helpful information, and the subtitle gets it right, “While Churches Look to Make Converts for Christ on Easter Sunday, Many Fail to Make a Connection.” Her good questions got me thinking—so I turned my comments to her into a full post here.

Let me share some thoughts on what your church can do to follow up its Easter guests.

Seize the Easter Moment.

Easter is an opportunity, but it has to be seized. More people will hear…

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Building Strong Worship Leaders

One of the greatest needs of the church today is gifted, godly worship leaders who will not only pour themselves into the weekly corporate gathering but who will, behind the scenes and off the stage, pour their very lives into discipling and training a whole new generation of worship leaders. That’s why I’m so excited about the work of Dwayne Moore and the Asaph Generation. Worship leaders from various backgrounds are coming together to see a generation of people giving authentic praise to God as never before.

From Nehemiah to the apostolic era, from the Renaissance to Azusa Street, great movements of God have always been fueled by heartfelt repentance and passionate worship. When God’s name is glorified, great things begin to happen. Please read this book slowly. Soak in its wisdom. Hear and heed the call, first to be a worshipper, but also to determine how you can invest your life into seeing God’s name magnified and glorified in our culture.

– From the Foreword, by Brandon Cox

Grab your free copy here!

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QuestionsEvery church I know of holds weekend worship services. Most of them hold at least 52 a year. Nearly all of them will have visitors show up, even if by accident.

What we don’t often realize is the incredible anxiety most of them are feeling as they walk through our doors.

Their minds are racing with questions.

The answer to those questions will most likely determine whether or not they ever come back.

For some, it may even determine where they spend eternity!

Here’s my unofficial list of a first time guest’s questions:

1. Is the roof going to cave in on me? Or sometimes stated, “Am I going to get struck by lightning?”

Many of our guests are feeling the incredible contrast between their current lifestyle and what they know God wants from them. Because of this, they think that God and them are on the outs and that He’s probably ticked off at them.

2. Is anyone going to acknowledge me?

This is human nature. Whether we are visiting a church or a restaurant or a store. When we enter walk into an organization we believe to be customer-driven, we expect someone to speak to us. In fact,…

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Saddleback JoyWhen I was a kid, Christmas was a time of forced church attendance and family conflicts with out-of-town relatives. We did not have much, the gifts reflected it, and we did not know enough to be grateful that we got anything at all.

In other words, when Christmas came around every year, my focus was on it being an unhappy holiday. I was not at all concerned with the actual meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Son of God. So, I grew up not liking Christmas much. Then I became a pastor, and it got worse. Maybe that’s you, right now, but in a different way. One too may late nights. One too many critics of the technology. One too may experts on what the church Christmas service should really include. Just one too many….I get it—if you are reading this magazine, you probably are at a church where it takes a lot of work to pull off a Christmas service. As a pastor, I see how hard our team works every week and how much time and effort they put into every last detail.

Hours of work already go into a…

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