Archives For Worship

I recently told a friend, who happens to be agnostic, that he “shouldn’t” go to church. I know. That was dumb, right? I really didn’t mean that he should avoid attending church. Rather I meant that he, as a non-believer, wasn’t under any particular moral duty to attend church on the weekends.

Instead of feeling as if he should attend church, I wanted him to understand that he could attend. He could freely and he would be welcome. He would be loved. He would be accepted and treated like family. And… it might even be good for him. No, not a good thing for him to do… a good thing for him. See the difference? I don’t embrace moralistic therapeutic deism. I don’t think the weekend worship service is about making people better.

The worship service is all about magnifying the redemptive good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for sinners and how he is the one and only saving King for all of eternity! But… I still think church can make life better for people, even when they don’t believe the core message of the gospel.

Why does this matter? It matters because of where our culture is in relationship to the church. There are two primary reasons people have traditionally…

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Every weekend, Saddleback Church shows a short video of what’s coming up in the life of our church. We call this part in our services Church News. It’s a two and a half minute creative way to connect with all those visual learners out there and inform them of events, outreaches, and resources. Our video team has a huge heart for crafting a Church News piece that is engaging, relevant, and creative. We want it to reach the person who’s never been to church before and help them feel welcome, accepted, in-the-know and engaged – and every decision we make is with that in mind.

I don’t know about your church, but Saddleback Church is always changing. It’s exciting to work in such a fast-pace environment, but it can also be challenging. From the time our Marketing and Communications team gets the announcement content to us, we have one week to turn around our video. That’s 5 days to dream, write, cast, shoot, and edit (in addition to our other weekly responsibilities). Because of this, Church News is a HUGE team effort that would not be possible without the different strengths and imagination of our team, hosts, and volunteers.

The heartbeat…

This post was originally published on Saddleback Worship's blog. Check out their latest release, entitled First

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People

No one likes to hear the word no. It is one of the quickest ways to close a door on an idea, a relationship, or a possible partnership in ministry. A quick no can squash enthusiasm, plant a seed of resentment, or make a person feel devalued. The best way to avoid these culture destroyers is to lead with a yes.

As worship leaders or creative contributors, what we do is almost always under a microscope. It’s not an easy job to balance the opinions (good or bad) of our pastors, teammates, and church congregation with what God has called us to do. The weekend worship experience can draw out strong opinions from the meekest of church attendees; planning services and events require passionate creativity, and implementing new processes can stretch even the most flexible of team members. The number of ways a worship ministry hears the thoughts and ideas of others are endless. And honestly, sometimes answers like “that will never work,” “no, we are not turning the volume down,” or “we can’t do it that way” are easiest when you are on the spot. However, easiest isn’t always best. The harder conversation…

This post was originally published on Saddleback Worship's blog. Check out their latest release, entitled First

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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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