Monday, February 16, 2009

Repost from Dr. Turner at ABSC

Ten Ways to Make Worship Fresh
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2009

Predictability is good for meals and paychecks, but is an enemy in encountering God. Encounters with God are usually “extra-routine”.

If you can recite the order of your Sunday worship service without looking at the bulletin so can most of your congregation. Avoid just going through the motions of worship.

1.Change the way you start. Have the choir enter from the back of the sanctuary; begin with a season of prayer, or testimony. Never begin consecutive services the same way.

2.Interview church members about God’s work in their lives. It may be a stewardship testimony, or a testimony about healing, or witnessing. Interviews use time better and are more comfortable for your members than testimonies.

3.Use video in promotions. Last years’ VBS video is a great way to promote this year’s VBS. A missionary moment on video is great during an offertory or before an offering is collected. Make sure all the equipment works in advance.

4.Use questions and answers in a sermon. Instead of “someone has asked, ‘why should we witness?’” in a sermon, have someone in the congregation actually ask the question during the sermon. Again, practice is important.

5.Affirm people who have done well as volunteers. Thank deacons for their ministry. Honor Sunday School teachers, or committees. Never do all of these on the same Sunday, but do them all in the course of a year.

6.Vary the time of the offertory. At the end, at the beginning—folks can give at any time. Remember, predictability often leads to routine rather than worship.

7.Do not announce anything that has been written on a screen, or in the bulletin. If you can not institute a “cold turkey” approach to eliminating announcements, begin by limiting the number of announcements progressively until you can say, “Please be sure to read the announcements in your bulletin”. Some will assume that the lack of announcements devalues the activities. Eliminate this complaint by ending the service earlier because you don’t make the announcements!

8.Responsive readings are underused, and unify the church around Scripture. Used at different times in the service, they are wonderful ways to reinforce the point of the sermon or service.

9.A brief explanation of some denominational emphasis will be interesting for most church members. Not too often, but frequently enough to communicate the value of the ABSC and SBC.

10.Use history to your advantage. Example: Sunday, February 8 in 412 AD, Constantine became the first Christian emperor, speeding the spread of Christianity throughout the empire. Use this as a call to pray for elected officials and politicians.

The ABSC exists to help you accomplish your goals. Let us know what you need.

Emil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.

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