Category Archives: Worship

TOP TEN

toptenaw

It is Top Ten Day

Yeah, Yeah – another insert and delay to Renew Your Mind. But it is the 10th – so it’s Top Ten Day – which I’ve missed the past couple of months. In honor of Walter, I am doing top ten Christian songs. I know many have their own favorites and you might not even like some of the ones I choose – but this is my list, so here it goes …

In no specific order …

It Is Well (any version)
A Mighty Fortress (Boswell’s version)
Calvary (Hillsong)
White Flag (Passion)
You Are Holy (Smitty)
Always (Stanfill)
Open Up the Heavens (Vertical)
Holy Holy Holy (GateWay)
Revelation Song (Jobe)
The Wonderful Cross
Take Me Back (Camp)
What, that’s 11? I guess I never learned to count correctly!

Honorable Mentions …
Ever Be, Praise the Lord (Imperials), Forever, Somewhere in the World (Every parent needs to hear this song), How Great is Our God, Touch of the Master’s Hand, You Are My King, When God Ran, Step by Step, Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone

What are yours?

Styles & Expectations – Weekend WOW

Each weekend, I explore a little more of the WOW – ‘Woke on the Wonder’ of worship. This week it is a little on the different personalities of different churches.

About 17 years ago, Gene Mims wrote a little book entitled The Seven Churches NOT In the Book of Revelation. While limited in its scope, and not dealing with every aspect of a pastor’s and a church’s role in leadership, evangelism, making disciples, and more … it is a whimsical and pointed look at the different personalities, or seven different cultures, a modern evangelical church might take. I believe the concept might be more of seven different personalities of church members – for I have found all of these at the churches I have served. But however one views these seven categories, it does explain how one type of pastor may find himself frustrated if he is trying to lead a particular type of congregation with another type of pastoral style – while overlooking our God who can bridge those gaps.

The seven categories are …

1.        The University Church—where the emphasis is on teaching, learning, and doctrine. (The pastor operates as a professor)

2.        The Arena Church—worship-centered, where performance and entertainment are key. (The pastor is a performer)

3.        The Corporate Church—large, complex, intricate, and a model of efficiency. (The pastor is the CEO)

4.        The Machine Church—program-oriented, focused on building, missions, and task management. (The pastor operates as a manager)

5.        The Family Chapel Church—based on family ties, where personal relationships come first. (The pastor is a chaplain)

6.        The Legacy Church—rich in tradition, often focused on a great event or personality of the past. (The pastor is a curator)

7.        The Community Center Church—committed to community service and local issues. (The pastor is a prophet to current issues)

Now, overall, these categories are a great challenge for pastors and church goers to leave the ‘one type fits all’ mentality at the door. We will find different styles all around the country and all through our pews (or chairs, or theater seats, or bean bag cushions – though haven’t seen that last one personally).

The pastor finds himself filling many of these roles and often at the same time. Church members will expect certain roles from the pastor as well. And when reality doesn’t meet expectations … messiness occurs. But I’m okay with that. I believe it is in the messiness we learn some of the greatest truths of God’s grace and patience. They key is love.

Christ prayed for unity in the church (John 17) not uniformity. It is in our love for each other – worked out with grace and mercy – that the image of the Lord is seen by those that are watching. And people are watching. The Word tells us it is our love for one another – not our style, not our uniformity, not our preaching, not our numbers, or whatever – that lets people know we are His disciples.

And I close with one last thought. If a pastor (me for example) is weak in one or more areas, that actually is okay. For the humble pastor will realize that is where we really need His strength. In our weakness, He is strong. And in our reliance on a Him, we find true freedom to serve and lead.

No matter your personality, the personality of the one sitting next to you in church, the personality of the pastor, may we all keep our eyes on Him, His commission given us (make disciples), His grace, and His glory (not ours). And may we walk together, sharing the good news of hope, forgiveness, and love.

So, worship this weekend, or any weekend, and be thankful God loves all type of people – even my type, even your type. And like puzzle pieces forming the big picture – we can worship side by side showing the world He loves them too!


Note: this is not a review of Mim’s book, just a launching pad to think about where one is serving and the church they call ‘home’.

WOW Weekend Moment … a preacher to know

This generation of pastors need to know Vance Havner

One of the more visible aspects of worship services are the preachers. Many will go past other church buildings to get to the church where they want to hear a particular preacher. I know I have been blessed the past few years to hear great preachers like Morris, Graham, Jeffress, Greear, Swindoll, Chandler, and more. And add to those the video sermons (either online or at satellite campuses) of Furtick, MacArthur, MacDonald, Groeschel, and Houston.

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a move to get preachers that “fit an image” or look a certain way. That physically fit, wonderful marriage, well behaved kids, 40ish, etc. type of image draws people. But one of my favorite preachers doesn’t fit that mold. He was small in stature and unassuming in appearance. He had little formal education but was always studying the Word. He started preaching at age 12 and did it all his life. He had that North Carolina draw that sounded more like Mayberry than a polished pulpiteer. But if you heard him, you would hear the fire in his soul that burned to proclaim a prophetic word to the church today. And the prophetic word he did proclaim.

When it comes to worship, and to choosing a church, this is critical – do not compromise on the pulpit. Make sure the sermons are from the whole counsel of His Word, not a feel good, lift you up only motivational speech. Every worship should have a time to feed the soul – and our nourishment is from the Word only.

So, this preacher was Vance Havner. He was a favorite in preaching circuits and conferences. Billy Graham spoke at his funeral.

My father knew him. And from what I remember, Havner preached at my father’s churches multiple times through the years. Maybe it was their mutual Tar Heel Connectix I have read several of his 30 plus books. And now I am challenged to get them all.

He was full of funny one-liners that would be simple enough to put on a Pinterest pin, funny enough to make one laugh, but convicting enough to stop one in their tracks. So let me share just some, and maybe these will encourage go read more from this man …


Taking it easy is often the prelude to backsliding. Comfort precedes collapse.


Too many are willing to sit at God’s table but not work in his field.


Some preachers ought to put more fire into their sermons or more sermons into the fire.


Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.


Prophets are almost extinct in the religious world today. The modern church is a ‘non-prophet’ organisation. (sic)


If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven; you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world.”


One author shared a thought about his style …

Havner was not politically correct. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, and he was always at his best when preaching to preachers. He thought a group of preachers was like a pile of manure. Spread it around and you will get a harvest. Keep it all in one place and you will draw flies. Get the picture?



A new generation of preachers would benefit from being introduced to Havner. We all would. So find some of his wisdom, and then share with others.

Be bold, be Biblical … todd

WOW … why we go to church

Each weekend, I explore a little more of the WOW – ‘Woke on the Wonder’ of worship.


I encourage you to connect with the Intersect Project. Intersect is a project of Southeastern Seminary’s Center for Faith and Culture and the Kern Family Foundation. It exists to educate you to engage the intersection of faith, culture, work and economics so you can equip others and be empowered to glorify God in all your life.

That’s the line, basically it’s connecting faith to culture … the intersection … to equip and empower to glorify God.

Okay, why all this. Well, I came across an article that asked and answered the question of why we go to church. He was chewing on the words …

People come to church and have no clue why. They sing a few songs, listen to a sermon, and go back to their lives without any change. The problem is that they have no understanding as to why they are doing what they are doing.

Here are some of his pondering …

We “church” to glorify God. We gather around God.

Romans 12:1 commands us to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God.

This lifestyle propels …

– Communal witnessing (1 Peter 2:9),

– Communal repenting (Acts 2:38),

– Communal worshipping (Psalm 150; Ephesians 5:19) and

– Communal teaching (Colossians 3:16).

– We gather because we are one body, drawn together by God to be a people of God who live for God.

– We testify to God’s greatness.

– We disciple others through life together.

– We serve, teach and encourage, not just one another, but the world at large.

We shouldn’t gather for an emotional high … nor for that feel good moment … nor from a consumer mentality. We gather together to be a witness to the world, to build each other up, and bottom line – to bring a Him glory.

I also see this … we gather because God is uniting us. Jesus last prayer was for our unity. And that’s hard to do if we never come together.

So this weekend, spend some time thinking about why you worship. And hopefully, you’ll see it’s all for Him.


Thanks Nicholas Dawson for his article … go here to read it all

Being Ghosted at Church … and I ain’t talking about the Holy Ghost

Each weekend, I explore a little more of the WOW – ‘Woke on the Wonder’ of worship.

A modern phrase has entered into several of my conversations in the past week – Ghosted.

Now previously, this phrase was connected to Patrick Swayze’s response to Demi Moore in Ghost …. where he only said “ditto” to her “I love you.” But it has evolved to being totally ignored and blocked by someone else … not returning texts or calls, blocking on social media, etc. – basically treating someone like they are not even there, ergo, a ghost. People who no longer want to date someone will ghost their former partner with no communication of explanation.

It has moved in the business world where employees or new hires will ghost their job offers … not showing up for interviews, just disappearing even if offered a job, and not giving an explanation or even trying to make communication. USA Today even did an article on it. It is also done in the reverse. Potential employers will not acknowledge applications, make no attempts to follow up, and ignore all attempts of communication by the candidate … not even form emails (which are so easy in this tech savvy world.) I’ve experienced this from churches where I don’t even know if they’ve received my resume or not. And months will go by, follow up emails sent ignored, positions are filled, and still no word or even a ‘thanks but no thanks.’ (I’ll write more on this on a later date, today is about church worship and church life.)

In church life, this exists as well. Members will disappear with no communication at all. Now I get it at times, we get upset, might feel lazy, don’t want to cause waves, or maybe even get sent into witness protection. But churches should be better at relationships. We are the family of God and should be cordial and quick to show grace and forgiveness like we’ve been shown. (editor’s note: tune in Monday for a bit on forgiveness!)

And churches should not be ghosting our guests. Have a process in place to discover and connect to those who attend worship or community events, view websites, or just live in the same community of a church. Don’t ignore them, be quick to connect, follow up promptly, and let them know they are important.

A powerful and effective ‘connection center’ in the lobby should never replace connections outside the walls

This is not the staff’s job … this is every member’s job. Sit next to that guest, give them a way to connect to you, and maybe get their email or social media connection. Don’t just get that info, use it – send a text, a birthday greeting on Facebook, invite them to coffee, anything. Many guests will go weeks before they fill out that connection card – so when they do, churches need to do something with it. Too many connection attempts are only done within the Church walls – but a powerful and effective ‘connection center’ in the lobby should never replace connections outside the walls.

And staff members – if you get a connection attempt, don’t ghost ‘em. Very little shows lack of caring then ghosting a person. I speak as a staff member who has blown it at times, but also as a church guest who has been ignored, rebuffed (very blatantly so), and ghosted. This is not a small church or large church issue – this a relational and a common courtesy issue. Do you value people? Then let it be very clearly seen that you do!

So, if we do talk about ghosting in church, may it be about the Holy Ghost getting active … can I get an “Amen!”

Who do you hang with? — WOW WEEKEND

Each weekend, I explore a little more of the WOW – ‘Woke on the Wonder’ of worship. This week, it is about being around the table together.

One of the weaknesses I had in the way I raised Calvin was my lack of an organized dinner hour. We probably spent more time gathered around tables at restaurants then our own kitchen table. I am not blaming anyone’s cooking skills, it just kind of happened that way. Yeah, I know the statistics of how kids are better prepared for life with a family that eats together – sue me – I think Calvin has done okay. Even today, our apartment doesn’t have room for our kitchen table – only the kitchen serving bar serves as a gathering place – and it doesn’t fit all three.  But we try to find a way.

This scenario also spilled into the way I did ministry. (Note the past tense – not that I don’t do ministry anymore, but I have learned to be better in the way I do it). I know I could’ve done better at ‘breaking bread’ with church family members. (Yep, I listened to you Cindy F – You hit home with this insight to me). My early ministry was more of a behind the scenes, getting the ministries to run smoothly, be the detail person. And when I was senior pastor – it was a smaller church with me as the only full time staff member. This is a hard issue for small church pastors – we end up being the one that makes sure everything runs smoothly, doing all the odd jobs – even when it really cuts into building relationships with our church family.

Our busy-ness can be unhealthy to building those all important relationships.

We should never sacrifice relationships over traditions, nor people over programs. Slow down – spend time with the church family – get to know each other – share life together. If you can’t do it around a table – find somewhere to do it – just do it (sorry Nike, I had to borrow this phrase).

We should never sacrifice relationships over traditions,
nor people over programs.

Worship is also about fellowship. It is a significant purpose for the existence a local church – it entails spending life together. Call it community, call it connections, call it engagement – it is fellowship. Fellowship is not individuals coming together to stay individuals in a larger group – it is blending of lives, a sharing of life together, a family bond that goes deeper. Andy Stanley talks of the progression of welcoming people to be like a ‘foyer-to-living room-to-kitchen’ movement. Real life, real fellowship, happens in the kitchen. It is in the kitchen, around the table, that we find relationships that leave a mark – that make a difference – that impact us and others around us. It is here we laugh, cry, celebrate, discover, and yes, argue, and yet bind in a unity that the world needs to see. A unity grounded in the very love of Christ.

The early church worshiped this way – Acts 2:42 – Yes they continued in the apostles teaching – but they also met for fellowship.

How does your church promote this deeper fellowship? Is it seen in the church’s culture, the very life of the church? How does it invite people to connect with others in this deeper, life-sharing way?

This week, spend some time breaking bread with some church family. Spend life together.

………………………………………………….

NEXT WEEK – for next weekend the WOW moment will dig deeper into this ‘spending life together around the table’.

Imagine if you will, that worship is like gathering around a table. Now I am not referring to communion – I am referring to just hanging just hanging out and spending time with people – with a purpose to bring us closer to each other and each one of closer to God. That would be … (Come back next week for more)

EXTRA NOTE – did you know the National Spelling Bee was won on the word ‘koinonia’ – the English transliteration of the Greek word for fellowship – booyah!

Has Media Gone Too Far (WOW Worship Moment)

No Canned Music to Media Explosion

I remember growing up, there were several churches I attended that swore there would never be ‘canned music’ in their worship services. That meant no cassette tape accompaniment tracks – or later, CD – and now, digital. They swore only live orchestra or piano. Now, I love live music, and throw in some strings – it really gets my heart aflutter. But I don’t know any church that doesn’t use some type of digital or background media now.

And media has exploded – screens, more screens, wall projections, TV monitors, and more. When dealing with music, this includes lyrics, background videos, official lyric videos, CCLI and copyright information, and so on. Also – video announcements, countdown tracks, sermon series intros, and so on. Now we find baptismal candidate testimonies, new member pictures, and missionary/ministry telling their stories. We also find sermon illustrations, promos, and so on and so on. Then we throw in streaming sermons to multiple campuses, to home computers/Apple TV/Roku/etc., to mobile devices.

Who knows what is next? Scratch-N-Sniff bulletins?

Has it Gotten Too Big?

Has media gotten too big for our worship? Should we just get back to simplistic worship. Media can be divisive – and God desires unity, So where do we draw the line to not be divisive?

Robert Morris tells the story of an older member wished he would preach live at every service. He asked why, and she said so she could see hum directly. He asked her, when he does preach live, does she look at him or the screen. She said the screen, for she loved to see his smile, emotions, and other facial expressions. To which he said then why does it matter if he’s live, for she doesn’t watch him anyway. She smiled and said that he was so wise.

I agree it is a comfort level – how much can the worship leader and the worshipers handle. But the biggest point is what glorifies God the most to get the message out. Does the video illustration add to worship? Does the video announcements help the worship flow without distraction? Do the baptismal testimonies help the church family celebrate the individual decisions, not just the ordinance?

I think lyrics on the screen help people sing better – they are looking upwards (not burying their face in a hymnal), and they can be engaged in more corporate way. I realize parts/notes gets lost – but who reads music anymore? Also, being a bit older, I like the larger words on screens over the teeny tiny words in a book. And The Village Church integrates Scripture on the screen during bridges, between verses, etc.

I love churches that have notes to the message available online at the time of worship – helps with note taking and keeps people engaged – as well as helps in the weeks that follows.

So Here Are My Thoughts on Some Reasons Media Can Be Effective

  • We live in a media centered world, so the church should use all things to reach all people, as long as it always glorifies God
  • Media is a great way to integrate the arts
  • Media is remembered longer
  • Media can be shared online, as a follow up from the worship
  • Media is very easy to share with other people outside of the church
  • Streaming Sermons can keep multi-campuses unified (this is good and bad, but more later)
  • Media is a consistent way to bridge multiple services and multiple campuses
  • Media can help people worship that can’t make the physical service
  • Media by larger churches can be shared with smaller churches which may not be able to afford higher quality media on their own (LifeChurch is the premier example for this)
  • Media helps people to be better engaged in music
  • Media helps the church family get better acquainted (sharing our stories)
  • Media is multi-generational (don’t believe me, ask grandparents to see videos of their grand kids and see how excited they will get!)

These are just a few … I could go on, but I think you get it.

So, this weekend

So, this weekend – spend a little time to just realize how much media has been integrated into worship at your church. If there is something that was effective, let your worship leader know. If not everything floats your boat – realize God may have used to reach someone else that needed it. Remember worship is not about our whims, but what helps us all worship.

SO HELP ME …

Let me know in a message, for a comment, what media do you find helpful, effective, and you’re glad it is being used.

Who You Gonna Call? … The WOW Weekend Moment

It was 1984 and a soon-to-be classic was released in the theaters. Even today, the question “Who you gonna call?” is met with a loud – “Ghostbusters!” The theme song was nominated for an Oscar and the movie went on to produce 2 sequels (the latest in 2016), several animated series, video games, and became part of our cultural history (the geeks in Stranger Things wore the Ghostbusters outfits – oh yeah). I would love to have a fun discussion on who you think is the best Ghostbuster (later on that I guess).

So what does this supernatural comedy have to do with worship? It provides me, this brilliant writer, with a witty segue to talk about one of the first things to do with worship services – at least chronologically speaking – no, not the announcements. I am referring to the invocation, the call to worship, the opening remarks. You know, that part of the service where we begin to quiet down, get our kids back from under the pews (was I the only kid that did this?), and begin to focus. It is often a prayer or a Scripture reading (as a prayer) or a simple call to worship. I’ve experienced other forms – a song, a media driven presentation, church bells ringing, and a blowing of a shofar (ram’s horn/trumpet) to name a few.

This practice is very Biblical … especially the shofar and Scripture. The 15 Ascent Psalms (120-134) were read on the journey to Jerusalem to worship, as well as by the priests on the 15 steps into the Temple. There are other Biblical texts often used for Call to Worships – Psalms 5, 19, 66, 95, 100, Hebrews 10, Matthew 11, et al.

Now, here is the question, “Who is being called?” We often think the prayer is calling on God to make His presence known, to open up the Heavens, to speak to His people, and/or to draw us closer to Him – and there are times Scripture tells us to call on the Lord.  While these are valid – and excellent prayers – I think we are missing the point at times when it comes to a Call of Worship. I mean, God is always ready to be worshiped, always present, always speaking to His people, and always desiring to draw us closer.

Now, here is the question, “Who is being called?”

BUT if we are to see this more clearly, then we would see that it is me, you, all of us that are being called. Read Psalms 95 … Come, let us come, let us sing, let us bow, let us kneel … the call is for us to come to worship. Put everything else aside, put the phone on airplane mode (or simply turn it off – unless you use the Bible app), set our hearts, minds, ears, and our all to be attuned to Him.

There are some basics to an invocation …

  • It sets the purpose of worship that we are here to listen and to respond to Him.
  • It sets the plea from Him … the priests (the Lord’s intercessors) call out for us to come and worship Him, the Lord calls for us to gather
  • It sets the perspectiveit identifies the God we worship, the LORD, our Creator, Almighty, King of kings, etc
  • It sets the perspectiveit identifies the ones who worship: us – and our neediness – broken, needy, hungry sinners … and our blessedness – forgiven, saved, and now we are His, His children
  • It sets the point of origin. Come, NOW is the time to worship.

Now a Call to Worship “prayer” is to God – but it is an expectant pleading for Him to work in us that He has gathered this very moment – it is not an accident that each person is there for a reason. God has called us together for this very moment. WOW. In the word of familiar great hymn, “Come Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” We call on Him to tune our hearts, to get the wax out of our ears (metaphorically), and to lead us to respond to His great love.

But generally speaking, the Call to Worship is for us. He calls, He is the initiator, and He invites us into a relationship where we worship … where we respond with humility and need, with praise and adoration, with an intake of the living water that never runs dry …

Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)

So this weekend, let us enter into His presence with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise … and it starts with entering.

So let this be your call … come and worship!

Big Church Small Church – Weekly WOW Thoughts

There is an old statement that every thing is bigger in Texas. And while it is true I saw a 30 foot Dorito’s bag outside the Frito Lays Headquarters (and I wish I got a picture with Peg leg, but missed it), those type of BIG things don’t appear every day. Yet, many churches in the Dallas metroplex are large – very large.

One source reports there are over 1700 churches in Dallas, over 1300 in Fort Worth, and hundreds in the surrounding suburbs. Over 4000 – Wow. My father was the pastor at Grace Temple Baptist – which was in Guinness Records for having more churches in one square mile than any other square mile on the planet – again, Wow.

Eight of the top 100 churches in the nation are in Dallas. Some are Watermark (11,000 plus attending per week), First Dallas, Prestonwood (17,000 per week – Calvin works here), Fellowship, and Gateway (over 28,000 weekly) – and these numbers do not include online viewers. And yet again, Wow.

But is bigger better? With over 90% of all churches under 200, how does all this fit in the big picture? Having been in large, small, and in-between size churches, I can say it is not so much about size but about health. How healthy is the church? Now, much has been written on this issue and maybe we can return to it later. But I want to say there is strength to smaller churches – a healthy approach to church life that can reach people, that can make a more personal impact in their community, and that can keep people to a higher level of accountability because it is not as easy to hide in the crowd.

There can be a simple focus that produces fewer programs but are done better. There can be relationships built across generational lines because you don’t divide by age groups as much. And there can be a better flexibility because of lack of organizational red tape.

But I guess it just boils down to a few things – no matter the church size.

Are you fulfilling the Great Commission – Making Disciples?
Are you fulfilling the Great Commandment – Loving God and Loving Others?
Are you doing this with solid theology, a focus on relationships, involving all members, and an impact on the community around you?

WOW on Worship this week – it’s not about size. Small churches impact lives too! And sometimes will reach people a large church never would. Let’s celebrate the diversity and strengths of different size congregations. And through it all – may God get the glory.

POST SCRIPT – Want more, just Google “Thom Rainer and small church”  or “small church health” … you will get plenty of articles to peruse.  The picture attached above is Prestonwood Baptist’s Plano campus.

WEEKLY WOW – It’s About Victory – Not Defeat!

It is weekend – which means we are look at some point of the WOW of Worship. We have explored Awe, Attendance, Music (specifically the choir), and Prayer. This week is an element that has evolved over the years. And if you were to try to come to a consensus of form, you won’t. Some go old school, some adapt to modern trends, and some just eliminate it all together.

What is this element? The altar call, the sawdust trail, the time of decision, response call, or next steps – whatever name you are used to – this important aspect of worship needs to be explored. Some say the altar call was not in Scripture – and while the form most of us grew up on (a hymn – pastor down front – come forward), the concept of an altar call is there. Prophets called for repentance, there was the call, “choose today whom you will serve”, and the New Testament has record of people responding to preaching at events like Pentecost and others.

Some say the practice of coming forward can be traced to the Camp Revivals and Charles Finney in the 1830s. And while his use of the ‘anxious bench’ (one came forward to the bench to pray and be prayed for, may be the early formation of our altar call) is the early stages.

In recent years, I have experienced churches practice to come forward for prayer, talk to counselors/pastors after the service at sections called ‘next steps’, find the prayer room off the lobby after the service where people will be there for them, fill out the ‘response card’ and drop in the offering plate/box and someone will follow up, or just end the service and say, “See ya next week.” While I was pastor at Friendship, I used several options depending on the situation.

And while the methodology may have changed over the years – I think the principle of an altar call is Biblical. To eliminate something just because the method is not specifically laid out in Scripture, then lots of practices today would be cut out (we can dig into that on another day). The way I see it is that there should be a time to respond to the proclaimed Word. There should be opportunity for confession (Biblical), surrender (also Biblical), praise (Biblical), and to be prayed for (also Biblical).

You may adapt the methodology, you may call it by different names, and you may place it at different places in the worship order – but I encourage you NOT to eliminate the opportunity for worshippers to respond and to be given counsel and be prayed for. It should not be a ‘One minute fixes everything’ but a step in the journey of obedience. It is not to be emotional manipulation, but a time of wise and Biblical counsel.

One last point, we need to remove the stigma of one who do respond. Don’t look at those responding and try to figure our what they did wrong. Let the time be seen not as negative but positive – a time of victory.  The person responding has not been defeated, but by responding, it is a time of victory in the Lord.

SO, may we preach the Word
– and pray that God will work in the heart of the listener.
May God’s Word not return void – And may the harvest be bountiful.