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Worship Services VS The Mission of The Church

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  • Worship Services VS The Mission of The Church

    If the mission of the church is...
    Matthew 28:18-20
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    18 Jesus came and told his disciples, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

    What is the purpose of the worship service? Is it to fulfill this passage or another? If it's not this, have we tried to force the worship service into a position to fulfill the mission of the church in our modern church era in an effort to be "seeker friendly", instead of fulfilling the original purpose?

  • #2
    I think it depends on what you mean by the word "church". Personally, I feel the main purpose of the "worship service" is for Christians to gather for edification, worship, and to be equipped and taught to fulifill that purpose above. But, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be sensitive to those who may come in, as it's a great opportunity to evangelize as well.

    I also think each church will have it's own DNA and purpose, and will accomplish that mission in different ways.
    Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
    blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

    Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:
    www.soundcloud.com/FredMcKinnonMusic
    www.youtube.com/c/FredMcKinnonMusic

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    • #3
      Church as in corporate church...The Commission is applied to both local contexts and at large. The method of accomplishing that Commission I do see being different in the local context. When it comes to designing the worship gathering...my question is what are we designing it for, the mission of the corporate church...seems we have made huge pushes to "reach" people in the way we design services, rather than "edify the body."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Shmoe3982 View Post
        Church as in corporate church...The Commission is applied to both local contexts and at large. The method of accomplishing that Commission I do see being different in the local context. When it comes to designing the worship gathering...my question is what are we designing it for, the mission of the corporate church...seems we have made huge pushes to "reach" people in the way we design services, rather than "edify the body."
        Modern church "design" helps people engage in church so that we can fulfill the purpose of the church layed out in scripture. I don't see how there could ever be any argument against it. Design isn't there to waste money but to attract. Attract so that we can then in turn invest in them and teach them and "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." See where is this coming from?

        Comment


        • #5
          What I'm getting at I guess...and this is just a thought process...Is the purpose for a "modern church worship style/design" meant to be attractive to the "saved, or the unsaved." If it's for the "saved," then I can see it as a part of the edification of the saints and discipleship. If it is for the "unsaved," then it would make it part of evangelism which I don't see scripturally...Where in Scripture do we even see the churches designing worship experiences? I don't. I see them meeting together everyday all over the community, some times to worship, sometimes to eat, sometimes to serve. But there isn't, in what I see, any Biblical admonition to build a building, make sure the look and feel of it is cool, use modern music with Godly lyrics so that the lost will want to come and participate and the found won't get bored while they are here (Sarcasm implied). So I'm just wondering if we have missed the whole point of what the church was supposed to look like. Maybe all we are doing is trying to modernize traditions that were created when the church became a political entity. Maybe the church wasn't supposed to have a building/ praise bands/ etc. I dunno. Maybe when we gathered there wasn't supposed to be a format or structure or musical style to argue over. People were just supposed to get together in share what gifts the Holy Spirit gave them. We see in the old testament that God didn't even want a temple. It was man and man's pride that wanted to build it. God allowed them to do it, but eventually allowed it also to be destroyed to symbolize the failure of the Israel to stay connected to God. Maybe that's what this type of worship does. When we run out of ideas on how to entertain and motivate the connection people have dies. Because they are not really connected to God they are connected to a production. Maybe its because we were never supposed to get there in the first place. Maybe we were just supposed to stay simplistic and through our love for each other and service toward each other in the community people were supposed to be attracted. Not because we have pyro on Sundays. Maybe we were just supposed to cultivate relationships in small groups and help each other grow deeper spiritually, so when we were not together we could be more bold testifying about Christ. Which is why many churches are moving to that format. I love a good praise team, lights etc...I have known the presence of God in many worship services, but maybe like in the OT He is choosing to work in the confines of our own selfish desires, and not in what He originally intended.
          Last edited by Shmoe3982; 03-22-2013, 10:10 AM.

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          • #6
            The worship service can and does serve more than one purpose.

            It does need to edify the body, and it does that through growing together and fellowship. It also needs to be a vehicle to evangelize and reach people- to be inclusive and not exclusive. We want people to bring their friends, neighbors and co-workers to church.

            In the general topic of service design, there are two extremes- one is going over the top with amenities and 'entertainment' that people are coming for the party and not much else. The other extreme is the "Country Club" church where it's been the same people for the last 15 years and they have no desire to grow or do anything outside their four walls. Both extremes miss the point.

            Making "huge pushes to reach people" isn't necessarily a bad thing. There is a big issue in current Christian culture where the younger generations are losing their Christian traditions and heritage. Church is something their parents do. A lot of churches, especially smaller churches, are literally dying off- they do twice as many funerals for their members as weddings.

            Data from 2004-5 time frame shows that only around 20% of the population actually attends church. Gallup reports close to 40%, but that number is based on what people 'self report', and this is proving to be misleading (people self-report based on their intentions, not actions). More scientific methods that measure actual attendance by population put this number closer to 20%. Data also shows church attendance since the late '90s has dropped about 13%. 65% of Evangelical church attendees are ages 30-65. 18-29 year-olds only make up 17% of attendees. This distribution is fairly consistent among most Christian groups.

            The reality is, there is a great opportunity to reach out to young, unsaved and unchurched people. We are up against a major threat with 'pop spirituality'.

            So, there is absolutely a need to structure a service so it is inviting to outsiders. The future of the Christian church depends on it. Granted, in order to really be successful, it needs to be done where the Word and Christ's redeeming love is the focus, not a "dog & pony show" of superficial shticks and catch phrases. But it can't continue to be a "country club" of exclusiveness and empty legalism, either.

            As far as being scriptural, there is no 'thus saith the LORD' hard and fast rules. Looking through Acts, the early church grew exponentially in part during 'worship' times where the believers were gathered and the word of God came upon the speakers through the Holy Spirit. Looking at other examples, many a revival had their start in a worship service.

            What I see coming through is some underlying frustration with the way some of these services are constructed, and some of it may be valid. But it's a stretch to say it's not Scriptural or it is not going to be blessed.
            Last edited by Mike on Bass; 03-22-2013, 11:16 AM.
            If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

            Comment


            • #7
              does a structured service even need to exist? do we need a building with a church name on it? do we need an organization like that? Is that What God intended? Maybe those stats reflect our misunderstanding of what church is and should be as a whole. Maybe the younger generations aren't leaving the church, rather they are leaving what church leaders and fathers have turned the church into. Maybe , I don't know this for a fact and have zero research on it, but maybe why attendance is going down is because there is a need to get away from the production, get away from the trendy t-shirts and large budget programs, so that we don't "go" to church, but rather we can "be" the church. Maybe our institutions we have been racking our brains on how to change to be attractive either way really are working against us to develop deep mature Christians. Christ only had a handful of disciples, but he had huge crowds. I just wonder if we are shooting ourselves in the foot all the while trying to find ways to justify what we do and why we do it. I think its healthy to evaluate these things form time to time. Thanks guys for your input.

              Comment


              • #8
                does a structured service even need to exist?
                Can you picture what it would be if it didn't? Church starts at different times every week, the pastor is preaching while the band is playing and people are hanging out in the back playing Euchre? The kids are climbing the walls playing video games, throwing things, while the parents are hanging out at the expresso bar? Yes that is a bit facetious, but structured service does need to exist. Paul instructs the church in Hebrews 10 to not neglect the gathering together.

                Maybe the younger generations aren't leaving the church, rather they are leaving what church leaders and fathers have turned the church into.
                That does have some data to back it up. Usually, it has more to do with congregational issues such as politics and power plays as well as being stagnate and unexcting- singing the same songs they sung the last 10 years, the same people doing the same things. Major factors are involvement- kids that aren't engaged in the church in their youth are most likely to leave church as an adult- church is what their parents did. There is no ownership or 'skin in the game', so they don't have any ties to it. That is one of the leading factors that churches use to create youth (and college) groups and comprehensive children's ministries. Plugging them in at a young age greatly increases their continued engagement as young adults.

                This includes things young people like, such as upbeat modern music, giving them a place to serve (such as praise bands), fellowship and outreach programs, and other tools to give them ownership in it.

                Maybe our institutions we have been racking our brains on how to change to be attractive either way really are working against us to develop deep mature Christians. Christ only had a handful of disciples, but he had huge crowds. I just wonder if we are shooting ourselves in the foot all the while trying to find ways to justify what we do and why we do it.
                I agree that we have a serious deficit when it comes to growing Christians. Recent data shows that less than 25% of churches have a comprehensive Bible study program and over 80% of pastors concede there is no mentoring or discipleship program in their church. Only 25% of pastors report they have personal devotions. And it shows in our congregations.

                My pastor recently read a book from a Christian religion scholar that traveled to several different countries. He collected some interesting data. In most European countries, only around 40% identify themselves as regular church attendees, yet over 70% could recognize major characters in the Bible such as the 12 Disciples. They also knew the 10 Commandments and the major stories, such as Noah and the Ark and Jonah. They were also able to recognize which books were in which testament. In contrast, he did the same study in the US. In the US data, 70% identified themselves as regular church attendees but only around 20% could demonstrate basic Bible knowledge such as naming all 12 Disciples and and the 10 Commandments.

                So yes, there is a valid point about the lack of discipleship- but it isn't necessarily the 'service's fault. It's the lack of other tools to grow people like ministries, discussion/ study groups, and fellowship.
                Last edited by Mike on Bass; 03-22-2013, 12:14 PM.
                If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                Comment


                • #9
                  All the questions you have asked are definitely great things to consider! We need to remember why we do things, but Mike has given you some great answers and things to think about I hope you take them into consideration.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not blaming the service, rather our focus of the service in general..I mean maybe we were supposed to remain like the early church in Acts 2...meeting from house to house...I don't think all 3000 members of the new church in Acts 2 built a building, hired a lead pastor, exec pastor, fill in the blank pastor...creative team...worship team... etc... they just got together to strengthen one another, worship and study...there was no need for formality really, Paul did set up some guidelines for order in the gathering but not when to do things, rather how. There were no countdown vids, no microphones, not because of a lack of tech, probably because each meeting was small there was no need for an amphitheater that would or could project sound. When they met it was to build each other up...the evangelizing took place when they were apart. In 1 Cor 14:24 Paul even explains that in the rare occasion or if by chance an unbeliever comes in it would be better to be prophesying not speaking in unknown languages. It's almost a throw away phrase but it sheds light on the reality that the worship gathering isn't meant to focus on the lost, rather the found, building and strengthening them. IF the Lost shows up and we hope they do...we need to be conducting ourselves in a way that they can understand and can glorify God as well. But I see from scripture that the gathering is for the ministering of Spiritual gifts to build each other up so then we can go out and evangelize. I don't see a "Seeker-sensitive" approach at all in scripture. I do see Paul's admonition to lower barriers to engage people on a personal level for evangelism. I wonder if this is why many churches don't see the manifestation of Spiritual gifts being utilized in the church. Because the focus isn't on all that the Holy Spirit wants to do only a small portion. So yes I think when the church was formed it was meant to feel more like a family reunion over food and fellowship than the big productions of today.I think God still uses the production, but should we be focussing on the production, or getting all of the church involved to build up one another?...which may mean reducing the size of the gathering places in order to give more people opportunity to use their gifts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do, I'm not arguing, I have been asked to explore these things by my Pastor and I'm trying to gauge where others are on this issue. All comments are helpful!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Word of God can never contradict itself. If we believe the Great Commission, we must also place priority on Hebrews 10:24-25 and Colossians 3:16. There is a place for both going out into the world and gathering together, and in fact, the Great Commission should encourage us to gather together, and gathering together should encourage us to fulfill the great commission. Also, when we gather together, we should keep in mind 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, and do things decently and in order.

                        I think we too often get caught up in looking critically at the methodology of other churches. Some churches are more seeker friendly, and some are less, but the more time I spend worrying about what other churches are doing, the less time I'm spending focused on my own ministry. There is no exact one right way to do church, and every culture may demand a different method. Know your culture, know how to reach your culture and how to encourage your church to reach your culture, and do it, without apology.

                        Nate
                        Practical Worship

                        Please Pray For My Wife

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My story is that I come from a legalistic Baptist church background, and have transitioned into contemporary church settings. I love a contemporary "seeker" style of church. I have been called of God to help lead a church through transitioning from a traditional dying church to a relevant modern church. As we are doing this and we come across different issues, one of the issues was "why we don't see the evidence of the Holy Spirit in this place like we see in scripture?" Even though we have made most of the transition, why are the people who said they want to be missional and community friendly not "coming around." We have seen tons of new faces come and get plugged in, rather its the new people that are active and leading now, most of the older members sit back and watch it happen. The new people love what we are doing and the older well not so much. Then we started wondering...what if the way we do church isn't as effective as the scriptural description because 20% of the people are participating and 80% are watching. What if we need to restructure our gatherings to promote and allow 100% to share and edify one another through the Holy Spirits leading (not saying all will take advantage)? So I began searching the scripture and was kind of unsettled by what the church looked like then and how it looks now. I just wonder if we have made transitions in the structure of the gathering (nothing to do with music style etc.) but the way the gathering is conducted. The size of the gatherings, the times of the week of the gatherings etc. may restrict the Hoy Spirit more than promote Him. It is the Holy Spirit who equips each for the strengthening of the body, and we are told not to quench the Spirit. What if the format of a typical Sunday service actually does just that. Not that He can't work, but maybe we restrict Him being fully unleashed. It is a lot easier for everyone to share in an orderly fashion when it's 10 or 15 rather than 1,000 or 5,000. The comfort of meeting in a home and breaking bread together rather than the hurdle of being "christian enough" to go to church. Everyone who has a song could at some point sing it, rather than be reliant on a worship team, those who have a word could share it rather than being reliant on a 30 min message to hopefully cover everything. Just something I'm wrestling with.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for shedding some more light on what's prompting your discussion. That helps paint a more complete picture of what you are running in to.

                            A big key item you touched on was changing styles. This is always a difficult navigation. What you are sharing has been experienced by others in your position.

                            why are the people who said they want to be missional and community friendly not "coming around."
                            When many people say that, they mean "we want to be as long as I don't have to do anything". When it's time to put their service where their mouth is, enter the chirping cricket sounds.

                            We have seen tons of new faces come and get plugged in, rather its the new people that are active and leading now, most of the older members sit back and watch it happen. The new people love what we are doing and the older well not so much.
                            That's the nature of change. There are a lot of reasons for that. Some of it can be avoided by getting people on board and involving them in the change process, but many times people are bound by "this is the way we've always done it" and develop the mentality that church is about them, not God. They may or may not cause problems by being subversive, but I think it's safe to say you will not be able to count on them to help out much unless they soften their hearts.

                            The good news is that new people are stepping up and things are progressing. That is something to be celebrated and built on. More often than not, people like you are called in to 'change a dying church', and don't tell you their definition of 'change' is repainting the nursery and putting a new sign out front with a friendlier name like "fluffy clouds fellowship". When you start wanting to do serious things like restructuring and re-purposing services, there is so much push back from the "old guard" and it usually plays out with you being fired and they find someone who will repaint the nursery and change the sign and be happy they 'changed'... but when no new people come, that guy gets fired. Lather, rinse, repeat.

                            Then we started wondering...what if the way we do church isn't as effective as the scriptural description because 20% of the people are participating and 80% are watching
                            That's normal no matter what style you do or how many people you have there. To get higher than that, you have to actively get people plugged in. We are about 40% ,which is double the average, and that's because we actively find places for people to get involved. We don't guilt people, but we motivate them to want to.

                            Not that He can't work, but maybe we restrict Him being fully unleashed.
                            I'd suggest studying 'unison/ accord/agreement' and God's presence. Agreement and unison is powerful. It can release Kingdom manifestations or stop them dead in their tracks. For example, 2 Chronicles 5:12-14. In this example, we see the Levites leading worship, everyone is in unison or one voice, then God's presence fills the temple. Another example is the prayer of agreement- if two or more people are in unison of faith and prayer, spiritual manifestations will happen. The common thread in these two examples is that the agreement precedes the Spirit.

                            A key factor to unleash the Holy Spirit, and actually most kingdom-related manifestations are preceded by the body being in agreement. This is more than being amiable, it's a firm decree that the body shares the same faith, mind-set, philosophy, vision, and is working together as a unit to achieve it.

                            So I would suggest that the issue isn't as much of a church service issue but the undercurrent of hard-hearted people preventing a spirit of unity that is restricting the Holy Spirit.
                            If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Great discussion! If we get too hung up on designing the service I think it can foster a "If we build it they will come" mentality. I don't think people will care about our services as much as we think, if we SHOW God's love in practical ways that minister to others; true love, by and through the Spirit, is an anomaly and they are going to want to know what makes us tick and why.

                              I had to post this pod cast I heard that blew my mind. I think it applies well to the discussion and is really what motivated my response.
                              http://tlwfamily.hipcast.com/deluge/...9a57977373.mp3

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