The McChurch has replaced the traditional church and its relational values. Fast-food Christians pull up to ecclesiastical drive-through windows, order the McGroups, consume the experience and then drive off, discarding relationships like burger wrappers on the highway of life. Savvy church growth pastors quickly learned that significant growth can occur if a church learns how to market it burgers to capture the appetite of this roving crowd. In some instances merely producing an interesting alternative to the status quo can lead to significant church disaffections. – William Chadwick, Stealing Sheep, p. 20
Transfer growth, by definition, creates no numerical growth in the kingdom of God. In fact the term is an oxymoron, and grossly misleading, for its net result is simply much ado about nothing. There are no new converts, no baptisms, no expansion of knowledge of God in the world, and no salvation fruit from this labor. Arguably – and contrary to popular belief – there is no known purely positive kingdom benefit from a benefit change! – Chadwick, Sheep, p. 30
Conversion growth, in general, graphs poorly. Even with the investment of considerable resources in evangelistic programs, conversion growth is slow growth. By its nature it requires the decision of one person at a time. Each of them needs to have the gospel presented in a fashion that they can understand, and often this requires the building of relational bridges to their world. – Chadwick, Sheep, p. 95
We have attractive carpets, nicely arranged bulletins, cleanly painted walls and deep subculture norms. The unchurched do not fit into this world. When the middle age of life sets in, church people can become upset with the headaches of having newborns in the house; we are past that stage of life. We desire to plan our retirement and find ways of increasing our spiritual and physical comfort levels. The “not like us” gain the disfavor of an unwanted pregnancy and can, in many subtle ways, be aborted. – Chadwick, Sheep, p. 141
Healthy transfer growth is about rescuing sheep. In some cases they are rescued from a church where salvation is not articulated. In other cases they are rescued from a setting where false teaching and heresy occur. And some sheep need to be rescued from abusive church settings. – Chadwick, Sheep, p. 157
Ministers aren’t kidding when they talk of troubles. It’s the truth. Pick any ministry you want, and there will be enough problems in it to occasionally jerk the most optimistic person down off his toes. Ministries are few and far between that have no troublesome concerns stalking in the wings. More than likely, the best church you know about could be destroyed overnight if the right person made the wrong move. Even the best situation is fragile. Whether we know it or not, churches live on the brink. Something could go wrong at any time.
If you are going to survive in the ministry, you have to decide to see the good and give it a major portion of your time. Much of the spark of ministry is lost because we, being very human, focus too long on the problem and too little on the progress. It’s so easy to glance at God and gave at the Goliaths. Along comes a troublesome issue or a cantankerous person, and before we know it, we are zeroing in so intently on the problem that worry muscles in and closes off our view of the steady progress that is still passing us by on the other side.
- Joseph Seaborn, Jr., A Celebration of Ministry, p. 21
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25
Here are 25 reasons why you should regularly take part in the public and corporate worship assemblies of your local congregation:
1. The word of God teaches it (Heb. 10:24-25). A high and correct view of scripture demands regular church attendance.
2. Corporate worship is where the preaching and teaching of God’s word takes place (2 Tim. 4:1-5).
3. It follows the example set by the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16).
4. It honors the best and brightest day of the week – Sunday, the Lord’s Day – the day on which the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.
5. It is a wise and proper use of the privilege we have to publicly and corporately worship God. There are Christians in other lands who do not have this freedom. The only way for us to express our gratitude for this liberty is to use it faithfully and thankfully.
6. Your neglect of corporate worship grieves the Holy Spirit who lives within the individual believer and the church as a whole (Eph. 4:30).
7. It brings joy to the spiritual leaders who watch over your soul and who must give account for you. Absenteeism grieves them and is unprofitably for you (Heb. 13:17).
8. It demonstrates that you share the mission and ministry of the particular church family of which you are a member.
9. Your absence from church services renders it difficult, and in some instances impossible, for you to participate in the church’s mutual ministry to itself, especially the “one another” commands of the New Testament.
10. You need the encouragement that comes from the assembling of the saints (Heb. 10:24-25). In fact, the more evil the days become, the more you need this encouragement.
11. God demands first place. We should give God the first part of our financial increase. We should have a daily quiet time to give God the first part of our day. And we should regularly attend church on Sunday to give God the first part of our week.
12. It reminds you that God has made you a part of a new community of people through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:5).
13. It is a way of preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).
14. Public and corporate worship is one of the key places where you exercise your spiritual gifts. It is a strategic place to minister to other believers (1 Co. 14:12-14).
15. You regular attendance serves as a positive example and influence for others.
16. If you take part in some ministry of the church – and you should – your absence can hinder the overall effectiveness of the group and discourage other members.
17. Being involved in public and corporate worship services counteracts our self-centeredness.
18. You should take the time to stop and say “thank you” to God for bringing you through another week.
19. Absenteeism is a poor testimony to unbelievers who see your inconsistency (John 13:34-35).
20. True and saving faith will create love for that which Christ loves; namely, the church (Eph. 5:25). Regularly attending church services is a fundamental way to show your love for the bride of Christ.
21. It is the practice of good habits like regular church attendance that builds spiritual character.
22. The New Testament teaches us to recognize, to share all good things with, to submit to, and to honor the spiritual leaders who teach us the word. Attending worship is a way of doing that. (Remember, not only are we accountable to the word of God, we are also accountable to those who God uses to teach us his word.)
23. Attending public and corporate worship services renews and strengthens us for the days ahead (Heb. 10:24-25).
24. Corporate worship helps reinforce the truth that worship is not about getting from God. Fundamentally, Christian worship is about giving to God.
25. Public and corporate worship is the officially designated place to carry out the ordinances of the church – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. – Psalm 107:31-32
What are your thoughts about the importance of regular church attendance? Can you think of any other reasons why it is important to be marked present on the Lord’s Day? Join the conversation in the comments section.
Going directly from a call to preach to leading a church is extremely rare.
Preachers need the maturation that comes from serving with or under another pastor, before leading their own congregation.
Yet many associate ministers wish they could just skip this process.
Pastors treat associates as flunkies. Congregations neglect the vital role associate ministers play. Members view associates as step-parents, substitute teachers, or “garbage-time” bench riders.
It can be discouraging. But it doesn’t have to be. Your time as an associate minister can be an affirmation of your ministerial call, a time of spiritual development, and a fruitful season of Christian service.
Here are 10 ways you can maximize your role as an associate minister.
Seek clarity about your calling. Not every associate preacher is called to be a senior pastor. It may be to serve alongside another pastor. This is a noble calling. You ministry is not unimportant because your name is not on the bulletin. Seek the Lord about the calling on your life. Is it missionary work? Should you be in the classroom, rather than the pulpit? Is there an area of specialization, like youth of Christian education, the Lord has purposed for you? Or are you called to the pulpit of a local church? Get clarity about your calling and head in that direction.
Be ready to preach and teach. You may not have a scheduled time to preach. And you may have to share opportunities with other associates. So take advantage of every chance you get. Be ready. Don’t wait to get a date before you prepare. Study now. Write a sermon. Get your pastor’s input. Show him by your work that you are ready. And don’t wait for Sunday morning spots. Volunteer for a Sunday school class, prayer breakfast, or funeral. Teach whenever you can. Prepare for the pastorate by increasing your skill and experience in ministering the word.
Learn everything you can. Consider yourself an intern. Be marked present. Get involved. Participate in behind the scenes work, not just platform stuff. Follow your pastor around. Ask a lot of questions. Listen to the answers. Don’t talk too much. Process what you experience. Learn from successes and mistakes. Soak up all the knowledge and wisdom you can get.
Be proactive about your growth. Time doesn’t fix a flat tire. And it does not produce a skilled minister. You must be intentional about your development. Don’t be pulpit furniture. Don’t be guilty of ministerial sloth. And don’t wait for others to invest in you. Read. Study. Go to school. Attend of ongoing training events. Seek out your pastor’s counsel, guidance, and mentorship. Ask for assignments that will help you grow. Don’t be indifferent about your ministerial future. Determine to be the best you can be for God.
Be loyal to your pastor. The pastor was voted, called, or selected to lead the church. You were not. It is not your place to run ahead of the pastor or to work against him. You are there to assist him. Respect him, even if you are older. Support him, even if you have been there longer. Honor him, even if you have more training or experience. Pray for him. Do whatever you can to help him. Be trustworthy. Keep private information confidential. Do not speak against the pastor to members. Do not listen to members speak against the pastor. Remember the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).
Have a servant’s spirit. The paradox of Christian discipleship is that the one who would lead must be a servant. This is the Christian way to leadership. We are servant-leaders. Serving as an associate minister can help you develop a proper attitude toward Christian leadership. Be a servant. Imitate the one who washed his disciples feet (John 13). Make yourself available to serve. Serve as to the Lord, not for men. And don’t get offended when you are treated like a servant!
Keep your ego in check. Don’t let compliments, encouragements, and opportunities go to your head. You may be a better preacher or leader than your pastor. But it may just be your pride talking. Regardless, there is a reason the Lord has placed under his leadership. And it is not to compete with the pastor. Be humble. Be submissive. Be faithful. In due time, the Lord will exalt you. Don’t exalt yourself!
Do not usurp authority. If you are not the senior pastor, do not presume authority that is not yours. Do what you are asked to do. Don’t take liberties with the opportunities you are given. Don’t let leaders or members pressure you to act impetuously. Don’t make a golden calf for the people while the leader is away. If in doubt, ask. Or, better yet, don’t do it. Stay in your lane.
Wait your turn. You have a burden to pastor. It has been your heart’s desire for some time. You have done what you can to prepare yourself. But no doors have opened. You are stuck in God’s waiting room. Don’t get impatient. God knows who you are and where you are. God knows the place he has for you. God also knows how and when to get your there. Don’t be weary in well doing. Trust that God’s timing is perfect.
Leave when it’s time to leave. You are asking for trouble if you leave an assignment prematurely. God punishes AWOL soldiers. At the same time, don’t stay too long. Don’t sit in neutral unnecessarily. Don’t hide out from your true calling. Don’t be a source of confusion or disunity. If you do not respect your leader or cannot follow his leadership, leave. But make sure you leave in a way that leaves the door open.
Do you find this advice helpful? What advice would you give an associate minister? What advice would you give a senior pastor about his responsibility to his associate ministers?
On the day of judgment preachers will not be asked where they went to seminary or whether they earned any advanced degrees. They will not need to present membership statistics or submit their annual budgets. It will not matter how popular they were or whether they could make people laugh. instead, when they stand before the heavenly tribunal they will be asked, “Did you preach the word?” Those who followed their own agenda – or even worse, the world’s agenda – will hang their heads in shame. But many humble preachers, who were held in little esteem, will shine in the brightness of their Father’s glory. For in their proclamation of God’s Word they were faithful to the very end. Their preaching was evangelical, doctrinal, and practical. Their Lord will say to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant!… Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matt. 25:23). – Philip Graham Ryken, City On A Hill, pp. 52-53
A certain woman who jumped from church to church decided that she was not at the right place. She informed her pastor, “Well, I believe it’s time for me to move again.” Mustering a rare forthrightness, he replied, “That’s okay. It does not matter that much when you change labels on an empty bottle.”
Of course, there are legitimate times and reasons to move your membership from one church to another. Conscience and conviction may require you to leave a church. In most instances, relocation results in the need to find a new church home. There is a list of other situations in which it is appropriate and acceptable to transfer your membership.
Let’s face it. We live in a mobile society. It is normal for people to change residences, jobs, cities, and churches. It is what it is. But it is wrong and irresponsible to accept this reality without scrutinizing it in light of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the church.
Our failure to diligently pursue New Testament Christianity in congregational life has resulted in a phenomenon that would have been totally foreign to the early church – church hopping.
You know what church hopping is, don’t you? It is when a person habitually jumps from one church to another.
Some do it in search of that elusive perfect church. Some do it to avoid accountability and responsibility. Some do it because they are bandwagon Christians, following whatever is considered new, exciting, or successful. Some do it because they view church to be like a buffet restaurant. In their selfishness, they design their own multi-site membership to satisfy their tastes. “I like the preaching here,” they say. “And I like the music over there. But I think that the other has a better youth program than all of them.” Still others do it because…
Well, I think some people do it without really knowing why they do it. It is like a disease. Let’s call it CHS – Church Hopping Syndrome.
For the record, I am not talking about people who attend events or participate in worship services at different churches. I actually think it is beneficial to be exposed to what God is doing in other Christ-exalting, Bible believing churches. As long as it does not interfere with your commitment to your church, there is nothing wrong with visiting other churches. But it is wrong to be a resident visitor at several churches.
For that matter, it is wrong to be a member of more than one congregation at a time. That is congregational polygamy.
It is wrong to jump from one church to another, just because you don’t like some things about our present church or you have found some things you like better at another church. This is serial monogamy. And it cheapens the bride of Christ.
How should we respond to the pervasive and spiritually counterproductive reality of church hopping?
The primacy of the pulpit. The number one reason people give for leaving a church is (insert drum roll): “I am just not being fed.” I could say the same thing about my wife’s cooking. But if I said that to Crystal, she would tell me, “I cooked a healthy meal. If you do not want what I cooked, you are on your own for dinner.”
This should be how we respond to those who give this spiritual sounding excuse for church hopping. I accept the fact that there will be people who leave my congregation. But with God’s help, I am determined that they will not be able to legitimately say they left because they were not being fed. They will have to come up with some other excuse… uh… I mean reason. A strong pulpit has a way of anchoring a church and holding a congregation together. So by all means, preach!
There is another side of this coin. While biblical preaching will draw and keep people, it also has a way of driving people away. In 2 Timothy 4:3, Paul warns, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (ESV). If you are committed to sound doctrine and biblical exposition, be prepared for some people to avoid or leave your church. They will find themselves a place where the preacher is saying what they want to hear, rather than what the word of God teaches. But play the man and stay the course. 2 Timothy 4:5 says, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” In short, be faithful. And the Lord will reward your faithfulness.
Pastoral ethics. There was a time when it was harder for a person to jump church from church to church, because there was a certain code of conduct among local pastors. If you left my church and went to a church across town, the pastor over there would call to inform me and ask some questions about you. You could not cause trouble in one church and then pop up somewhere else without the pastor asking why you left your previous church. In fact, when I was boy, it was customary to hear pastors say during the invitational period, “You can come as a candidate for baptism, by your Christian experience, or by letter.”
That’s right. If you were joining from another church, many churches would require that you have a letter of recommendation from the church you left. That may sound like some crazy tradition. But it was the practice of the New Testament church. But now pastors are so busy competing with one another that we do not care where people come from or why. We only care about whether people are coming down the aisles and the membership roster is increasing. But if we as pastors would be more intentional about how we receive new members and more careful about how our policies demonstrate respect for other churches, it would disassemble the launching pad for many church hoppers.
Membership matters. We can discourage unnecessary church hopping by striving to make membership more meaning in our local churches. It begins with the new members class. First of all, we should make sure that we have one. Then we should make sure it clearly presents the gospel, affirms a biblical statement of faith, explains the church’s mission, clarifies local church dynamics and distinctives, and clearly states what new members can expect from your church, as well as what your church expects of them.
We also need to make sure that our congregations are governed by a plurality of godly men. Call them what you will – elders, associate pastors, or whatever. But a healthy church needs a team of godly men who are keeping watch over the souls of the membership (Heb. 13:17).
This is not the biblical responsibility of deacons. And, with all due respect, trustees don’t actually have any biblical responsibilities. Churches have them to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Even when trustees are charged with the administration of church finances and facilities, they should not be considered the board that runs the church.
The gospel mission, disciple making work, and spiritual health of the church must be the unmolested priorities – not church business. Without a doubt, people are more prone to stay at a church where there is not political infighting over who is in charge.
Since I am wading into controversial waters, let me dive in and add that meaningful church membership also requires that we practice church discipline (Matt. 18:15-20). I know that our natural inclination is to avoid joining a church that will try to hold us accountable for our actions. But you really shouldn’t be a part of a church that does not love you enough to kick you out if you are unrepentant and stubborn about your sinful lifestyle!
This is not religious legalism. It is New Testament fellowship. And church hoppers would have few places to hop to if more churches would strive to nurture biblical community where mutual submission to one another is expected and practiced.
Our churches also need to develop vital ministry programs that draw people closer to Christ and to another. No, I do not think we should facilitate the consumer mindset many people have by treating them as if the church exists for them. But we should be about meeting needs, not just doing church. More specifically, we should help people for Jesus’ sake. This means that the church should not be a charity, social club, political action group.
There are plenty of organizations that are not Christ-centered to do these things. Let the church be the church! We should be our exalting Christ, reaching the lost, and nurturing disciples. This is all the more true when it comes to our children, youth, and young adults. We are rapidly losing the next generation. So it is essential that we cultivate ministry in a way that is meaningful to young people and that assists families in bringing up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Sheep Stealing. All statistics report that the Christian church is in decline in America. For the first time since the birth and early development of this nation, the trend is that more missionaries are being sent to American than from America. The condition of the contemporary church in the states can be best described as a falling away. But you would not get this indication by watching Christian TV or reading Christian magazines.
Just look at all the popular Christian performing artists, large conferences being convened, and so-called megachurches sprouting up all over the place. You would think that a true revival is sweeping across America. But the reality is a lot of churches are growing through transfer growth, rather than conversion growth. Many have abandoned the disciple making process and think they are fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) through the circulation of the saints. Sheep stealing has become our church growth strategy.
I sometimes hear pastors say, “If you are not growing where you are going, you should not be going there.” I agree, in principle. But I do not think the question of whether you are growing where you are going should be emphasized in our appeals for membership. It sends the wrong message and assumes that if a person is not growing where they are going, it must be the fault of the pastor or the church.
Could it be that you are not growing where you are going because of your own selfish and sinful behavior? 1 Peter 2:1-3 says: “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Maybe you are not growing where you are going because there are some attitudes and habits you need to put away.
Get over it. People leave churches all the time. Some have legitimate understandable reasons for why the leave. Others leave for silly reasons. But don’t let it stress you out. You are not the only show in town. Praise God for that! We are not in this by ourselves. God has seven thousand knees that have not bowed to Baal and tongues that do not sing his praises. You are not in this thing alone. God raises up all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.
The church I serve is surrounded by many other strong and stable churches in town that do ministry differently than my congregation. That’s a good thing. We have no reason to be jealous of any church. We should be very careful about criticizing other churches that the Lord is using to exalt Christ, teach scripture, and reach people. And we should learn to celebrate what God is doing in other congregations. After all, we are all on the same team. And the Lord Jesus Christ has already won the victory. Let us rejoice together whenever we are claiming territory for the kingdom, even if it is not my brigade that takes the hill.
Please join the conversation and share your comments. What do you think about church hopping?
NOTE: This is a repost of a previously published article by HBC2
You have heard of C.M.E. Christians, haven’t you?
This has nothing to do with a particular denomination. C.M.E. Christians are in every church.
They are people who only come to church on Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter Sunday. Get it?
Ironically, C.M.E. Christians are usually not true Christians. They are nominal Christians, at best. They have enough religion to come to church on these special occasions on the Christian calendar. But you most likely will not see them again… until the day Christian holiday.
During weeks like this, we pastors are prone to complain about the many C.M.E. Christians who will attend our worship services on Easter Sunday.
I admit, I did for many years. I was irked by the apparent hypocrisy. I cannot wait until next, I thought, when things get back to normal and I can preach to the true Christians. (It would take me years to figure out that the level of hypocrisy did not decrease one bit the Sunday after Easter!)
One day, I changed my mind. I wish I could say when it happened or how it happened. I don’t remember. But at some point, my frustration toward C.M.E. Christians changed. Rather than dreading Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter, I really started to look forward to it.
All year, the church reaches out to unsaved and unchurched people. But on Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter, we almost don’t have to do any outreach. The unsaved and unchurch just show up. At least, they are more open to an invitation to come to worship to hear the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
What a blessing!
I determined to stop complaining about C.M.E. Christians. I no longer made little snide comments about them from the pulpit. Instead, I fell in love with them. And I have made it my goal to make sure the church I serve puts its best foot forward to welcome them and to make sure the worship is prepared and the message is clear.
Without a doubt, there will be C.M.E. Christians at your church this coming Sunday.
Please, don’t view this as a negative thing. Pray that God would give you love for them and that he move through the worship and the word to introduce them to the love of God demonstrated in the bloody cross and the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The longer a congregation exists, the more concerned it tends to become with self-preservation – and the less concerned with its original purpose. Time, money, staff, and even the prayers become increasingly inward-focused. The result, not surprisingly, is that the church stops growing. The foremost principle says that leaders must keep, or turn, the focus of their church away from themselves and back to their primary goal -and Christ’s primary goal – of making disciples. This happens through prayer, engaging the Bible, programming, budget, staffing, and evaluating all the church’s ministries on their contribution to increasing the number of Christian disciples. – A church can do many good things. A church should do a few important things. But there is only one essential thing a church must do: “… God out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life…” – (Matthew 28:19, The Message). – Charles Arn
I am a loyal Gospel Music fan. For years, I have joyfully collected Gospel CD recordings. More recently, I download music from iTunes. And I rarely go anywhere without my iPod. Keys, wallets, cell phone, and iPod – don’t leave home without them!
I love Gospel Music. Praise and worship. Traditional. Contemporary. Old school. New school. You name it. I like it, except for quartet music (Oops). Sorry.
Really, I just love music. But I especially love Gospel Music. However, most of the Gospel Music on my iPod, I would absolutely freak out to hear performed in an actual worship service on Sunday morning. The music may sell a lot of records. But it is not music that is appropriate for public, corporate, Christian worship services.
Gospel artists, know that you have my full support. I love your work. Many of your are very gifted and talented. And I pray that God will use your ministries to his glory. However, as a pastor, I am concerned about how your work shapes Sunday mornings in many local congregations.
Concerning music in worship, Paul exhorts, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).
Note three things about this verse. A variety of music is acceptable in Christian worship. Music used in worship ought to teach and warn the saints in all wisdom. And the goal of music in worship is to cause the word of Christ to dwell in the hearts and minds of the saints more fully.
Even though you are performing music as a part of the music industry; as a Christian, you are not exempt from these instructions. The Lord will hold you accountable for the music you perform in his name, just as he will hold me accountable for the sermons I preach in his name. So sing, play, and write to the glory of God!
Here are ten recommendations you should consider as you strive for spiritual excellence in your music ministry:
1. Write and sing songs that exalt the Godhead, rather than songs to and about the congregation or audience.
2. In many instances, simple is better. But be careful not to dumb down worship by only writing and performing simplistic songs. 7-11 songs – where you keep saying the same seven words eleven times – are not edifying. Write a text. Make a point. Give us something grand about Christ and the gospel to listen to, sing, and think about.
3. Please stop doing so much talking before, during, and after the songs. Just sing. And let the lyrics speak for themselves.
4. Take the time to have a pastor or Bible teacher review your lyrics, to help you think through the theological, doctrinal, and textual implications of your lyrics. (Hopefully, it can be your pastor. You do have a pastor, don’t you?) Word of Faith teachers do not count.
5. Be sensitive to the fact that your recordings influence many local churches, music departments, and worship services – for better or for worse.
6. You may cause us to miss your point about how good God is if you are simultaneous trying to show us how good you can sing.
7. Do not give “shout-outs” during the songs to your record company, producers, fellow musicians, band members, home town, or… you get the point. What’s that about?
8. You dishonor the entire worship service and set a bad example when a pastor invites you to sing and you do your “set” and then leave.
9. Stop speaking in tongues on your recordings. Many of your listeners do not speak in tongues. And many who do believe that tongues should have an interpreter. Carefully study 1 Corinthians 12-14. And think about what you are communicating in a recording of worship music.
10. Stop addressing cities in your music. “Praise him, Detroit.” “Sing it with me, Houston.” You are not leading cities in worship. You are leading the congregation you are leading. Hopefully.
Here is one more recommendation for free:
11. Please remember that it is not about you.
The hard truth: God cares more about the holiness of a congregation than He does the size of the congregation. Using numerical benchmarks to somehow size up the blessing God pours out on a congregation or to evaluate members’ ability to stay faithful to the guidelines of Scripture lacks spiritual maturity and reveals our reliance on human understanding in our vain attempts to build the kingdom of God through our own methods. -Thomas White & John M. Yeats, Franchising McChurch, p. 63
Why has the church bought into the lie that only big churches can win in the battle against our culture? What victory is it if we accomplish an incredible feat with massive budgets, slick advertising, targeted marketing, and the newest programming? Do we miss out on the greatest experience of God working through the “least of these” to impact all of eternity when we spend our effort more on marketing tactics than prayer? In fact, some of the great movements of God in history have come from small churches that decided to get right with God. As He moved in their midst, their small clay pots, torches, and trumpets become the sharp swords God used to bring salvation to hundreds if not thousands. – White & Yeats, McChurch, p. 68
The church is not a business; its pastors and leaders are not CEOs. The gospel is not a commodity that can be bought and sold, no matter how you want to package, market, or sell it. The church is not designed to be a purveyor of good feelings or emotional experiences like some kind of amusement park or vending machine. We can stall all of this, but the reality is that many churches evaluate themselves by asking the same type of questions mentioned above. Do the people have buy in? Are our ministries cutting edge? Do we utilize the best technology? Are we growing numerically? At the end of time, your congregation will stand before God. He will evaluate your ministries according to the hallmarks of success He put into place for the church, not human inventions. In fact, God’s investment strategy is often exactly opposite to the measurements of the world. -White & Yeats, McChurch, p. 70