Category Archives: Worship

seeker sensitive?

I want to start my post with the following question:

What is the purpose of a church service?

is it:

  1. For the purpose of drawing unsaved people to our gathering so that the Gospel can be presented to them?
  2. A place and time for believers to be gathered together to worship and pray together, be taught, equipped and sent out to evangelize the world?

I personally lean toward answer 2. However, to be honest with you, no matter what yours or my answer is, the fact is that most churches are doing a poor job at both.

joelgrandopening.jpg

So here’s my extremely unpopular rant…

What is the deal with the obsession with having “Seeker-sensitive” churches?  Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we should present the Gospel in a way that even a child can understand.  I also believe HIGHLY in doing things with excellence.  Yet I keep hearing people talk about toning down our worship, and finding ways to make church a more comfortable place for sinners to come and stay.

I used a picture of Lakewood Church so that you know, I’m not picking on “non-pentecostal” churches.   This is happening in churches of all denominations and sizes.  Pastors are replacing a message from the Lord with lessons on how to have a happy life, and putting an encounter with the presence of God into a 10 minute window to keep those who want to be in and out of the building in less than an hour happy.

Here’s two reasons why I have a problem with this:

1) Our programs and our frills can never replace the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Our focus needs to be on Spirit-sensitivity and less on being almost politically-correct.  Was Jesus politically correct?  Did He (or the apostles for that matter) ever soften what He had to say about sin?  Of course they approached everyone with love – but they never held back things like what Jesus said to the woman at the well who had 5 husbands (I don’t even read about Jesus having a concern about whether she would run away offended).

2) We have replaced personal evangelism with a program that we call a church service.  I believe that the purpose of the church service is for Worship, Prayer, and the ministry of the Word (through teaching, preaching, exhortation, etc).  Never is the focus to be on ourselves or those who are visiting, but on The Lord and on how we can better serve Him! If a sinner comes, he or she will witness the Presence of God that is made manifest in the atmosphere where the Spirit is made welcome.  They will also witness the fellowship, love, and testimony of the goodness of God.   This is where the opportunity to draw them in is so great.

I am by no means bashing anyone’s style of worship.  I am just raising my eyebrows at what I call “misplaced focus”.   We’ve replaced relationship with church attendance, worship with nice music, and personal evangelism with an invitation to a soft-sell church service (I could go on).  I’m moving away from the thought that the church service is where evangelism is most effective.  Think about it, it’s just plain lazy to invite someone to church as opposed to share Jesus with them.  Please note, I don’t consider massive evangelistic crusades (especially in places where people have never heard the Gospel) a part of what I’m talking about – these provide a totally different atmosphere and different situation than the weekly church service.

If in the church service, we create deeper relationships with the Lord through worship, prayer, and the Word; we’ll create stronger Christians who are excited and well-equipped to share their faith with people who need a Savior.  Then when that person comes to the church service, all of the stuff we don’t do because “people will think it’s weird” would make sense to them.

BEING the Church

I’ve said for a long time on this blog in many ways, that it’s not just enough to have church, we are called to BE the church.

This weekend was a HUGE opportunity for the members of Trinity Life Center to do just that with a county-wide back to school fair. This wasn’t an event for our church to toot our own horn, and drive a boost in membership. The vision for this year was to take this anointing to the streets where it’s needed the most.

All I can say about this event is WOW! We’re not a gigantic church.  Our average Sunday attendance is somewhere between 150 and 175.  Nonetheless, there were so many who worked so hard to prepare, raise the funds, and even get the building itself ready. My wife is one of those who went way above and beyond the call to help make sure this thing went off smoothly. A year ago she had this in her heart to reach out somehow and provide school supplies for needy children – it’s so amazing that the following school year this desire became a reality.

So far, it looks like we distributed 700 backpacks, with well over 1500 people coming through the church being ministered to with real love every room they entered. People kept thanking the staff for all of the hard work that went into this. The mayor of our town came and stayed all day, as did the fire department, several city council members (some of which rolled up their sleeves and helped!), the police department, the health department and representatives from about a dozen businesses. We even had the Geek Squad (usually my nemesis, but this time an ally) bring the Geekmobile into the sanctuary to do a talk on internet safety.

Two newspapers were there taking reports and pictures as well; The Courier-Journal of Louisville, and The Pioneer News of Bullitt county.

Click Here for a slideshow courtesy of the Courier-Journal, and here for their story leading up to the event. Click Here for the Pioneer News’ article (with my lovely bride’s picture).

Storms…

The following is an excerpt of something I sent to my Halal directors tonight. I thought it might encourage someone who is reading this.lightning.jpgPsalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

It is Wednesday night following the fellowship, service, and outreach. Tonight following the event, we were taking one of the teens home. After dropping her off, we headed back north into town on our journey home. Before we left this family’s driveway, a storm rolled in with lightning, thunder, and sideways rain. When we rolled onto the highway, we were driving only 40 mph because of the heavy downpour just because we couldn’t see. Then, just as we passed the Bullitt County Detention Center, the rain stopped. No drizzle, it just went from a heavy downpour to NOTHING. The first thing we noticed coming out of this rainstorm was more celebration and fireworks – just as if it had not rained at all! We could see behind this display lighning arcing through tall “thunderhead” clouds. It was a sight to see.

Many times in our lives we get overwhelmed. I’ve talked several directors already, and the story is almost the same with every situation. You are in a heavy storm! I want to encourage all of you reading this. The storms don’t last forever. Just as I had to while driving my family home through our storm tonight, you are going to have to proceed with caution through your storm. It will get worse, and the rain will seem heavier if you try to rush through it. But, just as quickly as they began, they will soon end! After the destruction, slowdowns, turmoil, and fear, God has a great celebration planned for you! If I could just get all of you through your storms, I can get you to your party.

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