Someone said that opinions are like noses, everyone has one and sometimes they smell! For what it is worth, may I share with you some personal opinions from my experience regarding church worship services?
Having been a credentialed minister since 1966 and being raised in church since I was pre-born, I have attended quite a few worship services. If I averaged 3 worship services a week for 75 years that would mean that I have attended at least 11,700 services in my lifetime. And that does not count nightly Revival services that went for weeks, PLUS camps, conventions, missions trips, etc.
My point is that I have seen and experienced many worship services. Most lasted about one and a half hours, but often they were much longer. At a minimum, I have easily spent over 17,550 hours in worship services. These past experiences helped to form the following opinions:
1. Preaching is to be done from a pulpit, not a podium. We know that the early church, according to Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage, was using pulpits in their meetings by AD 250, if not before. The pulpit, placed in the center of the platform, reminds everyone that the Word of God is the center of the church.
2. The preacher should use the Bible as the main text, not some current New York Times best-seller. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63 NKJV). Preachers can trust God that His sacred Bible is enough to connect with the soul of man. Added sermon anecdotes must never overpower the Word of God.
3. Those who attend a church service are referred to as the congregation, not the audience, customers, or share-holders. Hebrews 2:12 ESV, “In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” In the New Testament, the Greek word Ekklesia (congregation) is translated as assembly or church.
4. The preacher stands on a platform, not a theatrical stage. The congregation should not assume that the preacher has stepped on the stage to perform a dramatic monologue. The preacher speaks under the unction of the Holy Spirit as an oracle of God, parsing Divine truths so that natural minds can understand supernatural principles. Anything less is not acceptable.
5. The church has the four-fold mission to evangelize others, worship God, disciple believers, and show compassion. Through these four filters all administrative decisions are made regarding ministries, music, construction projects, etc.
6. Songs of worship must be Scripturally approved and uplifting to the entire congregation. Songs should be focused on Jesus and His glory, not on human feelings or opinions. The loudness of music should never be so deafening that it drowns out the voice of God speaking to His worshippers.
Pray for your church leaders to have the mind of God, the wisdom of Solomon, and the heart of Christ to win the lost while shepherding the found….and that’s not easy, my friend. But that’s my opinion.
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