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5 Ways to Keep Professionalism From Ruining Worship

The primary complaint that I hear from congregants in many churches is that the worship service is too much of a show, and you may believe that to be true yourself. In an effort to have excellence in our worship experiences we may have overstepped. Here are some ways to put the corp back in corporate.

Stop being a slave to glitz!

It is a commonly held belief among worship leaders that the expectations are that they are going to create a fabulous “show” week in and week out. No, the word “show” is never mentioned, but the reality is that church pastors want their congregations to be whipped into a mild frenzy before they get up to speak. This is no longer just true of Pentecostal churches.

Most large churches, whether they are evangelical or not, believe that they must create a worship format that resembles a sales meeting or grandiose concert. It must have things that are memorable!

Most Episcopal and Catholic churches don’t feel compelled to do that because their services are liturgy-driven, not driven-driven. A sure way to tell if you are in a “driven-driven” church is to measure how much applause you EXPECT to get, not how much you actually get.

Start seeing congregations as people instead of numbers!

The more we rate our congregations by how many of them showed up instead of how those of us in leadership provided for their need to be in community, the more we defeat our real ministry purpose.

We talk about money and attendance too much. It motivates our interactions with people and it defines our feelings of success or failure in ministry. That’s probably not a good thing.

Let people see worship as part of their offering instead of just yours!

Are you puzzled why more people don’t sing in worship? Some do, but a lot don’t. Through many years of thought and study on the subject of worship participation, I have come to a single and sad conclusion.

We don’t actually do a very good job of encouraging congregations to participate. We say we want them to “join” us but we don’t give them very much “space” to do so. Our agenda is very closed and we don’t give a lot of breathing room for folks to penetrate our rigid timetables.

Stop competing with pop culture, you’re probably bombing there anyway!

We have essentially failed to reach the very market we say we are determined to win. It’s not that our attempts have been ill-intentioned, but rather, there is an absence of ability to do it well. Playing guitar and having three or four nifty “grooves” does not a worship leader make.

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Doug Lawrence is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, who helps churches assess and improve their skillfulness in creating engaging worship experiences. In 2007 he founded and continues to serve as CEO of Speaking as a Performing Art, a firm which coaches leading executives and their teams and includes pastors from across the country. Doug co-authored GPS for Success, published in 2011, with Stephen Covey and others. You may reach him at dlawrenceconsult@mac.com.