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A Contrarian View on Starting a New Worship Service [April 19, 2017 Version]

Litrugical Worship

“I cannot stand that loud music,” said Henry Brown, a leader in his congregation.

“But, if it will help us reach a younger crowd on Sundays, as long as it is at a different time than the sacred 11:00 a.m. worship, and I do not have to attend it or hear that music when I arrive at church, then I guess we can have it.”

With that the board of Hope Church voted to start a new contemporary worship service.

“Have you seen some of those things they are doing in what they call their worship service?” exclaimed Claire Yarborough in response to the new emergent worship service meeting in the old church worship center at Council Road Church.

“I am not sure it is Christian. I know it is not faithful to our denominational heritage.”

Claire was not the only person who felt this way. The opposition in the congregation to the new worship service that had been meeting for almost two years was growing.

Claire continued. “We need to get a group of our leaders to attend that service and see what is going on. We may need to stop that service, and get rid of the worship leader. We particularly do not want our pastor doing some of those things in our worship service!”

She was referring to the interpretive movement—dancing as she called it—that was part of the worship experiences. Additionally, the meditation exercises and the unusual and casual way they partake of Communion seemed out of character to their denominational heritage.

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Jim Royston Endorses Captured By Vision--George's Newest Book

Jim Royston 02Captured By Vision is a wonderful book to enable congregations to experience vision from God rather than finding vision in their programs structure. The church with true vision is contagious and more interested in people than programs. George effectively explains empowering vision from God as a grace gift where congregational vision results in disciplemaking.

--James “Jim” Royston, Retired Pastor and Denominational Executive

Click HERE here to see and purchase Captured By Vision: 101 Insights to Empower Your Congregation.


Captured By Vision Insight 060 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 060: Programs, processes, and emphases in a congregation must have their own vision that supports the congregation's vision.

One of the key aspects of vision fulfillment or living into God’s empowering vision is that everything the congregation does must align with the vision. This is so much better than marching off in separate directions.

That means, as an example, the music ministry must support the congregational vision. The youth ministry must support the congregational vision. The missional engagements must support the congregational vision. I could go on.

The human resources team of one congregation, once it had been captured by vision, asked each staff person to prioritize his or her written position description. They were to indicate the new things they needed to start doing to fulfill the vision, the things they needed to stop doing, and how they could rethink existing things to help them better support God’s empowering vision for the congregation.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Captured By Vision Insight 059 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 059: Many congregations structure their life around programs rather than relationships, thus putting a drag factor on vision.

Too many programs drag down congregations. They create busy-ness that can be exhausting. They create a need for single use space that shackles the congregation under debt or mammoth fundraising efforts. They burn out both staff and lay volunteers.

Not long ago I sat in a congregational staff meeting where a relatively new staff person described the pressure he felt during his first year and the physical illnesses he experienced trying to keep up with all the programs and make them successful.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it


Captured By Vision Insight 058 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 058: Vision is more about relationships with God, one another, and your context than it is about successful programs.

If the journey of a congregation is a sports utility vehicle—a metaphor I use regularly—then “vision” is driving and fueling the forward progress of the vehicle. “Relationships” is in the navigation seat next to the driver flavoring the style of the journey and the relationship to God, and one another, and the community context.

“Programs” are intended to be in support roles to relationships. They’re in the back seat. Programs proactively empower the opportunity for meaningful relationships to occur. They are not the goal or the navigator. They are supportive. If they ever become the goal or navigator it is because the congregation is visionless. “Management” is also in the back seat behind vision. We will address this role later.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Captured By Vision Insight 057 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 057: Many congregations fall back on their mission statement as their vision, rather than being embraced by a specific vision that includes disciplemaking.

Mission statements, which should express a generic overarching sense of the mission of God for congregations, can easily fail to move beyond nice words and feelings to become a specific call to action for prophetic contextual service. Mission statements are too general without a clear vision plus strategies and tactics that fulfill the vision. A clear call to action is essential.

One church had a mission statement and considered that enough. Their self-evaluation of their mission went something like this: “While we do not have a clear measurement of progress in fulfillment of our mission, with all the faithful actions and some successful programs we have experienced, surely we have moved forward as a congregation.” Evaluative comments like this can be made right up until the day the church closes and locks it doors for the last time.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Eddie Hammett Endorses Captured by Vision -- George's Newest Book

Eddie HammettGeorge has given the church of today and tomorrow a real gift as he shares his wisdom gained through his decades of consulting with churches. The bite-sized approach to sharing heavy truths is masterfully crafted to provide pastors and lay leaders points for prayer, reflection and action. Captured By Vision is truly a treasure of truths that inspire, encourage and guide!

--Edward “Eddie” Hammett, www.TransformingSolutions.org

Click HERE here to see and purchase Captured By Vision: 101 Insights to Empower Your Congregation.


Captured By Vision Insight 056 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 056: Vision is more about increasing and deepening disciplemaking than it is about successful and growing programs.

Program fulfillment is an inadequate call to action. Programs are seldom if ever the pathway to fulfilling vision. Not in our world. Fulfilling vision is about discipleship development involving spiritual formation, leadership development, and missional engagement.

Vision fulfillment should lead with a focus on developing adult disciples and empowering discipleship in other age groups. Congregations need excellent programs, ministries, and activities for everyone from birth to death. Yet the goal of programs should not be their own success and growth.

The goal should be to deepen the spiritual formation, leadership development, and missional engagement of followers of Jesus Christ. Effective programs, ministries, and activities that meet the real needs of real people in real time are the methods and not the result.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Captured By Vision Insight 055 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 055: Having a proactive, excellent call to disciplemaking action plus experiences that live into vision is as important as casting vision.

A vast difference exists between a vision that is stated and a vision that becomes real and alive through a call to action.

I had a very interesting dialogue with a pastor I was coaching about the difference between a vision stated and a vision realized. His congregation was struggling because of the success of a new contemporary worship service. They did many things right along the way. They had three worship services, each a different style with a different target group.

A challenge arose when the contemporary worship service outgrew its space and needed to swap places with the gospel service that focused on senior adults. While having distinct worship services meeting in various locations in the facilities had been a fine idea, when the contemporary worship service became the largest of the three and attendees made the highest per capita financial contributions to the church, that was more than long-tenured, older members could stand.

Conflict arose. The pastor prayerfully struggled with what to do. He came up with a vision of one unified worship service to replace the three. The sanctuary could hold everyone. He was anxious about sharing it with his congregation. In our ongoing dialogue, I realized I needed to ask him, “Do you have to have this vision, or do you have to faithfully state it because you feel God has given it to you?”

He said he had to faithfully state it. Which he did. That was not what the congregation ended up doing. But it led to a solution.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Is Our Congregation Ready Yet?

Are You Ready“We’re fixin’ to get ready to commence to begin to start to do something—maybe,” says Dave with a note of irritation in his voice when Pastor Marty Williams comes into the classroom and innocently asks, “What are you doing?”

Dave is setting up tables and laying out folders full of material for everyone he expects to attend a Vision Team huddle.

Pastor Williams agreed to form the Vision Team because Dave Oldham pressured him to do so, but he is just not sure the congregation is ready yet for transition and change.

Dave is a long-term member of the congregation, is now in his seventies, is chairperson of the board, and angry the pastor is not providing better leadership.

“Pastor, I am going to do something even if it kills me! Even if it kills you,” declares Dave shaking his finger in the pastor’s face. “We cannot keep going like we have been doing since you came as pastor.

“I know it is not your fault. We were like this when you came to Greenville three years ago. You have just not done enough since you came to turn the church around.”

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