8 Ideas for a more Interactive Worship Service

InteractiveWorshipWhen I went to college, the approach to education was a one-sided lecture. People still learn from lectures, reading books and newspaper columns. However, whatever method you use, you want to make it interactive. Don’t you think?

What does this mean for 21st century worship services? Is interactive communication beneficial, or does it turn the sacred into a three-ring circus? Robert Schuller, in the television ministry called “The Hour of Power,” started a trend. He began worship by saying, “Good morning,” and the congregation responded, “Good morning!” That “innovation” rapidly spread through many churches. Why?

Focus on these issues:

  1. Providing an opportunity for people to respond is a great way to help them engage in worship. While there is nothing especially biblical about saying, “Good morning,” most pastors and worshipers alike sensed it provided a catalyst to pump energy into the beginning of worship.
  2. Many ancient liturgical practices included interaction. The worship leader would say, “The Lord be with you” and the people would say, “And also with you.”
  3. During the 1980s and ‘90s, many churches updated the way they worshiped by using more contemporary songs and instruments. Worshipers were encouraged to clap along. Some ethnic churches have done this for decades. In some churches, people clap after an inspiring song. Applauding God is a practice from the Old Testament Psalms.
  4. In some churches, worshipers raise their hands in praise. An extension of this body language is encouraged in other congregations, as people feel comfortable to kneel during certain times in worship. In some churches, it’s acceptable to dance, or to lie face down on the floor. All of these are interactive expressions of worship.
  5. What about preaching? I’m still looking for a church where people clap after the sermon! I don’t mean the pastor should be applauded for good jokes, but as an expression of thanks to God for the message. Ever wonder how a preacher feels when people applaud when the children sing, yet remain silent after the message?
  6. Preachers can make their messages more engaging by using visuals. Jesus pointed to the lilies of the field, directed followers to the ripe harvest, used the imagery of the vineyard, and bent down to write in the dirt. Jesus was a visual communicator.
  7. Preachers engage by asking for input: “Can I see the hands of those who believe they have received an answer to prayer?” This type of interaction engages worshipers and sends a testimony to guests who are not yet believers.
  8. Some churches use electronic interaction. You can ask a question of the pastor during the message by texting. Others get worshipers engaged by providing an opinion poll or research questionnaire several weeks before a preaching message. Preaching becomes interactive.

What does your church do to engage those in worship? What could be done to make worship more interactive? Jesus did it in the first century, and evidence shows it is important today. We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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Christians Are Liberated by Faith under Christ

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth to save all people. Jesus is the ultimate genius who began the greatest movement in the history of the planet. His approach to motivating people was not top down, forced leadership, but the counter-intuitive approach of discipling—which is vastly different than the “kings of the gentiles, who lord it over people” (Luke 22:25), or for that matter, the religious leaders of the Old Covenant, the leaders of the Pharisees. His approach was to gently encourage and empower.

Twenty plus centuries later, behavioral scientists have proven what Christians should have known all along: intrinsic motivation produces more results than bossing people around. Daniel Pink, in his book Drive builds on extensive social and psychological research conducted by Edward Deci (Intrinsic Motivation, 1975) and Richard Ryan. Pink summarizes, “Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

Under the leadership of Jesus, Christians, by faith, have accomplished amazing efforts that changed the world: hospitals, orphanages, missionary activities, the fall of decivilized empires, the rise of education, the development of universities—the list is endless. Christians are liberated by faith under Christ who is the head of the community called the church. They experience the Lordship of Jesus not by top-down leadership that pushes them to act, but through servant, bottom-up discipleship that invites them, like Jesus: “Come, follow Me” (Matthew 4:19). This raises a serious question: how could so many churches, so many leaders in congregations get this wrong? So many churches are operated backwards to Kingdom approaches. No wonder so many congregations are ineffective for the Great Commission. And, to make matters worse, when they want to be more “faithful” and “productive” they jump to top-down superimposing methods that split their churches!

Source: Kent Hunter; Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009, page 71.

Excerpted from: Why Churches Struggle with Change – September/October 2014 Church Doctor Report

Tips to Communicate with Non-Christians

Serious Conversation

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Have you ever traveled to another country where they speak a language you don’t comprehend? Chances are you were uncomfortable. This, to some extent, is the struggle non-Christians have when they connect with a Christian church. A non-believer is faced with huge paradigm shifts of content, ideas, beliefs, and values. It is different to be a Christian. So, why would a church make it harder by using strange language?

Focus on these issues:

  • Other religions are about how you get to God. Christianity is about how God has come to us. God became flesh in Jesus Christ. This shows that God doesn’t want anything to get in the way of our response. Jesus looked, talked, and dressed like us. God introduced His Son without additional barriers.
  • Jesus sends His followers out with this same sensitivity: He said, “Eat what is set before you.” Subordinate your menu, your personal likes and dislikes, to those you are trying to reach. Nothing should be a roadblock, foreign, or offensive.
  • The Apostle Paul said, “I will become all things to all people, so that by any means some might be saved.” This echoes John the Baptist, who said (about Jesus), “He must become more important, and I must become less important.”
  • Every Christmas we sing, “Away in a manger, no crib for a bed…” and nostalgia rises within me. However, Christmas draws unchurched non-Christians to church. While we sing this song I love, we get to the verse, “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.” What does it mean that the cattle are “lowing?” If you don’t know, you’re worshipping the nostalgia without meaning. Jesus spoke hard words about those who practiced empty religion. (“Lowing” is an old English word for “mooing.”) Make sense? Great – translate it!
  • “How Great Thou Art” is another favorite. Problem is, no one talks that way anymore. When was the last time you met a friend on the street and she said, “Hey, how art thou?” In the church, it communicates that God is old, out of date, or foreign (16th century England). Does it feel warmly familiar to a life-long Christian like me? Of course! Can I be that selfish as a missionary Jesus calls to introduce others to Him? No way!
  • Missionaries are taught to speak the “heart language” of the people they are trying to reach. If you were a missionary in Pattaya, Thailand, you would learn to speak Thai – not require people to learn English. Missionaries are taught that the “heart language” is the language people dream in. It is the language people make love in. Shouldn’t that be the language at your church?

Those who do not attend church say the church is not relevant. But God is relevant. The Bible is as relevant as today’s newspaper. Can we sing “how great You are!”? We can, and will, if we want to represent God well!

How have you successfully communicated with non-Christians? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter,Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

Have the Church Doctor Report and more news from Church Doctor Ministries delivered direct to your email inbox by subscribing now.

What the Ebola Outbreak Could Teach Christians about the Great Commission

Ebola Virus

Sometimes it feels like the Centers for Disease Control knows more about a movement than most Christian leaders. Perhaps the Ebola outbreak and constant media clatter about the cases on American soil will help us catch on how people catch the faith. Robert Wachter, MD, is a professor and associate chair of the department of medicine at the University of California – San Francisco. His article in the USA Today (10/13/14) has lessons for Christian leaders. Wachter explains that technology may be part of the Dallas hospital emergency room error that sent Thomas Eric Duncan home…with Ebola.

Wachter reports that computerization leads to “electronic silos” and decreases communication between doctors and nurses. In a pre-digital era, doctors and nureses operated as a team in emergency rooms – always talking with each other. A 2014 study shows that electronic health records result in “a significant decrease” in the quality of communication between doctors and nurses.” The Christian Movement suffers from the worldview that the church, as an institution, provides programs to reach people for Christ. By a miracle, literally, it works to some degree. Some become Christians! Yet, the potential for explosive, exponential growth of Christianity is greatly hindered – by Christians! Christianity is like the flu. You catch it by getting up close and personal with someone who has got it. That’s how the New Testament church spread throughout the Mediterranean world. It’s been the same for the faith growing in parts of Africa, South America, and in China. What is the mission field of your church? If you say “our community,” or “12 miles around our church,” or “anyone within 12 minutes driving distance,” you have made Christianity institutional. Who reaches your mission field? If you say, “the pastor,” or “staff,” or “the evangelism committee,” you have crippled the movement potential. The Christian Movement grows exponentially when everyone in church who is “infected” with the faith gets up close and personal by sharing their “God stories” with those in their social networks. When you reduce this to your church campus, you have quarantined the carriers of the faith. Wouldn’t you like to see an outbreak of Christianity through the people in your church?

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

Have the Church Doctor Report and more news from Church Doctor Ministries delivered direct to your email inbox by subscribing now.

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Ten Moves Toward Biblical Leadership

Ten Moves Toward Biblical Leadership

  1. Alex & Dale

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    Leaders are called, not elected or recruited.
  2. God raises leaders, they are not chosen by people.
  3. Leadership is a spiritual gift God gives to some, not all.
  4. Leadership is also a role, exercised best in the church among those who have an intimate connection with the head of the church and therefore display the wisdom of Christ.
  5. Change led by leaders is top down, unbiblical, and impractical: it runs off believers and splits churches.
  6. Jesus did not raise up leaders. He developed disciples.
  7. Leadership is political. Discipleship is relational.
  8. Leadership can become manipulation. Discipleship is about multiplication.
  9. Leadership does not birth discipleship. Discipleship gives birth to leadership.
  10. Disciples become leaders of influence. They are humble seed planters of spiritual power so great, it changes lives, churches, communities, and nations.

This was taken from the September/October 2014 Church Doctor Report – Why Churches Struggle with Change: Jesus’ Amazing Approach to Leadership Development.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

Have the Church Doctor Report and more news from Church Doctor Ministries delivered direct to your email inbox by subscribing now.

Legal Duties of Board Members

Duty of care: Every member of the Board has a responsibility to participate in decision-making on behalf of the organization, and must make certain they are adequately informed and following standards that are not fraudulent or illegal. Not doing so is not demonstrating care for the membership.

Duty of loyalty: When acting on behalf of an organization, board members must set aside their own interests, or the interests of any other organization. Confidentiality is broken when confidential information is shared with outsiders and a breach of loyalty occurs.

Duty of obedience: Board members have a responsibility to be faithful to the organization’s stated mission and not to act or use its resources in incompatible ways or purposes.

Putting appropriate policy and procedure in place, the establishing of effective working committees, measures for effective board performance, and ongoing procedure for regular review of activity making certain mission and purpose is being fulfilled will help insure the legal duties of the board are being followed.

Connect with me to discover how a Board Orientation session will benefit your non-profit.

Dennis L. Kutzner, Certified Risk Assessor
Church Doctor Ministries