Issue #3: Creating Attractional Worship Gatherings
People like to rage against “attractional model” worship gatherings.
I’m against the kind that focus on entertaining attenders and peddling self-help with a little Jesus sprinkled in.
But I believe there is a good kind of attractional worship gathering.
It is the kind that exalts the glory and majesty of God and draws people whose souls long for an encounter with a transcendence lacking in their everyday lives [I give our approach below].
A Thin World
People find themselves in “thin” places every day. They rarely find themselves where the majesty of God is extolled and revered.
This leaves their hearts, which were made for the glory of God, longing for more.
The saddest thing a church can do is to be another thin place where the majesty and glory of God get traded for self-help, entertainment, or political activism.
Our churches must be “thick” with the wonder and greatness of God.
People should come and encounter serious, yet joyful worship of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Pastors Must Lead
Pastors must lead their churches toward embracing these kind of worship gatherings.
As I led my church from a seeker-focused worship gathering to a Christ-centered worship gathering (over 10 years ago), it became the thing people loved about our church.
The irony: after we ditched the attractional model to focus on the glory of Christ, we became more attractional than ever before.
The aroma of Christ became an irresistible draw.
Point of Wisdom
Lead your worship gatherings to be thick environments where the glory, majesty, and splendor of God are encountered by everyone who comes.
- Evaluate your current worship gatherings.
- Determine each element of service carefully.
- Talk to other leaders and influencers about the importance of worship gatherings have substance and depth. Lead others by casting a clear vision.
- Help people realize this isn’t a time for 18 announcements.
- Make additions and subtractions that help center the glory of God and His Word in your gatherings.
This is a time for the worship of God. The focus is on exalting Christ the King of the world.
At TJC, we have an order of service filled with elements that help us to focus our eyes on the glory of God and His Word. You don’t have to copy this, nor is this the only approach to take, but you should definitely seek to be as intentional as we are.
1. Call to Worship – Our worship pastor opens service with a reading of Scripture and exhortation. The goal is to call our hearts to respond to the greatness of God, the worthiness of God, or His grace displayed for us in Christ.
2. 5 Solas – We have a congregational ‘call & response’ to the 5 Solas each week. The purpose of this is to teach our folks the gospel and the primary principles of the Reformation. It goes like this:
Pastor: The Truth is found in Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone.
Congregation: God’s Word is the only inerrant, sufficient, and final authority for the church.
Pastor: Our salvation is in Sola Gratia, Grace Alone.
Congregation: Our salvation, from beginning to end, is solely by grace.
Pastor: Our reward in Christ is received by Sola Fide, Faith Alone.
Congregation: The redemption Christ has accomplished is received only by faith.
Pastor: Our hope is in Solus Christus, Christ Alone.
Congregation: The ungodly are justified in God’s sight through Jesus’ finished work. Christ is our only hope!
Pastor: Our response to this gift of salvation is Soli Deo Gloria
Congregation: Glory to God alone!
3. Corporate Singing – We typically sing two songs at this point. They must be theologically rich and singable for the congregation.
4. Apostle’s Creed – Our church has recited the Apostle’s Creed for several years now. Most people know it by heart. This helps us disciple our folks each week in doctrines of first importance. A pastor typically sets it up with a few transitional words between singing and reciting the creed.
5. Pastoral Moment – This time in service is for baptisms and/or pastoral prayers. The person who leads this is usually the same that led the Apostle’s Creed.
6. Sermon – Our sermons are typically through books of the Bible. They last anywhere from 40-48 minutes.
7. Communion – We take the Lord’s Supper each Sunday. There are endless ways to teach and lead our people through it. People pick up the communion elements on their way into service.
8. Song and Ministry Time – Following communion we sing another song and have people available for ministry. People come for prayer regularly as a part of this time.
9. Benediction – We close with our weekly “next step” on how to connect with our church. Then we have everyone stretch their arms out, with palms up, and we read a benediction/prayer over them. And example would be Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance[a] upon you and give you peace.”
Once finished, we say, “TJC, we love you; you are sent.”
Preparing for Al Mohler
When Dr. Mohler preached at TJC, he mentioned how blown away he was by how much we had proclaimed the gospel before he even preached.
Our leaders smiled afterwards. We did nothing different because Dr. Mohler was there.
We did what we always do: exalt Christ as the centerpiece of our gathering.
This is the right kind of attractional worship gathering. May God multiply them everywhere.
THANKS FOR READING!
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