A Very Merry Dysfunctional Family Christmas.
Good morning church!
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. As you just saw from the video, we’re kicking off a new sermon series for Christmas called “A very Merry Dysfunctional Family Christmas”. This time of year we usually get a chance to see a lot more of our extended family than usual. For some of you that is exciting and for some of you it’s well…interesting to say the least.
How many of you guys send Family Christmas Cards? What’s funny is that it seems like Christmas cards don’t accurately portray real life. Sometimes pictures can lie and make life look a little too perfect. You know how you can take a picture on your phone and then crop out the stuff you don’t want in it, or you can delete the bad ones. So I decided to google Family Christmas photos and google suggested something called “awkward Christmas family photos.” Bingo, now here was some pictures that showed that life is strange, awkward and far from perfect.
Physical Health In Ministry
Imagine with me for a moment.
You are part of a leadership team of a church that is planning on constructing a brand new worship sanctuary. You have carefully interviewed and hired an architecture firm and worked thousands of hours by sitting in planning meetings, looking at revisions in plans, working out financial details and hiring out contractors to build your new building.
Then you spend the next 8 months to a year watching it all come together and doing walk throughs to make sure that the workmanship is well done and safe. After years of talking and dreaming about how to make this vision a reality it is finally finished.
The grand opening Sunday comes and as people enter the new sanctuary a wave of shock overcomes everybody.
It has been vandalized the night before!
I have a 3 year old little boy who is incurably curious. When I spend my days off with him I am amazed and exhausted by the sheer amount of questions that he asks and that I try to answer. (My wife is a saint for answering far more questions when I am not home!) It is easy to become annoyed because some of the questions are seemingly simple and obvious like “why do I have to wash my hands after being in the bathroom?” Other questions are simple and yet profound and often overlooked like “what’s the name of that star?” while looking at a sky full of billions of stars. Even with all those stars he wants to know if there is a specific name for each one when I look at the big picture and dismiss them all.
What I am learning is that asking “why” is the most powerful and underutilized question in our leadership vocabulary. In addition it is also one of the main reasons people don’t connect Sunday worship to Monday.
Recently in a conversation with my brother, he mentioned that he had began leading worship for a church and had gotten a great response from a service he had put together because it had a couple of modern hymn arrangements.
It reminded me that hymnody has been a great way of bridging the generational gap that many churches face in a number of ways:
In my last post on speaking tips
for worship leaders and examining the questions of who, why, what, where and when shape our worship words, I want to dig into the practical ways we work those ideas into a worship service each week. It’s one thing to think about the trinity, horizontal and vertical audiences, teaching, pastoring, responding biblically to the gospel, but it’s another thing completely to figure out what that looks like. I’d like to take it out of the philosophical realm and put some rubber to the road.
I see two distinct phases to answering how to prepare to speak and lead others in worship. The first is pre-gathering worship word materials from resources and the second is saturating our hearts with them and personalizing them in individual times of worship.
Every worship leader at some point has had to figure out what to do with the microphone before or after the song. Some incredibly important questions to answer to make our worship words more meaningful are: WHO are we speaking to? WHY are we speaking or singing? WHAT are we supposed to say? WHERE and WHEN is it appropriate? HOW do we do it effectively?
I’ve written some practical things to pay attention to here but I want to get more in depth in this post.
If we aspire to be more than song leaders and learn to be teachers and pastors, we have to find a way to integrate right belief (orthodoxy) into right practice (orthopraxy). Here are some things to consider when speaking in worship.
What comes to mind when I say Holy? White, clean, pure, perfect, weighty, unapproachable?
What about the phrase “holy place”? Stained glass windows, marble columns, gold statues, candles and incense, mountains, trees, a rubber floor and removable seating, a gymnatorium?
In every time and every place and culture people have built buildings, temples, shrines and places of worship and had special people dedicated to the worship of their God or gods. Whether it’s Mecca for the Muslims, Jerusalem for Jews, the Vatican City for some Catholics, Sacred mountains for the Taoist or countless other holy places. For each of these religions they built places for the purpose of interacting with something bigger than themselves.
This morning if everyone will pull out their bible or digital device and turn to 1 Corinthians 6 we’ll be using this as our text but I’d like to start specifically with verses 19-20. I’m reading out of a translation called The Voice so it might sound a little different.
19 Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who comes from God and dwells inside of you? You do not own yourself.20 You have been purchased at a great price, so use your body to bring glory to God!
One of the most powerful ways to convey a message is to combine it with an image and make it tangible. Jesus was the master of teaching using imagery to help people both remember his message as well as calling people to look a little closer and pay attention a little better. He used images of sheep, buried treasure, light and dark, living water, and hundreds of others.
As I’ve said in my post on having a visual artist as part of your team, here are some reasons why images are so powerful:
- 65 percent of people are visual learners
- The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text
- 90 percent of the information that the brain processes is visual
- Visual aids increase learning by 400 percent
Now imagine taking the power of what people see and making sure everyone walks away remembering what God said to them during the service. That’s why so many churches are using Sermon Series Branding as part of their tools to convey the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I live close to St. Louis and in my house we are Cardinals fans. This has been a relatively recent development over the years and as baseball season has come and gone I have seen quite a few parallels that can be applied to leading a worship ministry.
It seems to me like there are 6 distinct phases that a player could possibly go through in their career: