Celebrate God's justice, the Lord is enthroned forever
Worshiping the forgiving God
One of the key elements of meeting together is to open God's word and hear from Him.
Understanding the bible can be tricky, so really your speaker should have some knowledge in handling the bible and some life experience in how they are applying the passage.
This is the anchor point to the whole meeting so ensure that the main themes are drawn out in prayer, sung worship and from the leader.
Expositional preaching should be the norm, bringing out what the passage actually says. This is the going through of a book systematically or a section of the bible one chunk at a time to see God's big picture. Thematic preaching is helpful but must be done carefully to not pull passages out of context.
Not all are given the gift of preaching so ensure that your preacher has confidence in their abilities and carries authority in your church.
At Treasured Truth Co I believe that the Gospel is the power to save and is therefore an imperative element of a meeting to see salvation and sanctification. That is why correct and biblical preaching is so important to the core of a church.
All Age Slot
All age slots are really tricky to nail, often they are aimed too young or too old. The key I find is this:
- Use stories; all ages love a good story.
- Tell it in three levels; first your point, make it visual. Second, bring a brief explanation for the next age up. Third, use reflection or a little bit of theology to give interest to your older audience.
- Application: give a clear practical piece of application with something to do and take away.
- Challenge your audience with something to change or re-think about your story.
Communion is all about focusing on grace, redemption and renewal in the spirit. How are you focusing communion on Jesus? Think as well about how you can draw people nearer to each other in community.
My most powerful time sharing communion was at an all age service where we shared a meal together and whilst eating we paused to take communion together. It captured the normality of remembering Christ and being a spirit filled community.
After your service is over, what are you encouraging your members to do? Is it to continue fellowship in their homes? Is it to invite new people to eat with them? Do you want people to continue conversations, join home groups, whatever it is, begin building that culture into your church ethos.
This is one of the most important aspects of your meeting. because this is your first impression. Is your church easy to find, both geographically and online; good signage, clear content online and driven by Jesus.
Then, once people actually turn up are they welcomed by someone? Do you offer a welcome pack? Make the effort to learn names and when someone new leaves, make sure you say that you look forward to seeing them again. It may seem small but this will make a huge difference as people will feel like you want them back.
Welcoming is a culture that should be built into your church, yes have someone there to greet and direct people, but ensure that this is followed up by organic relationships being built. Try and live these values out and draw them out when preaching on hospitality or parts of the bible that pick up on this.
Represent your church community well with who is at the door; in age, gender, and race. This is something that shows more by doing it than saying it.
James Chapter 2 says this:
"My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"
When I talk about leading I mean the person leading the service, my husband would call it hosting. Again, as mentioned in the welcome section, ensure you represent the entire Church with who you have doing this; men, women, families, professionals, different ethnicities and voices.
This person holds the tone of the service so should have a good understanding of your church structure and hold the respect of your Church. However, this is a safe space for training someone up using the show me, with me, you do, theory. The idea behind this is an experienced member shows the trainee how they prepare and lead, next the trainee would plan and do with the experienced member and finally the trainee would do it on their own with feedback from the other member.
When preparing for leading a service the leader should liaise with the speaker, to ensure their is a cohesive theme based on the sermon. Then liaise with the band or musician to ensure that they are leading the Church in the right direction with their content.
The leader can demonstrate the values of the Church in the way they speak and act toward others. This makes it important to have a clear foundation of church values or a mission and ensure they are confident in demonstrating them to build a good culture in your church.
Prayer as a collective is beautiful and so important. I'm going to suggest the Lord's prayer as that is how Jesus taught us to pray; use it as an outline or a template to pray through. (look at the "prayer" page for more info)
Philippians 4v6 tells us to "present our requests before God through prayer, petition and thanksgiving." In our corporate worship we should be setting out our requests before God, the change we want to see in our communities, the missions we have planned, our desire to see His kingdom come. Give thanks for answered pray too, it is so important to remember all our blessings come from the Lord.
Psalm 27v8 "Seek the Lord's face;" often out of tradition the opening prayer will be a few verses about God, but this is a right and proper thing to do. If we seek His face in our worship together we will ensure that we are desiring His ways and keeping the Lord as the leader of our time together.
1 Chronicles 16v10-11 "Honour His holy name, let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face always. Remember the wondrous work He has done."
This one speaks for itself, Our collective worship must be to honour God, rejoicing together, refueling in Him and recalling the incredible things He has gifted us. This should be reflected in our prayers as we remind each other how great our God is and give thanks to Him.
Praising God is another key element to your meeting, there is so much choice of good music to choose from; so here's some tips for selecting your list.
1. Have an eclectic mix. You want to represent your entire congregation with your choices and be welcoming to any guests who may come. Select a mix of hymns and songs across the ages.
2. As mentioned before, your song selection should tie in to your speakers themes. It's a real opportunity to worship God and reflect on the characteristics highlighted by your speaker.
3. Remember that the aim is to worship God, so it does not need to be a perfect performance, instead it should draw the church closer to God.
4. As everyone has different talents and gifts, some fear sung worship because they struggle to hold a tune. When you're planning sung worship take this into account, try and avoid huge octave leaps or complicated melodies that can distract the congregation from the words they are singing.
5. Keep the main thing central, we sing to praise God collectively. Ensure that your songs and prayers do that.