You can read about five million books on ministry, preaching, technique, exposition, worship, music, church grounds, church marketing—whatever. Those books can be a lot of help in ministry. A lot of what happens in ministry, however, just boils down to what happens during your church’s weekly service. For most people, this is the extent of “church.” This is where worship happens. This is where community take places. So, what are some simple things that you can do to make your services more meaningful?
Having Meaningful Services: Five Tips for Finding Meaning
First, ask yourself a few questions about your services, just to get things back to the basics. First off, what is the purpose of the church? Why did God institute the church, anyway? What purpose is it supposed to serve? Bore down a bit deeper, and ask yourself about the mission of your own assembly. Second, think about the needs of the people in your church and community? When we consider a person’s “needs,” we are probably talking about something a little bit more significant than having free WiFi, complimentary coffee, and better acoustics for the back row.
Now, that you’re humming along thinking about things, let me offer five propositions and suggestions that could improve your services.
- Church services should be all about God. On paper, your service is all about God. How does that practically translate into worship, preaching, etc.? Are people aware that worship is more than just building up the warm-and-fuzzies in themselves? Are you, as a preacher, volunteer, worship leader, musician, or participant focusing on God? This is totally basic, but it’s also totally important. Without the foundation of a Godward service, there is no use suggesting the remaining four tips. Worship services are all about God. Life is all about glorifying God.
- Church services should be about the Word. As Christians, we have one major thing to go off of when it comes to our faith. We have the Bible. The Bible is how we learn about God, learn about Jesus, and discover true meaning. If your services are held without mentioning the Bible a whole lot, something is wrong. Regardless of how awesome the music is, how funny the preaching is, or how good your caramel lattes are, the church is pitiful and empty without a strong dose of Bible. Preach the Bible. Apply the Bible. Live the Bible. Make your services about the Bible.
- Church services should be about people. The church—the body of Christ—is made up of people. There are hurting people. There are confused people. There are sinning people. There are discouraged people. There are disillusioned people. There are proud people. There are depressed people. There are people, and the mission of the church is to help these people. Not “help” in a hey-there-put-a-smile-on-your-face-and-off-you-go-now sort of way, but in a real, authentic, and relevant way. Services should be about serving people, helping people. Services should be about meeting people where they are and introducing them to Jesus. When people complain, “I’m not being fed,” take that claim seriously. Are they not fed because they aren’t eating the food offered, or are they not fed because there is no food being offered? I’m not saying you can never have a business meeting or a cantata or whatever, but whenever you have a service, set the table, and spread the feast. This isn’t something we made up. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
- Church services should be something you prepare for. There is nothing wrong with having a casual style of church service, where people are invited to come as they are. What you wear is not the important thing. What is important is that church leaders and attendees not have a casual attitude about what is going on in a service. In other words, services are something to prepare for. There are two types of preparation. The first is the most obvious kind of preparation. The preacher has got to make sure he has something significant to say. He’s got to prepare. The musicians must be practiced up. The bulletins must be printed. The worship videos must be cued. There’s another aspect of preparation that can’t be neglected. It has to do with heart preparation. When you attend a church service, it’s easy to waltz in, do the church thing, and get on with life. If “church” is significant, and the worship service is about God, you may do better to prepare. Prepare by praying. Prepare by considering Who it is you’re worshipping
- Church services should be prayed over. Finally, prayer is a significant part of a meaningful service. Without prayer, whatever we do in the service, for the service, before the service, or after the service is pretty much useless. Christians are to pray constantly—to pray without ceasing. As we prepare to engage in worship, prayer should be part of it—a continued conversation and interaction with the one whom we are worshipping.
Making your services significant is about making your services more than just an event, a checklist item. What you’re involved with is something significant, something that has eternal value. It’s something that effects lives. Focus on God, and make it significant.