How to Avoid Worship Service Hijackers

The weekly worship service of a church should be valued, prioritized, and protected. As pastors and church leaders, we should guard the worship service from those things that attempt to hijack it.

What is a worship service hijacker? It is anything that draws the attention away from the worship of God, singing praises to his name, the preaching of his Word, and responding to the message that has been preached.

The challenge is that seemingly good things can hijack a service by drawing the attention to religious entertainment and unimportant time-wasters. The worship of God is far too important to allow these things to hijack a worship service. Here are several ways we can guard against it.

1- Keep the purpose of a worship service in clear view.

The purpose of the worship service is to worship! This means that everything that takes place in the worship service should aid and contribute to worship. If you are doing something in the worship service that does not contribute to worship, it is a hindrance to worship.

2- Educate your staff and have them also guard against worship service hijackers.

This may take some time and you may have to eliminate those things that tend to hijack a worship service gradually over time, but having your staff on the same page will go a long way toward this effort.

3- Learn to lovingly say no.

There will be times you simply have to say ‘no’ to something that someone wants to do in the service so that you can keep worship as a priority. Simply explain your reasoning, and pray they will join you in prioritizing worship.

4- Understand who the sole audience is.

If the goal of a worship service is the worship of God, then we really only have one audience. The congregation is not an audience, they are participants in worship to the audience of one. Eliminate those things that turn the congregation into spectators who are entertained and highlight those things that help them be worshippers of the one true God.

Pastors, you will always have to guard against those things that hijack your worship service. Be focused on the purpose of the service, educate your staff, learn to say no, and remember who the audience of one is.

When God is Silent- Psalm 22

Weekly Devotional- June 19, 2017

Have you ever been through a time in your life when it seemed that God was silent? You cried out to Him, but heard no response. You wanted to hear from God, but heard nothing. You waited on God, but He never seemed to show up. You felt forsaken, abandoned, alone, and confused.

How are we to respond when it seems that God is silent?

You can be encouraged by the fact that you are not the only person who has ever felt this way. Many people in the Bible expressed this same feeling. The good news is that much can be learned from how they responded.

One such person is David. In Psalm 22 we see a little of what David is facing in his life. In verses 1-2 David states,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

 So how did David respond when he felt that God was silent?

1- David confirmed God’s holiness

Vs. 3- You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Think about the focus, understanding, and trust in God that David had. He understood that no matter what happens, God never changes. No matter what God allows me to go through, He remains unchanged. His character is always the same. Even when He doesn’t answer my cries, He is holy.

Your situation may be volatile, but who God is isn’t. Your emotions and feelings may be up and down, but God is steady. You can hold on to Him.

2- David remembered God’s past deliverance

 Vs. 4-5- In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

It’s like David stopped and reminded God of the fact that people in the past have cried out to Him and He heard them. “I know you are there. I know you hear me. I know you can deliver. You are a God of deliverance. You are a God of answers. You are a God of love. You are a God of compassion.”

Remember God’s past deliverance.  We can look back throughout our lives and see God’s deliverance. We can talk to other Christians and hear of God’s deliverance. We can look in the pages of Scripture and see God at work. This provides hope.

3- David was honest with God about his situation and his feelings

 Vs. 6-8- But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

David is telling God the seriousness of the situation. He is telling Him what is taking place, and that the mockery is not fun. We can be honest with God about our situations. Pour your heart out to God.

4- David remembered God’s faithfulness

 Vs. 9-10- Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

David is acknowledging the fact that God has been there all along. He recognizes that without God he would not have life. He says God has been his God from his mother’s womb. God is faithful. Regardless of whether or not people around you are unfaithful, God is always faithful.

5- David continued to call out to God

Vs. 20-21- Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion!

Even after he cried out to God and did not hear anything back, he still turned to God. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t give up. Keep God as your focus. Still turn to God. Still cry out to Him. Be faithful and continue to call out to Him.

Two Wonderful Truths

Why would David continue to call out to God, even when God had not answered him? There are two things David understood that I believe we need to understand.

God’s silence does not indicate that He is not listening. Just because God is not speaking to you does not mean that He is not listening to you. God hears the prayers of His people.

God’s silence does not indicate inactivity. Just because God is not speaking it does not mean that He is not working. God is always at work. It might not be on your timetable or on your schedule, but God is at work.

No matter how silent God is, you must understand that God is listening and that God is working. You can trust Him.

5 Helpful Articles I Read This Week

June 17, 2017

Here are 5 of the best articles I read this week.

Chuck Lawless   |   10 Children’s Ministry Issues

As my church consulting team does congregational interviews, we often hear concerns about children’s ministries. Listed in no particular order, here are the most common concerns we hear:

Mark Dever  |   9 Ways to Raise Up Leaders in Your Church

The New Testament is filled with instruction on discipling believers generally. But now and then it also focuses on raising up church leaders in particular. For instance, Paul tells Titus, “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). Then he describes what these elders should be like. Similarly, he tells Timothy to find “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

Eric Geiger   |   3 Ways to Spot “Christian Backstabbing”

Jesus said that the world would know that we are His disciples by the love we have for one another. According to the Scriptures, if we don’t love one another, we cannot claim to love God.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can spot “Christian backstabbing” (I put “Christian backstabbing” in quotes because there is nothing Christian about it):

Joe Carter   |   The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About the Alt-Right

“What I point out is just how dangerous and present the alt-right is. . . . When people recognize what it is that the alt-right believes,” Moore added, “I haven’t talked to anyone who doesn’t immediately reject that.”

Here is what every Christian should know about the alt-right:

Carey Neiuwhof   |   7 Things That Get Harder As Your Church Grows

Your struggles as a leader don’t go away when your church grows. They simply change.

Here are 7 things every leader of a growing church or organization struggles with.