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.

For Whom Should A Church Service Be Designed?

This very issue has caused a lot of confusion and dissension among believers.  There are those who think that the church service should be designed with believers in mind, and there are those who think that the church service should be designed with unbelievers in mind (seeker-driven & seeker-sensitive). Is this really that big of a deal?  Actually it is, and one that can be easily solved by looking to Scripture.  There are a couple of points to keep in mind.

First, the church by definition is a called out assembly; a group of believers.  Christ died for the church.  It is the saved who make the church a church.  When the church meets together, it is those who have been saved who assemble themselves together.

Second, we have to look at what the Bible says is to take place when a church meets together.  There are several things that we find:

  • The church meets together to be edified in Christ.
  • The church meets together to worship God.
  • The church meets together to give.
  • The church meets together to remember the Lord’s sacrifice.
  • The church meets together in order to fellowship with saints.
  • The church meets together to hear the preaching of God’s Word.
  • The church meets together to pray.

As one leading Christian author said, “It [church] is a Christian experience of the purest kind.”  If this is what is to take place in the church, how can it be completely designed with unbelievers in mind?  Obviously, there can and should be evangelistic services and a focus on world evangelism and on local outreach, but if that is the entire focus of the church it will be filled with very weak and immature believers (which is what we see happening today).

The church service must be primarily designed with the believer in mind if it is going to accomplish its biblical purposes.