The Fourfold Pattern for Common Worship

When the people of God gather then for Sunday worship, the “order of service” is not accidental or simply because “we’ve always done it that way.” The structure of common worship should be determined by our very best understanding of who God is, what God is about, what God expects and wants, and who we are in relationship to God.

A View from the Pew: Worship at Sunrise

Just a few days ago we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus on the holiest day on the church calendar with a number of traditions that we reserve for this special day. There were flower crosses, lilies, white cloths draping crosses, and boisterous singing of “He Lives!” “Up from the Grave He Arose,” and “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”

Formations 11.13.2016: Sing in Time

When I walk into a new sanctuary, I find a pew, pull out the hymnal, and look through it. I see if anyone’s names have been embossed on the lower right corner. I check to see how the church decided to phrase the words on the bookplate dedicating its use to the Lord’s worship.

Formations 11.06.2016: What Is God Worth?

Waste is all a matter of what something—or someone, or Someone—is worth. And worth, as you’ve probably heard somewhere along the way, is the basis of our English word “worship.” When we worship God, we’re expressing how much we think God is worth.

A View from the Pew: Are the Worship Wars Over?

In the late 1980s and ‘90s, discussions of worship styles in churches were ubiquitous, heated, and all too often destructive to church unity. I was reminded of those old battles last week when I was catching up on the phone with a friend since childhood.

Evangelical Common Worship on National Holidays

In general, we come to common worship from a week in which a secular society has tried to shape our identity as something radically different than what Scripture says it is.

Formations 04.10.2016: Places of Worship

Do you have fond memories of a particular place of worship? Maybe it’s the sanctuary were you were baptized, where you were married, or where your parents or grandparents were bid farewell.

Formations 02.14.2016: The Lenten Fast

The message that church conveyed—sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly—was that Lent and many other traditions of the wider church were nothing but empty ceremonialism that “real” Christians were better off avoiding.

Formations 01.03.2016: Baby Names of 2015

Jackson and Sophia are the most popular baby names of 2015, but there are some interesting trends further down the list. According to a USA Today report, the gender-neutral name Royalty is up 90% this year.

A View from the Pew: What Are We Waiting For?

I wasn’t introduced to Advent as a season of spiritual reflection and anticipation until well into adulthood. But for nearly 20 years now, this season has enriched my spiritual journey leading up to Christmas.

A View from the Pew: Camp Worship

What is it about worship at camp that engages campers in profound ways while their weekly worship experiences in their home churches often fail to connect?

A View from the Pew: Mothers and Fathers

Church is a place for celebration. That celebration gets tricky when we as the church are handed a set of holidays outside of our faith tradition and the Scriptures.

Youth Workers Living with Life’s Pressures

How do you view the stresses you experience as a youth worker? Do you cry when you hear the words “ski trip”? Do your youth ask if you had any fun when you were young?

Crossroads: Habakkuk – Praising God when Hungry

“Mom, how much longer until supper’s ready? I’m starving!” Have you ever said something like this to your mom or dad? I remember one time when I was young and my grandparents came to visit.

Gateway to Church for Young Adults – Ken Garfield

Charlotte/One is a ministry in North Carolina’s largest city that brings together 20- and 30-year-olds with the intention of losing them—to local churches.

A View from the Pew: Summertime Blues

It’s easy to see it from the pastor’s perspective: you visit the sick, you counsel the anxious, and you show up on Sunday with a heart and mind overflowing. But when you reach your seat on the platform and look out at the smaller-than-normal congregation during the prelude, you question your calling.

Children in Worship: Worship for Children (Part I)

An off-hand comment a mom made has me thinking about children and worship. In passing, this mom shared that she has trouble getting her kids to worship when there’s no Sunday school because they get bored.

A View from the Pew: Asleep at the Pew

Of all the human frailties that impact my ability to worship God, none frustrates me more than fatigue. As a child, I never slept in church. I was always a wiggler, which in hindsight I prefer to describe as “an active listener.”

A View from the Pew: Dressing for Success … in Worship

It is news to no one that church culture has shifted radically in recent years in most every area, from worship style to attendance. One such cultural move is toward more casual fashion choices by church goers. Only the most traditional of us pew sitters insist on wearing “Sunday clothes” anymore.

A View from the Pew: Devotions by Any Other Name

Long before I find myself in a chair or pew on a Sunday morning, preparations have been made for the corporate worship of God. Musicians have learned music through hours of rehearsal. Ministers have prayerfully selected texts to be read responsively.

A View from the Pew: What We See in Worship Makes a Difference

As I age, I find myself not only physically sounding more and more like my Baptist-preacher father but repeating his aphorisms. One of my favorites about church is “You should always sit close to the front because the sermon gets worn out by the time it reaches the back.”