Music in Worship

David Neff, former editor in chief of Christianity Today and church music director for nearly three decades, recently suggested that music in worship should be intentionally eclectic - utilizing a variety of styles and sources, and focused on enabling worship rather than artistic excellence (or a performance mentality). So What? Music plays an important role in Christian worship.  When a given congregation experiences only a very narrow range of music styles or theological Read More …

Only in Church

Jon Acuff recently shared a short list of things that only happen in church: ask a stranger to scoot to the middle, hug people you don't really know, and shout phrases of encouragement when someone says something good. So What? As I read his post and skimmed some of the many comments on it, I realized the focus was primarily on worship.  While I am not part of a community of faith that practices shouting in worship (words of encouragement or otherwise!), I certainly have seen Read More …

Proper Clothing for Church

John Blake's recent "Stop Dressing So Tacky for Church" piece explores the shift toward worshippers opting for more casual attire, and some of the possible reasons for this shift.  He notes some suggest that we dress up for that which we have gratitude for while others look to the example of Jesus and the words of the Bible for guidance.  Additionally, he correctly notes a trend toward more casual dress in the culture in general, which has an impact on how people dress for a wide variety of Read More …

Drive-In Church

After encountering several stories last week of walk up and drive through ashes for Ash Wednesday, it seems appropriate to start this week with the story of a new kind of church: the drive-in church.  Over the past few days several people sent me a link to Amy Kiley's piece on Daytona Beach Drive In Christian Church (Daytona Beach, FL), which holds worship services in an old drive-in theater.  From the comfort of their vehicles parishioners listen to worship on their radios.  When worship Read More …

Sermon: For the Love of God

Sermon Text: John 4:19-24 Sermon Excerpt Today we focus on passionate worship as one of the five practices of fruitful congregations. Passionate worship isn’t about music style or volume or instrumentation. It isn't a one size fits all experience. Passionate worship sounds like a nice ideal, but how does it compare to what is really happening each week at the services held at America’s many houses of worship? How has worship changed in recent years? Are there any research based best Read More …

The 1 Minute Worship Service

Gold Hill Lutheran Church is an ELCA congregation in Butte, MT that averages just over 130 people in worship each Sunday morning.  Their pastor's one minute worship service (January 12, 2014) has gone viral.  It took less than a week for the video to reach 1 million views.   So What? Timothy Christensen's announcement was initially misunderstood by many as having been the full worship experience.  In the days since, numerous corrections or updates to blog posts, tweets and Read More …

BYODD to Worship

BYODD (Bring Your Own Divine Device) may become the acronym of choice at many houses of worship.  Jeff Brumley's recent Associated Baptist Press article, "Divine Devices or Digital Distractions," provides a hopeful, realistic look at the increased use of smart phones and tablets in worship services.  Not only are fewer congregations banning the use of such devices during worship, but many are being intentional about encouraging their use for looking up Bible verses or sharing meaningful Read More …

Making Church More Fun

Michael Lukaszewski, CEO of The Rocket Company, recently shared a list of five ways to make church more fun.  His list includes: let someone with a sense of humor write your bulletin, relax during the welcome, and involve fun people. So What? Worship should be serious, but it should also be engaging and have elements that many would label as "fun."  When you think of the typical service of worship in your congregation, would you ever use the word "fun" to describe Read More …

Pew Sitter Requests

In their recent book, Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Church Irresistible (2013), Thom and Joani Schultz' shared "10 Wishes of a Pew Sitter."  They suggest that people attending worship really want their pastors to end the "meet and greet" time during worship, avoid preaching a 3 point sermon, invest time in their congregants - especially away from the church campus, invite their input, ensure that musical leaders don't sing so loudly Read More …

My 2014 Resolutions

I rarely participate in the annual ritual of crafting resolutions for the coming year.  I did commit to one in 2012.  This time, for 2014, I have settled upon three: Participate in worship in at least 10 different communities of faith Write at least 200 blog posts and be more actively engaged on Twitter Read at least 100 books and write reviews for at least 50 So What? New years bring new possibilities.  While I expect a fair degree of the unexpected in the months ahead, I also Read More …