How We Worshipped One Sunday in August

From time to time I like to share one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. In that vein, here is how we worshiped on one August Sunday morning. This week’s cast of characters included Paul as service leader and preacher, Josh as lead worshiper, Gideon as our Scripture reader, and Steve as the elder who prayed and read the sermon text. Welcome and Call to Worship (Paul) “I invite you to disconnect from your phone or other device …

An Interview with Keith Getty

I recently had the opportunity to ask Keith Getty a few questions about the church and hymnody and whatever else I wanted to talk about. I figured that’s an opportunity I ought to take. Here’s what I had to ask and what he had to say… What do you see as the “lay of the land” in Christian worship right now, perhaps especially as it pertains to congregational Christian worship? What positives or negatives have we seen in the past …

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A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time I like to share an example of a Pastoral prayer that was prayed during a Sunday morning service at Grace Fellowship Church. This one comes from pastor Paul Martin. *** Lord, it is true. We faint for your salvation, and long for your help, because sin has messed up our lives. Our desires are out of line. We value what we shouldn’t. Our words are stained with anger, coarseness, stabbing at others. Some of us are only here to impress others, to get a …

Does Your Church Truly Care for True Widows?

An especially important ministry of the earliest church was the ministry of caring for widows. In fact, early in the book of Acts we see that the church’s first conflict was related to widows, when some were unjustly favored over others. The Apostles responded by appointing a body of men of good repute to oversee and ensure the equitable distribution of charity. And though that was undoubtedly the right course of action, it did not solve every problem or answer …

Love Is Not Heavy-Handed

Whatever else we learn about church life, we learn quickly that it will at times come with conflict. We are, after all, sinful people attempting to share community with other sinners. It’s inevitable that problems will arise, inevitable that there will be angry words, unfortunate misunderstandings, unintentional insults. While there will be many great blessings that come through the local church, there will also be real sorrows. Thankfully, God has not left us unequipped when it comes to dealing with …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in June

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do so hoping they serve as a model of how one church attempts to worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as our service leader and preacher, Josh as our lead worshipper, and me as the elder who read the Scripture text and prayed. Steve, our associate pastor, closed out the service …

The Five Things You Want Your Church To Be

Let’s say there are five things you really want in a local church. Through reading good books and listening to helpful podcasts, you’ve drawn up a list of key qualities. You want deeply biblical expositional preaching, passionate zeal for evangelism, close-knit and sacrificially-minded small groups, worship that is both physically expressive and grounded in truth, and a congregation that displays all the diversity of the neighborhood around. Those are good and noble desires. But this is the real world. So …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in May

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do so hoping they serve as a model of how one church attempts to worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. In this case I’m sharing a service in which we baptized four new believers. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as our service leader and preacher and Josh as our lead worshipper. Steve, our associate pastor, closed …

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read (But Is Too Embarrassed to Ask)

I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated terribly—a slave forced to cede to the congregation’s every whim. I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated heroically—a superstar who exists above all critique and accountability. Surely the biblical position avoids both extremes and treats the pastor far better than either a slave or a celebrity. It treats him as a shepherd or, better still, an under-shepherd who serves on behalf of the great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus …

The Gospel-Driven Church

Over the past few decades, evangelical churches have been shaped and reshaped by the church growth movement. This movement held out a model of local church ministry that some have labeled “attractional.” The idea was to make churches attractive to unbelievers so they would have compelling reasons to come to church where they could then hear the gospel message and be saved. Churches most commonly made themselves attractive by emphasizing contemporary music, integrating creative elements like illustrated sermons, focusing on …