What Not To Say at the Beginning of a Worship Service

A few weeks ago Jared Wilson wrote an article titled “3 Things to Be Careful About Saying at the Start of Your Service.” In his article he offered some common service-starting cliches that are “worth weighing in terms of their helpfulness to the congregation’s worship.” They were, “How’s everybody doing this morning?”; “I can’t hear you. I said, How’s everybody doing?”; and “Where is everybody?” I’ve heard all three of these many times and expect you have as well. And …

A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time, probably every month or so, I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer that was prayed at Grace Fellowship Church. The pastoral prayer is a time for one of the pastors or elders to pray on behalf of the congregation and to intercede on their behalf. It’s a precious element of a service. This particular prayer was prayed by Dwight, one of our pastors. *** O, great God, your word is true when it …

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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 …

How I Prepare a Sermon

I have enjoyed reading articles by various Aussies as they tell how they prepare their weekly sermons. I always find it beneficial to hear how others set about the task and thought I’d add my voice to the mix. The point in this article and the others is not to suggest that one method is superior to any other or to suggest any of them is worthy of total imitation. Rather, it’s to provide a smorgasbord of options other preachers …

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 …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in April

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this simply to provide an example of how one church structures our time of worship, hoping it will prove a helpful resource to others. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, Brian as the lead worshipper, and Steve as the service leader.  The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the …

PreachersNSneakers and Pastors as Lifestyle Brands

Everyone is talking about PreachersNSneakers. Well, not everyone, I’m sure, but enough that it has ended up in my inbox plenty of times over the past few days. PreachersNSneakers is an Instagram account that simply shares photos of preachers in their sneakers. No big deal, right? It wouldn’t be, except that these are not just any preachers in any sneakers—these are mega-church pastors in mega-expensive sneakers (or, occasionally, other designer garb). It’s just the kind of thing that’s sure to …

A Pastoral Prayer for Unity

Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because there are few examples of pastoral prayers online and I thought these may serve to inspire themes, passages, or ideas as other pastors and elders prepare to lead their churches in prayer. Here is one I prayed before our church not too long ago. *** Father, in your Word you’ve got a lot to say about unity—a lot …

A Corporate Confession of Sin & Assurance of Pardon

One of my favorite elements of a worship service is a confession of sin and the subsequent assurance of pardon. At Grace Fellowship Church we include this in almost every service and, from time to time, I like to share an example. Here is how we confessed our sins together using Psalm 32 as our guide. *** We just sang together, “All the redeemed washed in his blood / Come and rejoice in his great love!” One of the ways …