When was the last time your team really evaluated the weekend services at your church? It is not easy to ask why things are done they way they are done, but change happens best when the “why” is more important than the “how”.
Here are some questions we ask ourselves regularly:
Are we making disciples who participate or just attracting consumers who attend?
Are we challenging people to follow Jesus or just providing a form of spiritual entertainment?
What are people discussing after the services? Are they talking about us or about Jesus?
Can someone who is hungry for Jesus find him in our services?
When we gather at New Life, we pray and plan for five things to happen every week.
1. We want Jesus to be worshipped
Christology is paramount in all we do. The person, role and nature of Jesus is the predominant focus from beginning to end. Without a biblical framework of Jesus, all worship falls apart, but when Jesus is central, the saints are strengthened and the prodigals are welcomed home. Jesus is every stanza of every song, and every syllable of every prayer. Everything. He is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made.
2. We want people to recognize and welcome the Holy Spirit
When Jesus is central, the Holy Spirit is always near. We welcome the powerful person of the Holy Spirit to meet with us, to show us Jesus and empower us with the grace and means to follow Christ. We pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to us and for us too make room for Him. We pray there is not one second of the service that the Holy Spirit is absent or missing. He is The Lord, the giver of life.
3. We want truth to be taught in love
It is truth that sets us free and love is our greatest gift. When the sacred texts of Scripture are taught with truth and love, our hearts are awakened, and sin is confessed and vanquished. We are built into a living body of believers, ready to be ambassadors carrying salt and light. We want the Scriptures to be taught with practical applications, but not void of mystery. We want to show people the big story of the Bible – the story of a God wanting to speak to us, to redeem us and to live with us.
4. We want authentic community
If the church is a colony of life living in a world of death, then we must carry one another’s burdens in prayer, confess to one another, encourage one another and serve one another. This is work that cannot be done remotely and requires physical presence. We must see one another and hear one another. Church is an unhurried gathering where stories can be told and listening ears can be found. When we dedicate babies, support and cheer for those in the waters of baptism, and eat together, our hearts are knit together in a bond of peace. Our love for another is proof to the world that we are followers of Jesus. (John 13:35)
5. We want to be connected to a bigger story
When the early church gathered for worship, the climax was a celebratory meal of remembrance, an agape feast. The Eucharist was the reason they gathered, the center of their worship and the reason for their hope. In a world where absolute truth and sound theology are under attack, the table centers us again on a foundational stone and returns us to the mysteries of a deeper place of worship. For us, communion is the bridge between a miraculous, resurrected past, a hopeful present and a prophetic future. It connects New Life to the church around the world and gives us space in a story that was already being written even before we were born.
December 3, 2016 at 1:56 am
Glad you are here and pray that you are feeling better and remain in good health. We need you.
Would like to ask if the music leaders sing some of the songs us elderly people grew up with. At least everyone knows the words The new songs that are now being made up and sung, I believe, are for the music staff to make CD recordings and make money on by selling around the world to other churches. As the letters (Fonts) are so small on the screens and the colored back grounds making them hard to read. We can not sign with them as we do not know the words of the new songs. The screens are large enough for larger fonts, The music is also so loud that it covers up the singers. Even kids have to hold their ears.
This has not stopped our family from coming the New Life but hope some action will be taken. Thank you and may God Bless You and your family. Jerry
December 3, 2016 at 3:02 am
Hey Jerry. Thanks for the feedback. We can certainly consider all of this. We do pay attention to songs, volume and style. It is really hard to strike a balance that pleases everyone. We will keep working at it, I promise. Merry Christmas!!
December 3, 2016 at 4:03 pm
I am an older member of our congregation and I adore the praise and worship section of our Sunday service. Singing along with the band makes my heart soar and to me it’s a fabulous way to get me jump started for the following week on a Sunday morning. The words are so meaningful and they cast a vision for me about what I want my week to be like. If the band makes a CD it will just spread our message and the news New Life Church around the world. Sing on
December 3, 2016 at 4:30 pm
Mr. Haberer is echoing many concerns, some of which I agree with and have heard from other members. While the service overall is uplifting and hits all five objectives, the music, while unquestionably excellent in quality and intentions, is frequently unbearable in volume and beat. My wife and I often must leave the sanctuary simply because we cannot stand the pain in our ears any longer. Two summers ago promises were made to address the problem, which appeared to be the number one question submitted from the members, but if that happened, we cannot tell any differences. Mentions were made of the building size and material, etc.., and of the exhuberant cost to correct the acoustics. All reasonable responses. But is there not a volume knob that can simply be turned down? Worse yet, I am even more concerned about hearing damage to my young children in the theatre service. They often tell me their ears hurt. This is very difficult to submit as no one wants to be a complainer or malcontent, and we all love the church and the pastoral and worship staff, but this is a serious issue. Thanks to Mr. Haberer for raising it. We know that church leadership are godly and dedicated servants of the Lord and want to please Him. That is not in question. Again, this is very difficult to submit but comes from deep concern.
December 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Hey Joel. Thanks for raising your concerns. I promise we take them seriously. We will keep trying to get this right. We do have serious challenges with the building and the sound will never be perfect until we spend some serious money on acoustics. Right now, we are doing the best we can with the resources available. We are monitoring the decibels and they never even get close to the levels that would be damaging. My kids sit in the services, too, so I understand your concerns.
December 3, 2016 at 7:27 pm
Thanks, Pastor Brady!!