Rethink Sabbath Worship

Posted on September 14, 2013

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Heart of WorshipAuthor: Ken Lytle

I sit in church most Sabbaths completely bored and uninspired.  Many of the worship services are disconnected, lead by older members who lack excitement and energy, and sermons that do not feed the soul and inspire.  

It saddens and even frustrates me when I look around the church during the sermon time and see a majority of the members zoned-out, facebooking, chitchatting, and young people playing around (I’m guilty too).  How can you blame them?  Boring sermons delivered by boring speakers do not produce interested and inspired Bible students.  

Bored in Church III  

Check out this quote from the Spirit of Prophecy… 

Our meetings should be made intensely interesting. They should be pervaded with the very atmosphere of heaven. Let there be no long, dry speeches and formal prayers merely for the sake of occupying the time. All should be ready to act their part with promptness, and when their duty is done, the meeting should be closed. Thus the interest will be kept up to the last. This is offering to God acceptable worship. His service should be made interesting and attractive and not be allowed to degenerate into a dry form.–5T 609. {PaM 176.2} 

I am pretty sure I saw the words, “intensely interesting” worked into that quote.  Church needs to be intensely interesting.  It is extremely important that our church leaders take the time to each week to prayerfully prepare for the Sabbath worship services.  

Bored in Church

Think about it… If CNN, ABC, and NBC can produce interesting, organized, and professional programming every single day, we should be able to create intensely interesting church services once a week.   

This is where good leadership comes in.  The pastor and other church leaders should be meeting every week to prayerfully plan Sabbath services.  Skilled (gifted) members should be trained and mentored in their area of giftedness.  

  • Skilled and friendly greeters should be welcoming members and visitors 
  • Skilled Sabbath School teachers should be teaching
  • Skilled public speakers should be doing the welcome, announcements, and sermons
  • Skilled musicians should be playing the instruments
  • Skilled singers should be leading the song services   

Every church service should be planned and organized in advance.  Disorganized and boring worship services do not bring honor to God.

When it comes to music, I personally believe we should be using a mix of new and old songs.  Songs should be inspiring, uplifting, intelligent, and have the purpose of pointing people to Jesus.  Let me say this… not every song in our current hymnal should be sung in church.  Some of the songs are to old school when it comes to timing and composition.  The same goes for some of the newer songs.  Some of the newer songs are shallow and uninspiring.  My recommendation is to instruct the worship teams to select a blend of upbeat hymns and worshipful praise songs.  Every generation should be able to connect with the songs selected (young and old).  As for instruments, there is no need for drums sets.  This only alienates the older generation and causes division.  A piano and guitar combo is a simple way to go, but adding other instruments like, violin, cello, flute, sax, etc. is always nice.  The following quote clearly teaches that our music should not be “funeral notes.”          

Those who make singing a part of divine worship should select hymns with music appropriate to the occasion, not funeral notes, but cheerful, yet solemn melodies.–ST June 22, 1882. {PaM 178.2} 

Here is a sample worship service to try out in your church…

  1. Praise team enter
  2. Worship leader greets members and visitors and says a short prayer (maybe highlight a couple announcements if needed (announcements should be on the screen before the church service)
  3. Praise team leads out in 2 songs
  4. Between songs 2 and 3… the worship leader shares a Bible verse… “The Word of God says in……” Music continues to play softly in the background
  5. Sing song #3
  6. Between songs 3 and 4… the worship leader calls for the tithes and offerings… “God has blessed us with so much, lets give back to Him with our tithes and offerings as we sing this next song.”  Ushers/deacons then pass around the offering plates while the 4th and final sing is being sung.
  7. Praise team exits
  8. Speaker/pastor delivers a powerful and inspiring sermon… doesn’t hurt to use Power Point and props during the sermon (people are very visual).
  9. Special music
  10. Closing prayer and final words

This type of worship service can flow very smoothly and help create interest.

Let us begin thinking outside the box when it comes to Sabbath worship.  God has taught us how to create intensely interesting worship services.  Now we just need to prayerfully plan and implement them on a weekly basis. 

Let me know if your church tries the above church service outline.  I would be interested in hearing about how it worked for you. 

Note about family worship… 

The father, who is the priest of his household, should conduct the morning and evening worship. There is no reason why this should not be the most interesting and enjoyable exercise of the home life, and God is dishonored when it is made dry and irksome. Let the seasons of family worship be short and spirited. Do not let your children or any member of your family dread them because of their tediousness or lack of interest. When a long chapter is read and explained and a long prayer offered, this precious service becomes wearisome, and it is a relief when it is over. {BLJ 324.3}