YouNot all of us pastors have the luxury of having a full worship band, pianist and an ear for music. Let’s face it, some of us reading this article right now can’t carry a tune in a bucket…and that’s okay. We don’t all have to have the gift of music. Scripture even points out the various gifts that we are all given and appointed with (Eph 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11), and just as the focus on speaking in tongues can become an issue, so too then use of music. Don’t get me wrong, music in worship can be most beneficial to the body of Christ, but it should be viewed as a conduit to deeper worship, not the desired end result.
Today, let us focus on this element of worship with the non-musical pastors in mind. If you fit this mold, then take note. My wife is very, very talented in other areas of ministry, but she will openly admit that music is not one of those talents.
There are many, many pastors in small churches or corps that do not have a musical bone in their bodies, and that’s okay. I want to help you find some tools to use within worship that will assist you and your congregation within and even around the conduit of music on Sunday.
1) YouTube Videos/YouTube Video Downloaders.
If you are not musical at all, you might utilize a plethora of Christian worship music on YouTube. There are even Youtube downloaders that you can use to have the videos accessible in places of worship where WiFi and the internet are sketchy or nonexistent. Using a video on YouTube could include modern top 40 Christian songs, a movie clip, or numerous other topics other than just music.
Don’t neglect the power of videos and or worship songs in your Sunday services. Feel free to be creative and intentional in the planning of your service theme too. Caution: This will take time, so don’t just throw everything together on Saturday night and expect amazing results…intentional planning takes time and hours. We are all busy people, but not taking the time to find the appropriate videos and/or music, is noticeable in our services (I’ve been guilty of this too).
2) iSing Worship (app)
This is a great app that does cost a little bit, but is a tremendous tool if you have a portable device like an iPad or iPhone. The app is free, but the songs will you about $3 a piece, which is only a dollar more than what you would pay for songs you currently buy on Google Music store or the apple iTunes Store. When you buy these songs, you then have the ability to include all of the elements of the song (i.e lead vocals, guitar, drums etc.). So, for instance, if you wanted to lead the song you could turn the vocals down and sing with the music like it was Christian Karaoke hour. Or iSing worship could become your worship band in a box by simply hitting play. Be sure, however that you plan the songs you are going to sing ahead of time and have the words either printed or displayed on the screen for the congregation to sing along.
First of all let me set the record straight, if we aren’t following Christ and desiring to be like Him in every way, then we really shouldn’t call ourselves Christians. That’s a bold statement, but it’s true. We can’t understand who this Jesus guy is, unless we actually read and study His life. What did He teach? What did He do? With whom did He associate with, and who did Jesus heal? When we study who Jesus was and is, we begin to see the kind of life that we are also called to live – if we are to follow Him.
Today, I would like to focus on just 4 Ways We Get Christianity Wrong.
It should be noted that there are more ways to get this wrong, but for the sake of time, lets cover just four.
I used to despise altar calls. (There, I’ve said it, phew what a weight off of my chest)
Why did I despise altar calls? It wasn’t because I was running away from the Holy Spirit, but rather I was running away from what I felt was manipulation. That sounds rather bold, and perhaps you will disagree with me, but isn’t there an element of the rehearsed, “I’m going to pull on your heart strings” emotionalism that can sometimes be present in altar calls? Some denominations have basically built their entire church on “feeling”.But let me ask you, what happens to those who just don’t “feel” it? Are they just not in touch with the Holy Spirit? I would add that some have walked away from the faith because of these kinds of emotionalism doctrines thinking to themselves, “I must not be good enough, or emotionally vulnerable enough, because I just don’t feel the way the rest of the church feels.”
Don’t get me wrong, when the Holy Spirit falls upon His people (and He does) we know it, but it isn’t always tied up in our emotions and tear ducts. Altar calls certainly have their place, but when it is not genuine, but rather stats driven…then it’s merely manipulation, and I don’t think that’s truly God-honoring. Don’t manipulate people into coming to an altar when there isn’t even an altar in their hearts yet for Him. That desire comes from knowing Him through the fellowship of other believers – also known as discipleship.
I am also not discouraging the use of the altar, it can be a wonderful, glorious place to receive Christ and to rededicate ones life, but it has been mistreated, overused and used to manipulate others as well. Use it wisely!
It’s All About ME!
The problem with an individualistic society is the loss of “others”. No, we do not lose the sense of others around us, but rather the desire to help others, or to see the needs of others before our own. Jesus indicated to His disciples that if they were to be great, they had to first serve others. Our world teaches us through our own experiences, and we rely on these self-experiences to get us through life…but what if we’re missing the experience to serve others? Couldn’t serving others actually teach us more about ourselves as well as how God sees all of us?The problem with modern Christianity and Church is the need to find a place to be “fed”, but we never seek to feed others. If we find the first, but neglect the latter – we have missed the entire point of Christianity. Too often we see out churches to entertain us, to meet our needs, and to watch our children…but isn’t there more to going to church? Isn’t there more involved in being a Christian?
We get Christianity wrong when we internalize God’s blessing, but never make the effort to externalize it for others.
The Christian Fast-Food Menu Order
Another component to the individualistic society that we live in is to use the Bible as a fast-food menu. By that I mean we can sometimes pick and choose the statements and teachings in the Bible that matches our lifestyle choices so that we feel less guilt, when all along we know that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us…and at times convicting us. We can all be guilty of this, and it can be easy to gloss over portions of scripture that don’t necessarily mesh with what we’ve chosen to put into our lives.Jesus consolidated the Ten Commandments into to very important truths:
1. Love God (Heart, Mind, Soul, Body)
2. And love Others.
When we do those two things and actually practice them in our lives the truth of the rest of scripture becomes real in our lives. By that I mean, we are more in tune with the Holy Spirit and more willing to listen to His calling.
Commitment Is Vacant
We live in a very fast-paced world.
We literally have the world in the palms of our hands with smart devices that are linked to almost every place in the world. Isn’t it funny that we can spend 5-10 hours a day scrolling on our phones, but when it comes time to go to Bible Study or that group you said you would go to – we can’t seem to find the time.
This isn’t a guilt trip – this is simply the truth.
We might make excuses like, “Well, they really won’t miss me.” or “It’s just not for me.” or even, “That study is BORING!”…but what we miss out when we don’t commit is human connection with other Christians brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all imperfect and faulty…some ARE boring…some ARE not really geared for you…but the connection with other Christ-followers is vital!
Yes, we all have families.
Yes, we all have busy schedules – and time is a precious commodity, but if you can spend 5 hours + on Facebook, you can spend 5 minutes a day doing devotions or praying to the Lord. For some of you who have that commitment, I applaud you – keep going! Some of us need to get into some spiritual shape…and we need to actually commit.
These are just 4 Ways We Get Christianity Wrong…for what it’s worth.
Blessings on you!
You’ve seen all of the life hack ideas out there.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were Ministry Life Hacks? Well, there are.
I’ve done a little digging on the web as well as thought of some realistic ministry hacks on my own.
I should point out though that ministry hacks are necessarily short cuts or a means to short change your ministry…it still takes hard work and determination, but perhaps we should be thinking smarter about the way we do things instead of making it harder when there could be a simpler way.
5 Life Hacks That Can Improve Your Ministry
These might be some obvious and/or not so obvious to you.
The key in our ministries is to be relateable, realistic and holy.
How do we do these things?
You get the point.
Anyway…here we go…
1. YouTube Mini Webisodes
Here’s a hack within a hack –
Your corps could do these type of videos in your services as well…it’s really very simple.
You might also consider doing these videos instead of your regular “announcement time”.
Most smart phones these days are affordable and relatively easy to navigate.
The world becomes closer to your fingertips and using it for the right reasons makes all the difference. We ought to take advantage of these media platforms. It’s really not hard. The hard part is adding content to places like YouTube that people will actually watch and/or be interested in. Make sure the videos you post are well thought out, planned and creative. YouTube channels are free. You can add one yourself with just a google e-mail account. With the use of a smart phone you can now upload simple webisodes and/or informational content to your YouTube channel. You don’t have to have a big budget on video editing equipment to get your message out to the masses. Experiment and give it a try for yourself!
2. Keep And Sync Your Lotus Notes Calendar to all your (approved) devices
(Or Google Calendar)
Again, the nice thing about modern technology is that you can organize your life.
I have a confession, I’m not the most organized person in the world, in fact I’m far from it.
I need this kind of help on a daily basis in order to keep track of my schedule and calendar of events.
You can use IBM’s Lotus Notes Calendar and have it synced to your phones…it works!
If you’re more of a web-based calendar person, you can use google calendar (Note: I really don’t work for google, seriously, it just stuff that I’ve found through trial and error that works).
Maybe you’re like me and you’re unorganized and you need help.
Try using a calendar for a month…stick with it. Any new habit has to be formed and it takes time.
3. Media Saturated Social Media Posts
If your corps/ministry uses social media then use it well!
Put your phones to use by taking photos of events and posting them.
Put thought provoking content on you Corps facebook page, twitter account, tumblr and any other media platform you may use. Keep your corps members engaged through out the week. If your sermon on Sunday can spill over onto your website or social media page then do that! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to stay connected and be a source of hope and challenge to your corps members and community!
It’s really taking the quote “Why should the devil have all the good music” and bringing it into the modern generation. Why should the devil have all the good media content (other than the occasional “if you love God then click ‘like’ if you don’t then ignore” dumb posts you see sometimes on places like Facebook)?
Being innovative in your ministry doesn’t mean selling the truth of the gospel out.
I. Am. Not. Saying. That. (But someone will certainly accuse me of this today…just watch)
What I’m merely suggesting is we ought to use the tools that we have at our finger tips to get that message out more and in a more accessible and visible way.
4. Be Prepared!
It’s really not a new life ministry hack.
Do you remember the old Colonel or Major that used to tell you “keep an extra sermon in your bible just in case” THIS STILL APPLIES! Preparation is King! Always have a message to speak. Be creative, be innovative, be prepared! It’s so much more than the Boy Scout motto. It ought to be the Christ-follower’s motto as well!
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...” (1 Peter 3:15)
Maybe put down the tv remote and refrain from watching another hour of programming.
Maybe put aside that video game that you’re totally immersed in.
Maybe get up a little earlier each morning and get some spiritual preparation under your belt by spending time in prayer and meditating on God.
Maybe put aside any other distractions that might get in the way of your preparation as a minister/Officer/Soldier/Evangelist/Worship Leader/Corps Sergeant Major/YPSM (the list goes on)…
Maybe read a challenging book about the Christian faith.
Maybe do something that stretches you.
Do whatever prepares you to engage our world and those we have the privilege to minister to.
5. Connect with Corps Members Through Intentional Social Events.
If food is the way to a man’s heart, then social events are the way to your corps people’s hearts.
How else will we connect on a fellowship level if we don’t intentionally schedule events that will allow us to “let our hair down”? All families, singles, divorcees, seniors, middle agers, young adults crave some sort of social connection other than Sunday morning worship times. Don’t skimp of the fellowship times because you think it’s a frivolous waste of time. Schedule. Connect. Don’t make it all about some sort of additional bible study time. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your corps members. This allows them access to you as a person and not just their officer or local officer. Be real. Make the attempt. This ministry life hack is the grease to the ‘cohesive body of Christ’ cog.
These are a mere five suggestions to help improve your ministry.
Do you have additional suggestions? Comment below and share with us your insight!
Join the conversation, that’s what these ponderings are all about!
Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!