Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

What I Have Learned About Starting A New Worship Service (Part 1)

I have had the privilege to be part of two new worship service starts by existing churches. One was a new service start that I helped to envision and lead from the outset. The second was a new service that I inherited after it had been in existence for less than one year.

The first key lesson I learned in starting a new worship service is to clearly define the reason why to start the service in the first place. Why would a church consider beginning an additional worship service? I think there are two good reasons and one bad reason.

The first good reason to start a new worship service is because your current worship service attendance is already at 50%-80% capacity of your sanctuary. I pastored a church that had 2 identical worship experiences. One started at 8:30 am and the second started at 11:00 am. The second service had been started when the attendance at the 11:00 am service became too crowded.

The second good reason to begin a new worship service is because the church wants to reach people that are currently not being reached by it’s current worship experience. A church may discover a demographic in its area that is not being reached. The church may feel a responsibility under the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) to try to reach out to those people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. In order to do so they may attempt to create a worship experience that will be attractive, inviting, and relevant to that population.

The first additional worship service I helped to begin had this goal as its motivation. While our two existing worship services were informal, casual, and somewhat blended; I believed there was a population of unchurched people in our community that would be interested in a worship experience that was more upbeat, visual, and offered music led by a praise band with guitars, drums, and vocalists, instead of organ and choir.

It was to this group of people that we planned our new service.

Finally, there is one very bad reason I discovered for starting a new worship service: rebellion. I inherited an additional service that had been begun because a group of church members were dissatisfied with the current preacher’s sermons, the traditional liturgy of the church services, and the music offered by the choir and the organist. They threatened that they would leave the church altogether if a worship service was not started that would suit their preferences. Reluctantly, and with resistance, the church made plans to start an additional worship service. As the service came into existence in the months ahead, it never seemed to pick up steam. One year later the service had less than two dozen regular attenders. Years later, as I reflected on the great struggles that service had, I came to believe that a new service borne out of rebellion will never fully have the blessing of God upon it. When I left that church the worship attendance on my final Sunday in the additional service was 70. They had come a long way from the two dozen people I had inherited. Yet I still felt that the early days of rebellion had injected a level of poison into the spirit of the service that had never really been removed.


2 Responses to “What I Have Learned About Starting A New Worship Service (Part 1)”

  1. you have a very good blog that focus on God’s unmerited favor and grace, unlike other blogs which focus on works of man. Really awesome blog. If you like, you can go look out for Pastor Joseph Prince from New Creation Church. He is my favorite grace pastor, who gives really long sermons ( 1-2 hours) every week in church.

    Here’s a clip i found on youtube –

    God bless!

  2. In your post, What I Have Learned About Starting A New Worship Service (Part 1), you have some great insights into needs and motivations. it is sad when people don’t fear and respect God enough they start another worship service in rebellion (good honest word). Thanks for sharing. The one thing I learned in starting one is timing. Thanks.

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