All posts from “Worship”

Pitchfork and Pentecostals

November 21, 2013 9:18 AM

"It would be awesome if this band just ditched their set list and played Bowie's “Hunky Dory” instead." That was my suggestion. I was standing in a crowd of thousands at the Mecca of indie music, the Pitchfork Festival....

Study Says God-Connections at Church are "Rare"

January 11, 2012 12:00 AM

Let's be honest for a minute. Most churches expend the vast majority of their resources on weekend worship gatherings. It's when facilities are most utilized, when programming is most robust, when volunteers are most required, and what many pastors spend...

Catalyst Lab with David Platt

October 5, 2011 8:58 PM

Okay, so I've never read any of David Platt's books. And, quite, frankly, I didn't know what the fuss was all about ... until tonight. I'm not sure what happened, because I came here to "cover" Catalyst--as a detached, objective,...

Ur Video: Pastor Tased by Worship Leader

August 11, 2011 12:00 AM

New Welcome Baptist Church in Grand Bay, Alabama, was the scene of a violent church conflict on August 7. Details are still coming out, but it seems to involved the pastor, worship leader, a few deacons, knives, and at least...

Out of Context: John Ortberg on Amusing Worship

August 10, 2011 12:00 AM

"To 'muse' means to reflect and ponder; put an 'a' in front of it and you have the absence of reflection. Amusement is a way of boredom-avoidance through external stimulation that fails to exercise our minds. It's mere diversion. It...

Worship Through a Child's Eyes

July 28, 2011 12:00 AM

Back in college my professor of American religion gave us an interesting assignment. We had to visit a number of local churches, sit in their sanctuaries, and write down our observations of the spaces. Based on these observations, we...

Taming the Image

June 24, 2011 12:00 AM

The band is rockin', arms are swayin', and you're about to come on screen in high definition with such stunning visual clarity that even people in the nosebleed seats can see your perfect smile. Is this a rock concert? A...

Special Needs Boy Removed From Worship

June 13, 2011 12:00 AM

Many churches focus on providing a compelling worship experience. The desire is to attract people to an excellent production where they can sing, learn, and leave feeling renewed. For decades we've called this approach "seeker-sensitive." But does that sensitivity have...

Chuck Swindoll: We're Creating Spectators Not Worshipers

May 9, 2011 12:00 AM

In part 1 of Skye Jethani's interview with Chuck Swindoll, he spoke about the insecurity that leads some pastors to seek a crowd and to pander to cultural trends. Some of you felt Swindoll was just being old-fashioned and grumpy....

Chuck Swindoll: Insecure Pastors Need a Crowd

May 3, 2011 12:00 AM

The Latest issue of Leadership Journal features an interview with Chuck Swindoll about the challenges and problems he sees in the American church. High on Swindoll's list is the infusion of entertainment values into our worship. Here's an excerpt from...

May/June Catalyst Leadership: The God Show

April 26, 2011 12:00 AM

The new issue of our free digizine, Catalyst Leadership, is now online. This time we're covering how technology and entertainment values are changing the way we worship. The issue includes articles and videos by Andy Stanley, Britt Merrick, Louie...

Ur Video: Quran Burning Pastor

April 5, 2011 12:00 AM

In line with our recent discussion about the overlap in Christian and Muslim theology about God, let's talk about t he chaos that has erupted in response to the burning of a Quran by a pastor in Florida. There is...

The "Allah" Issue

April 1, 2011 12:00 AM

The latest issues of Christianity Today includes an interview with Yale professor Miroslav Volf about his new book Allah: A Christan Response. Volf grew up in Yugoslavia where Christian and Muslim communities have cooperated and clashed. The dedication page of...

Should Worship Leaders Talk or Just Sing?

March 18, 2011 12:00 AM

Friend of Ur, Carlos Whittaker (@loswhit), has sparked a helpful conversation on his blog Raggamuffin Soul. Should worship leaders talk between songs, contribute to the teaching within the gathering, and tell stories to draw the congregation toward God? Or, should...

Url's Links of the Week

January 6, 2011 12:00 AM

Urbanites...this is your leader. Here are the links you should be reading this week. Live long and proselytize. -Url, out. Is the Constitution God-inspired? Republicans took control of the House of Representatives yesterday, and their first official act was the...

The Top 10 of '10

December 28, 2010 12:00 AM

Well Urbanites, as another year draws to an end it's time to look back. Here are the most commented upon (a.k.a. the most argued about) post from the last 12 months. There plenty of politics in here covering the health...

Ending Age-Segmented Worship

September 20, 2010 2:31 PM

Last month Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale ended its model of offering multiple worship services designed to appeal to different ages, likes, and styles. Tullian Tchividjian, senior pastor and a contributing editor to Leadership Journal, said "The best...

Struggling with Thankfulness in Ministry

July 16, 2010 12:00 AM

It’s true confession time. I struggle to be thankful. I’ve been reading a lot in the Old Testament recently (for a class; I’m not so holy.). One of the themes that has jumped out at me again and again throughout...

Be Careful What You Worship on July 4

July 1, 2010 12:00 AM

I’ve been a part of numerous churches that celebrated American Independence Day with abandon: 80-foot flags hanging from the ceilings, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “I’m Proud to Be an American” and even— most disturbing to me as I...

Tuesdays with Tozer–Simplicity

April 27, 2010 12:00 AM

I’m struck by the fact that Tozer wrote these words in 1948–more than 60 years ago. Was he ahead of time? Or is the craving for simplicity a constant one? Are there always distractions and busyness–whether you’re living in the...

Tuesdays With Tozer- Worship

April 13, 2010 12:00 AM

As you discovered last week, we’re going to be celebrating Tuesdays With Tozer this spring. Tozer has a knack for stirring up the hunger to know God in my own heart and I hope he’ll do the same for you....

Worship with Muslims and Jews?

March 12, 2010 12:00 AM

The pastor who coined the word “glocal” to describe his church’s approach to missions has led his Texas congregation to visit new territories: the synagogue and mosque down the street. In January, NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, worshipped with Temple...

Rob Bell on the Dangers of Video Preaching

February 15, 2010 12:00 AM

He once planted a church by teaching through Leviticus. He can use a rabbit carved from a bar of soap to illustrate the nature of suffering. Google his name and the term "Sex God" will appear among the top...

Ur Video: December Issue of Catalyst Leadership

December 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Catalyst Leadership is a free digital magazine produced by the editors of Leadership Journal and the organizers of the Catalyst Conference. Sign up for your subscription today....

Video Venues and Multi-Sites: Can We Please Move On?

November 5, 2009 12:00 AM

May I vent for a moment? If I stumble onto another blog, article, or conference advertisement for anything having to do with video venues or multi-site models of church growth, I just might lose it. Everywhere I look within our...

Catalyst, Liturgy, and Innovation

November 2, 2009 9:00 AM

According to data from the National Congregations Study (2006-2007), 38% of people in the United States associate themselves with liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, etc.); while 46% associate themselves with free churches (Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denominational, etc.). The 14% of...

Ur Video: Stetzer & Hirsch on Multi-Site

October 1, 2009 12:00 AM

Key ideas: Stetzer--Is multi-site being used to give great communicators a larger audience, or is it being used to raise up more communicators? Stetzer--Multi-site isn't a big phenomenon in post-Christian settings. It's much more popular among Christians willing to...

Video Ur: Perry Noble on Multi-Site Churches

September 9, 2009 12:00 AM

The validity of video-based preaching has been a matter of debate on this blog. Some, like Bob Hyatt, are critical of the trend believing it puts even greater distance between the teacher and the taught. In addition, projecting one preacher...

Ur Video: John Piper Says Video Hurts Preaching

July 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Everyone knows that John Piper believes in the supremacy of preaching, but what about augmenting the spoken word with video clips or dramas? In this short video Piper answers that question. Here's an excerpt: "I think the use of video...

Webcam Worship

July 6, 2009 2:09 PM

The following is an excerpt from a chapter called "Internet Campuses - Virtual or Real Reality?" in the book A Multi-Site Church Road Trip: Exploring the New Normal, by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, and Warren Bird (Zondervan, 2009). This picks...

Ur Video: Consumerism and Church Buildings

June 25, 2009 12:00 AM

Skye Jethani's new book, The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity, outlines what happens when the consumer worldview and the Christian worldview collide. In this video, Jethani is interviewed by Marian Liautaud from Your Church magazine about the...

Scot McKnight: Spiritual Eroticism

May 4, 2009 12:00 AM

A peculiar development occurred in the medieval age regarding love. Behind closed doors and in the rush of brief encounters, there developed what has been called "courtly love" or "romantic love." Married men found themselves emotionally carried away with either...

Church Lessons from HGTV

April 30, 2009 8:40 AM

I was sick in bed, my poor wife by my side, during a class reunion weekend in South Carolina this past weekend. I usually make sure I get the remote control quickly in hand, so I can steer the programming...

Discovering and Escaping Liturgy

April 3, 2009 12:00 AM

For years I served on the staff of a megachurch with a very contemporary style of worship. We had a state-of-the-art sound system, large video projection screens, pop-rock music, and a sophisticated lighting system. The worship services were programmed to...

Dan Kimball on Liturgy, Church Buildings, and Senior Pastors

November 21, 2008 12:00 AM

Dan Kimball: The churches I know that are winning new believers and drawing people who did not grow up in the church are not using too many liturgical elements. I think we might be seeing people who were raised within...

Professional Mystery Worshipers

October 15, 2008 11:33 AM

The Friday (Oct 10) edition of the Wall Street Journal contained an article whose title and deck pretty much say it all: "The Mystery Worshipper: To try to keep their flocks, churches are turning to undercover inspectors, who note...

Live from REVEAL: Getting the Weekend Right

October 15, 2008 9:07 AM

by Skye Jethani This morning kicked off with a time of singing led by the worship band from Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas - one of the churches being highlighted at the conference for their strong REVEAL survey results. One...

Out of Context: Rick Muchow

August 7, 2008 12:00 AM

"The fact is that secular music speaks to people--seekers, unchurched, and churched alike ... because many secular songs articulate universal human needs. The reason so many songs are written about love is because it's a universal desire, and one...

Audio Ur: Brandon O'Brien on the Masculinity Movement

August 6, 2008 12:00 AM

Back in April, Leadership assistant editor Brandon O'Brien wrote an article in Christianity Today about the recent trend toward manly Christianity in some evangelical churches. The article generated quite a buzz on the website and in the blogosphere. Brandon...

Is Manliness Next to Godliness?

July 24, 2008 12:00 AM

Today you can read Leadership's own assistant editor, Brandon O'Brien, was in USA Today. The report by Cathy Lynn Grossman highlights the lengths churches are going to reach men. O'Brien wrote an article last spring for Christianity Today on the...

Cartoon: Church Pirate

June 15, 2008 12:00 AM

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A More Macho Messiah

April 21, 2008 1:44 PM

Brandon O'Brien, assistant editor of Leadership, has a provocative article over at ChristianityToday.com about the shortcomings of the new Christian men's movement. From worship songs that inspire men to "Grab a sword, don't be scared. Be a man, grow...

Choosing Multi-Ethnic Over Mega

April 4, 2008 12:00 AM

I recently returned to my native Arkansas - a world much less ablaze with all the conversations about emergent, missional, monastic, anti-institutional, and ancient-future Christianity. As much as I appreciate those dialogues, a heavy dose of them can obscure the...

Out of Context: Will Willimon

August 7, 2007 12:00 AM

"The modern, essentially atheistic mentality despises mystery and considers enchantment and befuddlement an affront to its democratic right to know--and then use--everything for purposes of individual fulfillment. This flattened mind loves lists, labels, solutions, sweeping propositions, and practical principles. The...

Out of Context: Mark Labberton

July 18, 2007 12:00 AM

"This disparity between economics and justice is an issue of worship. According to the narrative of Scripture, the very heart of how we show and distinguish true worship from false worship is apparent in how we respond to the poor,...

Is Video Technology in Church Manipulative?

July 10, 2007 12:00 AM

As you read this post the summer issue of Leadership is arriving in mailboxes. The issue tackles the impact of living, and ministering, in an increasingly visual culture. Many churches are eager to employ video and other new digital tools,...

The Measure of a Ministry

July 6, 2007 12:00 AM

This week Americans are celebrating their independence by watching parades, enjoying backyard barbeques, and by not going to church. If your congregation is anything like mine you know that during the summer worship attendance slips noticeably, and the week of...

Robert Webber's Ancient-Future Journey Was Our Journey

April 30, 2007 8:47 AM

Theologian, scholar, and worship guru Robert Webber died Saturday, April 27. He was 73. Webber will be remembered (and appreciated, mostly) as the man who gave a name to the quest to recover both philosophy and experience of worship that...

Out of Context: Miles Finch

April 6, 2007 12:00 AM

"When our goal of worship is to receive God's help to be successful, pride is taking over. Then we are just using God to further ourselves. Could it be that we want church-growth secrets, or even God's Spirit...for the wrong...

Out of Context: Mark Batterson

March 16, 2007 12:00 AM

"Maybe the central task of a worship leader is to keep worship from becoming routine? Maybe the central task of a teaching pastor is to keep the Bible from becoming routine? Maybe the central task of a lead pastor is...

Worship that Reorders Reality

February 13, 2007 12:00 AM

The National Pastors Convention in San Diego is over and I've returned to the frozen north. But I still have one last reflection from the conference. Mark Labberton, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California, spoke on Thursday night...

Preaching the Word in an Image–Oriented Culture

January 31, 2007 12:00 AM

My childhood church had a silver cross suspended in the sanctuary. It was the visual focus of our worship. I recently returned to the church and the cross was still there, but few people notice it anymore. A large...

The Greatest Show on Earth

December 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Last December, David Fitch challenged the popular trend known as "Experiential Worship." Fitch said, "?we can no longer be naive that a ?religious experience,' like the one sought in a rock concert worship service, provides immediate access to God." And...

The Oddness of Pews

October 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Some things in life are certain - death, taxes, and cramped seats in economy class. But Cathay Pacific, one of Asia's leading airlines, has announced a breakthrough. They've designed an economy class seat that reclines without intruding on the person...

Cars, Cup Holders, & Complaining

October 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Chrysler has announced it will be showcasing their new cars and SUVs at mega-churches in a strategy to reach more African-American consumers. Chevy used a similar marketing ploy back in 2002 with their trucks. Remember "Chevrolet presents the Come Together...

Baptizing the Imagination

October 12, 2006 12:00 AM

Our Good Friday this year included no sermon, no worship team, no cutting edge technology or lavish drama. And still people lingered for hours to pray, teenagers returned later in the night with their friends, and children begged their parents...

Axis Denied (part 2): What should we learn from the demise of Willow’s Next-Gen ministry?

July 18, 2006 12:00 AM

In part one Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, discussed the inherent difficulties of the church-within-a-church model that has been popular with churches wanting to reach the next generation. In many cases the divergent values...

Axis Denied: What should we learn from the demise of Willow’s Next-Gen ministry?

July 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Ten years ago the leaders of Willow Creek Community Church realized that 18-30 year olds, popularly known as Gen X, were largely missing from their church. In response, the "seeker-driven" church launched Axis to help "the Next Gen connect with...

Video Venues and the Papacy of Celebrity: Why changing the methods always changes the message

June 28, 2006 12:00 AM

Most people spend a significant part of the week looking at screens; television screens, movie screens, computer screens - in fact, you're looking at one right now. But traditionally Sunday morning was not a screen-time. Then came PowerPoint. First the...

Drama King: one pastor drops preaching entirely for dramas

April 25, 2006 12:00 AM

For decades churches have been experimenting with forms of communication, and one of the hallmarks of seeker churches has been the use of dramas in worship gatherings. It should come as no surprise that a church named Hot Metal Bridge...

Disposable Worship: a caution about using too much technology in worship

April 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Last month I attended a "worship experience" that included smoke machines, lasers, digital graphic projections, and more flat panel screens than I could count. Technology is changing the way we worship, but what are we losing as a result? David...

March Madness: What a fan and a foreigner learned from a basketball liturgy

March 21, 2006 12:00 AM

In February last year, my best friend flew down from the Midwest for a delightful, week-long visit. While she was here in the Carolinas, I introduced her to one of my most favorite experiences in the world: a Division I...

National Pastors Convention: Will Willimon has Control Issues

February 22, 2006 12:00 AM

Leadership's editorial team is posting from sunny San Diego this week. We've gathered with 1700 other church leaders for the National Pastors Convention. At the opening session Methodist bishop Will Willimon spoke (with his charming and colorful Southern humor) about...

Beyond Sermons and Songs 2: Further Thoughts on Worship and Liturgy

December 16, 2005 12:00 AM

Pastor, author, and professor David Fitch has responded to the discussion he began about the pitfalls of experiential worship. To read more about worship and ministry in a postmodern culture we recommend Fitch's provocative new book The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming...

Beyond Sermons and Songs: Why Experiential Worship Isn't Enough

December 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Churches pour enormous resources into creating meaningful worship experiences. But what if those experiences don't carry the meaning we intend? Pastor and theologian David Fitch believes a worship experience by itself is not enough in our postmodern culture. Instead he...

Flowbee, Jesus, and Me: A Catalyst Echo

October 21, 2005 12:19 PM

My hair stylist cancelled my appointment yesterday because of a schedule conflict, and for a few minutes afterward I searched the Internet for the Flowbee, the vacuum-attachment haircutting system that lets you give yourself a buzz cut. (I really, really...

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