During this blog post series, I am trying to help you assess your church by providing ten questions to evaluate your church’s approach to each of the purposes of the church: worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, prayer, and fellowship. In addition, I ask about your church’s biblical foundation and Great Commission commitment. Today’s questions focus on your church’s worship.
- Does the church’s worship guide explain why you gather as a body? If I were an unchurched attendee, how would I know what you aim to accomplish as a gathered body? A mission statement is a start, but those statements seldom address the issue I’m raising here.
- How much time is given to intentional worship planning? I understand a desire to grant the Holy Spirit freedom to work in a worship service, but not planning may be more a hindrance than a help. Confusion in a service is seldom worshipful.
- What percentage of your church’s attendees understand the purposes of the varied elements of your church’s worship service (e.g., singing, giving, proclaiming, responding)? Structure and understanding should lead your members to encounter God. If they are simply going through the motions of worship, they may not be worshiping at all.
- Is worship a part of your church’s small group activities? I am not limiting “worship” here to music, but God’s people ought to pray and sing His praises often when they gather. Small group worship, in fact, characterizes many churches around the world.
- Does your church intentionally teach believers about worship? Congregations can avoid worship wars if they teach biblical worship to new and old believers alike – perhaps through a sermon series or a membership class. Folks that understand that worship is not about us are less inclined to protect their worship preferences.
- Does your church encourage families to worship together in their homes? This kind of worship can be both awkward and challenging, but families that sing, pray, and study the Word together forge strong bonds. Few parents move in this direction, though, without guidance.
- Do your members tell their non-believing neighbors and friends about Jesus? This question might seem to fit better in an assessment of your church’s evangelism, but here’s the point: believers who truly encounter God in worship talk about Him. When they don’t evangelize, it’s fair to ask about the nature of their worship.
- Do your church members deal with their sin issues? Again, this question evaluates your congregation’s response to worship. If they really come face-to-face with God in worship, they will be broken over their sin. Like Isaiah, they can only cry out, “I am an unclean person” (Isa. 6:5).
- Do your church leaders clearly explain and celebrate baptism and the Lord’s Supper? These activities are not appendages to a service; they are gospel illustrations that are central to worship. Allowing either ordinance to become routine – or to do either without clear explanation – is to miss an opportunity to worship.
- If members of the early Church attended your worship service, would they be pleased with what they saw and heard? Our cultures and traditions are obviously different, but I wonder if early believers would say to us, “But where is Jesus in your worship?” I’m fairly certain they would marvel at how flippantly we worship at times.
Suppose you were to score each question on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being "I'm very displeased with where my church is" and 10 being "I'm very pleased with where my church is"), what would your score be? What other questions would you add to this list?