What They See Is What It Is
No one likes a fraud, and research suggests that millennials are leaving the church because they think churches are trying too hard to be relevant. As the church works to connect the millennial generation to a worship service, we must understand that the way to be relevant is to just be real. So how do we bring more authenticity into our worship services? Here are a 3 ways we have done it at our church.
Give People Permission
Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31-32).” Before or during the worship service, we have found it effective to let people know that our church is not a hotel for the righteous, but a hospital for the sick. We do not expect anyone to put on a happy face for worship, but instead, to come as they are, which often times could be sad, lonely, or hurting. It’s in admitting that weakness that God will work even more powerfully (2 Corinthians 12:9). As worship leaders, we can set the tone for this by simply communicating it to our people.
Stripped Down Worship
There is an element of production to most worship services, but sometimes the lights and the full band can feel more like a show than a worship experience. In our millennial service, every couple months, we take a different approach to remind people what it’s all about. To do this, we have tried acoustic sets on stage with lights dimmed to take the attention off of the band, acoustic sets on the floor in front of the stage, and even worship with no lights on the band at all so you just hear the music and see the lyrics on the screens. All of these served as a good reminder to our congregation that worship is not about a production. We are not here to perform, but to worship Jesus. We also make sure that we cast the vision for why we are changing it up. So far, we’ve had great feedback with these Sundays.
No Commercial Breaks
We made the decision a few months ago to eliminate as many interruptions during worship. In the past, we would have 1 or 2 songs, and then have someone come up and give announcements. The announcements were like a commercial that interrupted a great TV show. No one listened to them, and on top of that, people were taken out of the worship experience we worked hard to create. It would take them another song just to enter back into it, and then it’s almost over. To avoid that, we have moved our announcements to the very beginning or the very end of each worship service.
Very few people come to know Jesus through perfectly produced worship services, but instead through facing the reality of their sin and the truth about Jesus. Authentic worship experiences will be one of the catalysts for real transformation in the church.
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