Don’t Let Non-Christians Write Your Liturgy

Daniel Darling | September 10, 2016

When I was a young pastor, I was eager to find and replicate worthy ministry models. I was attracted to the church growth movement. I admired the soul-winning zeal of practioners who counseled young pastors like me to fashion their Sunday services so the “seeker” wouldn’t trip over man-made obstacles on his way to finding Jesus.

While I absorbed many of its lessons—clear communication, ministry excellence, community outreach—I began to have some questions about an approach that shapes the Sunday gathering exclusively around the unbeliever. I say “exclusively” because every pastor should have, in his mind, the image of a lost soul when he steps up to the pulpit to preach. He shouldn’t assume his audience is entirely made up of believers, and his preaching should be clear enough so the lost know how to repent and believe. Paul counseled Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist,” after all (2 Tim. 2:5).

There are, however, three vital questions to ask ourselves about our worship services.

1. What’s happening on Sunday mornings?

According to standard church growth philosophy, the Sunday gathering is the prime opportunity to invite unbelieving friends and neighbors to hear a gospel presentation. To make worship attractive, churches are encouraged to remove barriers that…

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