By: David Kerrigan
Worship can teach us theology and draws us into the presence of God, but sometimes it falls flat. So what are the hallmarks of the best of sung worship? Here are six characteristics.
By: Jerrod Hugenot
With a low church attendance expected when this Christmas Day arrives on a Sunday, what can smaller churches do? One solution could be this different way to try out a Christmas Day hymn sing.
By: Barry Howard
Religious liberty allows people to worship freely without fear of persecution and protects citizens from compulsory religious participation. It's also a freedom we too often take for granted.
By: Michael Shaw
Modern worship has become a privatized experience that does not lead into care and concern for others, but our own personal edification. That is not Christian worship.
By: Ferrell Foster
Football has become one of our nation's modern-day false gods. We have gotten so out of hand with football that we are putting the safety and well-being of women at risk.
By: Julie Ball
Many churches are planning how to observe Mother's Day on Sunday. Not all mothers need to stand up and be recognized in church. Instead, here are 7 things your church can do every day for moms.
By: Paul Beasley-Murray
The reading of the Scriptures had been downgraded in our churches and our homes. Our congregations are becoming increasingly biblically illiterate. Therefore, we need to bring back the Bible to church.
By: Griff Martin
We're pretty good at worshipping Jesus, but he desires more from us. He desires obedience. In other words, imitating his life, taking his teachings and living and making them our teachings and livings.
By: Zach Dawes
The recent tragic headlines cannot overpower the love and joy we experience as we celebrate Christmas. Both traditional and little-known holiday songs reflect God's powerful love.
By: Jerrod Hugenot
Zephaniah, a biblical prophet, spent much of his time railing against the excesses of the day. We live in no less fractured times. Zephaniah reminds people of faith to keep our eyes on the prize.
By: Brian Kaylor
As diplomats meet in Paris for climate change talks, faith leaders from several denominations and nations gathered at the Notre Dame Cathedral for a special worship service focused on climate change.
By: Mark Tidsworth
Not long ago, faith communities argues over the correct worship style. Today, far more than style, we know engaging worship requires authenticity, genuineness, engagement and risk-taking.
By: Joe LaGuardia
Many churches are throwing out all the stops to reach young adults. In a church market flooded with young adult-friendly options, the older generation is being left behind.
By: Christina Embree
Young people often leave church because they have no connection to the larger church body. While there's no magic bullet, intergenerational worship can provide that link.
By: Drew Smith
Both sacred time and space are vital to authentic worship and can function to draw us into the experience of God. Sadly, in efforts to be relevant, some churches have lost a sense of sacred time and space.
By: Julie Ball
In "Inside Out," one emotion, Joy, tries to be the dominant emotion in the head of an 11-year-old girl. And that can be the problem with worship when we want it to be filled with joy. Every. Single. Moment.
By: Drew Smith
The strongest obstacle to the life-changing experience of God in worship is our own self-centeredness and self-absorption. So what do we need to do to experience genuine worship?
By: Rob Hewell
Any person or group who holds a position deemed to be exclusivist and found to be offensive might be said to hold beliefs that are hateful toward others. Could that one day apply to Christian worship?
By: Michael Shaw
At the heart of false worship is that it is all about us, all about what God can do for us, a warm feeling of self-satisfaction. By contrast, true worship hurts because it changes things for us and others around us.
By: Justin Smith
Like Ricky Bobby in "Talladega Nights," many Christians like "the Christmas Jesus best." We're called, however, to joyfully follow Jesus in every season and through any circumstance.
By: Brian Kaylor
In his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King Jr. noted that churches with their fancy buildings had become a "social club" more concerned with their status than with standing up for moral truths.
By: Jon Kuhrt
Despite its failings and struggles, the church has within its DNA a commitment to be diverse and inclusive. It's a commitment that is anchored in a belief in everyone's value before God.
By: Roger Olson
Worship planners and leaders must think of hymns as theological expressions and choose them with discernment, especially when the lyrics may be obscure to most people.
By: Neville Callam
When Baptist World Alliance members gather for their annual meeting, not everyone speaks English. The BWA ensures that non-English speakers don't feel like second-class participants.
By: Bill Wilson
Genuine worship should evoke a humility that's missing in many Christians. What will it take for us to be swept into a spirit of unity that moves us to shed tears of joy at the altar?
Some of us may be able to sing on key, but we are all out of tune with God and with others. We may approach the gates of worship wearing our best, but God ultimately sees our brokenness and inability to be righteous. We may arrive at the courts of this sanctuary and sing hymns with an angelic voice, but God’s Spirit ultimately hears the cacophonous cries of our heart.
By: Zach Dawes
Memorial Day offers churches an opportune time to practice Jesus' call to love our enemies, to be peacemakers and to reach beyond the boundaries by which we are too often constrained.
By: James Gordon
The submission of all our nature and the integration of all our life into adoration and self-giving love describes a deep rootedness of mind and soul in the love of God. That's the core of worship.
By: Chuck Queen
Authentic worship involves bringing a certain vitality and energy into our worship. This calls not only for a focused discipline and practice but this also involves flexibility and fluidity.
By: Zach Dawes
Four Baptist leaders shared their insights about the trends they saw in church life. Their top trends center on technology, staffing changes brought on by economic factors, and an altered focus on missions.
By: Rob Hewell
More than half of all Americans and 70 percent of Protestant senior pastors believe religious liberty is waning. However, the church doesn't need government protection to be faithful to God.
Many who lead in music and worship ministry are the recipients of an obscene amount of vitriol, anger, criticism and unreasonable expectations. Here are 10 thoughts to keep expectations realistic.
Civil religion develops as a nation-state seeks validation from the church for its establishment and ambitions. It should never be confused with biblical Christianity.
All parents have struggled with the fear that they could make their children hate church if they forced them to go. Here are 4 grace-filled reasons for taking your kids to church.
Our country has a checkered history when it comes to conflating nationalism with Christianity. Baptists, however, have a proud history of standing for church-state separation.
A simmering debate rages on the matter of expressed patriotism evidenced by the display of the U.S. flag within a house of worship. Is a workable compromise possible?
On Independence Day, some churches combine worship and civic celebration in incredibly tacky ways. But it can be done in a way to remind all where true liberty originates.
Everyone seeks a church that really worships, that really knows how to praise God. While we don't know exactly what worship is, we are always quick to point out what it isn't.
Our singing is an act of holy worship to the One who is both the kingly Lion and the sacrificial Lamb. Our song is a witness to our belief that there is no one else who is worthy of our worship and praise. Therefore, with joyful abandon, let us join the heavenly hosts in singing: “To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
As church musicians, the ultimate goal of presenting our best talents to God during worship is not to draw the spotlight on ourselves but to reflect the spotlight so that it shines on God.
Not all Christians find comfort in church services. For folks with learning disabilities, places, like the Open Praise Project, offer an alternative to mainstream church.
It is one of the great themes and it is one of the great life-giving themes of scripture. This is life: to worship Christ—to worship, to give ourselves in these moments as much as we can offer ourselves up, and then to receive the confirmation of the spirit and to be a part of God’s work in this world. It is the key and the path to abundant life that Jesus has promised. We have worshipped, now let us serve.
Let us each give to God that sacred time and that sacred space so that our lives can be directed at him, and that every day, every place and in every way, our hearts would be giving worship and praise to the God who made us.
Many of us gave thanks last week for our long-held freedoms, but folks in Greece are grateful that, unlike a generation ago, they are free to worship – and to count the taxis.
During uncertain and anxious times, the church is tempted to batten down the hatches and withdraw from the world. But it is precisely during times like these that God calls forth men and women to send them on mission for the good of the world.
Worship falls flat for us unless we're attentive to God's desires rather than to human likes and dislikes. Our souls desire a closer, deeper relationship with God.
The reason pastors today hesitate to preach about worship is they know it is the hottest of all the hot potatoes in church.
When we are spiritually awake, we are focused on the resurrected Christ. We are focused on the kingdom of God.
Churches will have to learn to embrace modern technology and social media, according to panelists at a Baptist World Alliance forum during the group's annual gathering.
So when you come to worship, what do you see? When you come to worship, do you expect an extraordinary experience? When you come to worship, do you believe your life will be changed?
Nietzsche believed we were driven to power. Freud thought we were pushed to seek pleasure. Others think we desire purpose. But something else gives us deeper joy.
Healthy worship is more than meeting human wants and dabbling in fads. It should be the most spiritually mature and provocative event your church plans for each week. Like Gate A3.
Many churches have tried to create the feel of the Passion movement in their worship services. While Passion's focus has shifted from self to neighbor, will those churches follow?
NEW YORK (RNS) The U.S. Supreme Court let stand ruling that bars congregations from using space in New York City schools for worship services.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Two leading black seminaries think they have found a way to grab the next generation: hip-hop.
A new study in the Journal of Religion and Health suggests that there’s a link between optimism and attendance at religious services.
(RNS) American congregations have grown less healthy in the last decade, with fewer people in the pews and aging memberships, according to a new Hartford Seminary study.
(RNS) Interfaith worship services have doubled in the decade since the 9/11 attacks, according to a new study.
(RNS) “Music,” Ludwig van Beethoven said, “is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”
(RNS) The Crystal Cathedral has announced plans to sell its iconic glass-walled church in Southern California to pay back creditors and overcome bankruptcy.
(RNS) This weekend, Jeanne O’Hair, her friends and family will raise their voices in Easter hymns “as the spirit leads us.”
While membership and baptisms are down in British Baptist churches, the decline can be turned around if people realize churches offer something worth having. Can worship be accessible without being banal?
Thriving churches must recognize the culture in which they're rooted, understand there's more than one way to do ministry, and acknowledge that change is a sign of life.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israeli officials have installed an $11 million pipe to ease a weekly water shortage on Fridays.
What does the order of worship have to do with being salt of the earth and light of the world? How can the order of worship impact our witness for God?
(RNS) Debbie Friedman, a composer and singer whose modern melodies updated the music in synagogue services worldwide, died of pneumonia at age 59.
(RNS) Marriage among Americans who have graduated high school but not college is on the decline.
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) In Louisiana’s Livingston Parish local laws forbid the observance of Halloween on a Sunday.
Did the earliest Christians worship Jesus? That's the question James D.G. Dunn asks in his new book, but the author concludes that a better question concerns whether Christian worship was and is possible without Christ.
(RNS) Fans of Christian music and books may see a divine hand at work in bringing together all-star talent for the “Make a Difference” tour.
(RNS) Three outbursts of violence in or near churches, including one during worship services, are raising safety concerns for church leaders.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) The archaic sounds that fill the historic former church sanctuary echo, hauntingly, like a whispering ghost from the past.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) Doug De Vries describes Sunday evening worship as “a lot less formal” than the morning service.
(RNS) The University of Wisconsin should not have prohibited the use of student funds.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The most sweeping changes to the Catholic Mass in 40 years will be rolled out in 2011.
A true worshipper, saved by God’s grace, realizes he has escaped catastrophe because of God’s goodness. Such a worshipper comes as Noah did, to declare dependence upon God thorough sacrificial worship.
When the early Christians gave up their possessions for the good of others, it was more than an expression of genuine generosity. They modeled the norm for Christian identity and community.
Jesus' custom was to attend church but he broke the customary way to worship. Are we comfortable with worship that has become part of our routine or that compels us to change our communities?
The traditions and practices that we observe week to week in our worship services have meaning to us, but others may have questions, such as "Who are the important people in the robes?"
Isaiah’s description of worship jumps off the page because we’re hungry for something beyond ourselves! What we can learn is that God’s “gracious energy desires to be let loose in the world.” Isaiah happened to be in a place where he could overhear the divine voices in concert asking, “Who will go for us?” Worship becomes an exercise of listening in on what God is saying in the holy huddle of wonderment. The language of God is an energized language that moves to action and doesn’t stay stuck in limbo.
Worship and the so-called "worship wars" were on the agenda during the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education, held in Prague July 27-29.