…wrapping up this short throw-back series with the metaphor of a rockslide on I-40 on the NC/TN border that happened in 1997. That rockslide caused a lot of detours for months, and in the pre-GPS days, you had to pay attention to the road signs.

When a rockslide closes the highway, and you have to take a detour, you learn to rely a lot on road signs…

A “Yield” sign means I should stop and relinquish my progress to someone else. The last sign on this brief road trip is “yielding” our lives to God in worship.

courtesy highwaytrafficsupply.com

courtesy highwaytrafficsupply.com

Worship is any activity in which believers experience God in a meaningful, spiritually transforming way. True worship should lead worshipers to a deeper appreciation for God, a better understanding of His ways, and to a deeper commitment to Him. Encountering God in worship transforms us more and more into His likeness.

Worship begins with God, and not people. Worship is not something people do because they want to influence God. Worship is not something people do just out of gratitude, love, or fear. Emotions do not control worship; God controls worship. God instructs us how to worship and how not to worship.

God is sovereign and holy. Worship must not be done according to our small notions of Him, our limited conceptions of what He wants, or what might please us. God is above all, and we are to worship Him in the manner He desires.

God is in charge of worship. He created us and redeems us at His pleasure. He gave forms of worship in the Old Testament to direct Israel’s worship and has given His Holy Spirit in the New Testament to give us liberty and guidance in how to worship Him for who He is and what He has done. The Spirit brings liberty and freedom to worship.

The purpose of worship is to come before the Lord in obedience to praise Him, to hear from Him, to confess Him, and to commit our lives to Him. Every worship service is to be an encounter with the Lord, transcending our feelings, desires, and even our abilities to perform.

So that’s end of this quick trip, looking for road signs to guide us in the journey:

  • EvangelismOne Way
  • DiscipleshipSchool Zone
  • MinistryMen at Work
  • FellowshipMerging Traffic
  • WorshipYield

These five functions of the church are vital signs that must be followed in balance if we are to complete our journey.

When you come upon a rockslide, look to the signs to guide you to your destination.

part of a series taken from presentations 16 years ago, introducing the Purpose Driven Church principles to a church leadership team 

brought back today to connect to Auxano’s release of the first Team UP resource, featuring the Top 100 Quotes from Purpose Driven Church, with applications and exercises from Church Unique



Compelling Environments

At Auxano, we have discovered that there are three dominant environments that every local church is attempting to create:

  • Worship environments
  • Connecting environments
  • Serving environments

Each one plays a significant role in transmitting and realizing the vision. Many times, these “environments” are figurative, and we are asking questions like “How does your vision integrate into your worship?” or “How well is your DNA transmitted through your volunteer small group leaders?”

But there is also a literal consideration to environment.

Today and the rest of the week, I will be posting about these literal environments. I am attending and speaking at the 10th Worship Facilities Expo and Conference in Atlanta, GA. In these few days dozens of presentations and a whole expo floor full of vendors will give a great “snapshot” of what the trends are in the environments of churches today – and for the future.

Worship: Actively Embrace Jesus

Part 6 of a series on the book “Transformational Church

The third transformational loop described by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer is labeled Engage. It contains three elements, the first of which is Worship – Actively Embrace Jesus.

Reasons for corporate gatherings:

  • God is glorified when Christians gather together to worship Him
  • People will look over our shoulders to the God of our experience
  • Worship provides a defense for the faith that is not man-made but is God authored and supernatural

What Happens When We Gather?

  • How many encountered the transforming presence of God through worship?
  • Are we creating consumers of religious goods and services or making disciples?
  • When people attend worship, are they simply observing a show or being transformed by God?
  • The Transformational Church plans on seeing people drawn in before God’s presence, experience His power, and be transformed by His grace

Worship serves to connect us with Christ and equip us for ministry. Little of substance will be done in the name of a God we have never experienced. True worship allows us to experience God at a deeper level. When you experience God on a deeper level, personal and corporate mission will always follow.

Real worship will transform the worshipper. Transformed worshippers will change the world.

Worship Pleasing to God 

  • Transformational Churches find a way for people to avoid the debates about place, style, and method. They focus on maximum participation in worship.
  • Passive worshippers usually live passive Christian lives
  • Transformational Churches actively engage people in worship and are led by worship leaders who value participation over performance

The Purpose of Worship

  • In corporate gatherings, we are not called to lead worship but to lead people into the presence of God
  • Worship is a spiritual discipline that communicates a biblical meaning in a cultural form
  • Worship from your unity and choose music out of your mission
  • How can worship be planned to lead people in this time and place to worship an eternal God?
  • How can our worship be planned so people can focus on God and give Him praise, glory, and honor?
  • Worship is to be understood by those in need of transformation

Address Tough Worship Questions Together

  • Ask the Lord
  • Involve people
  • Study Scripture
  • Die to self
  • Avoid “truces”
  • Ask new questions
  • Focus on revelation
  • Design new scorecards 

When lives have been reformed by the presence and power of God, then your worship is working.

The excerpts above are from the book “Transformational Church” by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer. TC is the result of a comprehensive study of thousands of churches where truly changing lives is the standard set for ministry.

Next: Engage – Community: Connect People with People


Previous posts in the series include: