Category Archives: Worship

A worship prayer

Father, what do you want me to learn today? Not my neighbor, but me? How do you want me to respond? Please open my ears and my heart to your word. Amen.

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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Prayer, Worship


Developing churches with a healthy climate of worship

Book Review: Worship Essentials: Growing a Healthy Worship Ministry without Starting a War! by Mike Harland

How do you change the climate of worship in a church? How do you get beyond the debate over music styles—old versus new, hymns versus praise songs, piano and organ versus guitar and drums? The conviction of Dove Award-winning worship leader and author Mike Harland is that we need to get below the surface issues and address the fundamental issues of worship and ministry.

If the spiritual leaders of a church want to foster a community that reflects the biblical marks of an authentic worship culture, they will have to go beneath the externals and get to the heart of the matter—first, in themselves—and then in the church as a whole.

We have to get to the essentials of worship.

The author identifies four key values of worship—tell the story, make true disciples, engage the body, and aspire with purpose. The book is then divided into four parts where he explains what he means.

Tell the Story. “Churches with healthy worship cultures start right there—with a clear vision of Jesus and songs that teach about him and admonish the church with his Word.” “Healthy worship ministries give testimony to the stories of God’s grace at work in his people, and to the story of grace revealed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.”

Make true disciples. “Healthy worship cultures understand the role music has in discipleship and orchestrate their ministry to fulfill that mission.” “Leaders are wise to identify just what they are aiming for as they execute their strategy. If they are aiming at music balance—whether through multiple services of varying styles or a blended approach in the same service—they may or may not be contributing to the overall mission of the church, even if they’re hitting the target they’ve set for themselves.”

Engage the body. “Healthy congregational worship ministries place a high value on congregational engagement. When they evaluate the impact of this work, they consider the active involvement of the people in the worship gathering to be one of the key metrics to consider.”

Aspire with purpose. Churches need leaders who “aspire for excellence, but with purpose, and every decision they make is intended to move the body of believers toward the realization of that purpose. Most of all, they aspire for the worship in their church to be focused on much more important things than music styles and song choices.”

I appreciated the book because it focuses on the big picture. It is not about songs, styles, pacing, staging, or any of the other issues we tend to get consumed over. Instead, the book gets back to the foundation of what we do and why we do it. The book is well written, thought provoking, and encouraging.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on January 21, 2019 in Books, Church, Quotes, Worship


In praise of effective worship leaders

I am grateful for Dave & Wayne, the worship leaders at our church, First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA. They do a wonderful job in planning and leading our worship services. They work hard at incorporating hymns and praise songs and blending new songs with old ones. They model how to enter God’s presence and worship him. They demonstrate flexibility and openness in allowing me to make suggestions and add new elements to our services. They make it easy for me to preach because they draw people into God’s presence and prepare their hearts to hear from him.

Because of their unique role, they receive as much scrutiny, and sometimes more, as I do for preaching. When we do our jobs well, it often goes unnoticed because people have come to expect high quality. Many times, the only comments we hear are of the complaint variety.

I am grateful for their partnership in ministry.

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Posted by on January 17, 2019 in First Central Bible Church, Worship


A change in our Sunday morning worship schedule

Beginning December 2 as we enter the season of Advent, we will make a change to our Sunday morning schedule at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA. Below is a letter to the congregation explaining the details.

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Posted by on October 18, 2018 in First Central Bible Church, Worship


Sanctuary Rededication Service – photos

Carol was able to take some photos during our Sanctuary Rededication worship service this morning.

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Posted by on September 9, 2018 in First Central Bible Church, Photos, Worship


Sanctuary Rededication Service

On Sunday, September 9, we are holding a special worship service to rededicate our renovated facility. We are holding one service, combining both of our worship teams, involving each one of our elders, and keeping our children in the service rather than having them go to Junior Church. It will be a special time of worship that will end with a call to rededicate our lives to Christ and the ministry of First Central Bible Church.

Here’s the order of service:

Welcome & prayer – Pastor Mark Wheeler

2 songs – led by Wayne Erik Jarvis

  • Days of Elijah
  • He Reigns

Scripture reading – Matthew 28:16-20 (Great Commission) – Joe Martin, Elder

2 songs – led by Dave Krok

  • Build Your Kingdom Here
  • Rescuer

Review of the renovation process – Doug McVeigh, Elder

2 songs – led by Dave Krok

  • Worthy, Worthy
  • Doxology

Scripture reading – Matthew 22:34-40 (Great Commandment) – Doug Dolbow, Elder


2 songs – led by Wayne Erik Jarvis

  • Agnus Dei
  • The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me

Prayer – Stan Kulig, Elder

Sermon – Matthew 16:13-20 (Becoming an I2(squared) Church: A Church of Irresistible Influence) – Pastor Mark Wheeler

Closing song

  • In Christ Alone

Lunch – in the gym


Worship is a Choice

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Posted by on June 14, 2018 in Quotes, Tim Challies, Worship