Are Sunday worship services working?
That is the question I’d like to explore over a series of newsletter messages.
This is part 3 and I will share the same introduction as before to stay in context.
Obviously, the ordinance of the sacrament is paramount during worship services, but that is only 10-15 minutes of the meeting schedule.
What about the rest of the schedule?
To set context, let’s take a look at the purposes found in the handbook of each meeting we experience at church on Sunday.
I’ll paraphrase for simplicity, and you can read the full purposes at the provided links.
Sacrament Meeting: Take the sacrament, worship, build faith and testimony, conduct ward business. (29.2.1)
Sunday School: Teach doctrine of the kingdom, support all learning and teaching. (13.1)
Relief Society: Save souls, relieve suffering, accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation, serve others, build unity, and learn and live doctrine. (9.1.1)
Elders Quorum: Accomplish the work of salvation, serve others, learn and live doctrine. (8.1.1)
Last week I talked about the dominant influence that church programs have on our Sunday worship services.
The structure and manuals related to these programs make it much easier to fill up the Sunday schedule and it feels like we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.
However, in our effort to get the doctrine and programs right, we miss a foundational item that is necessary for any church community to thrive.
And that is: friendship
I recently read an article by Mike Frost titled, The Lonely Crowd: Churches Dying Due to Friendlessness.
It’s a much more engaging message than this newsletter and should be required reading for all Latter-day Saint leaders, so I’ll link to it at the bottom of my message. 😊
I know pastors think long and hard about how to be better preachers and leaders, how to calibrate the church’s ministries to meet needs and serve others, how to be more missional, more adaptive, more innovative. These are all good things. But is it possible that all that leadership development, visioning, and ministry planning might be wasted if people can’t find friends and just drift away?
Before hosting any more conferences or seminars on vision-casting, living your best life, or finding your spiritual gift, how about we start equipping people in friendship-making?
You could make a similar statement related to our faith tradition.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, CULTURE EATS DOCTRINE & PROGRAMS FOR BREAKFAST.
Our doctrine and our programs would make any other church jealous, but without first fostering connection and friendship these doctrines and program never have a chance to hit their potential.
But what about ministering? It’s a friendship-making machine!
I love ministering and I have a deep belief that it is inspired from God and given to us through living prophets.
However, it was created as “an important way we keep the commandments to love God and to love our neighbors.” (Handbook 21.0)
Frost says in his article,
Churches are good at running programs and promoting faith. As a result, a lot of church conversations are either about serious matters of faith (Bible studies, workshops, etc.) or focused on the practicalities of volunteering for a ministry or committee.
Ministering is one of these programs that is effective at helping us serve one another but was never meant as the primary model of making friends.
It is more likely for people to become friends and then minister to each other rather than minister to them and become friends.
Frost shares some ideas of how churches can encourage more friendships and I’ll let you read those in the link below.
I’ll also share some ideas in next week’s newsletter.
How have you seen friendship kindled in your ward?
Read Mike Frost’s article HERE.
P.S. Become a Core Leader today and start watching the Questioning Saints Library.
Is it possible to prioritize respect and solemn reverence too much in your worship experience?
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One in Christ: North Star Conference – June 9-11 – Salt Lake City
The North Star Conference offers sessions uniquely relevant to church leaders seeking to understand how best to minister to those in their stewardship. Discounted registration is available for both in-person and virtual attendance.
Listen to a short podcast conversation about the upcoming conference: Leaders Helping LGBTQ Latter-day Saints.
Held annually, the conference features keynote sessions and a host of topical breakout sessions facilitated by church leaders, scholars and mental health professionals as well as individuals who personally experience same-sex attraction or gender identity issues and are committed to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Join us as we discuss various aspects of the LGBTQ/SSA experience within the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ. See details HERE.
Leading Saints Church History Tour – October 17-27 – Philadelphia to Missouri
Join Kurt Francom as we follow the saints from east to west. Our tour will begin in Philadelphia and proceed northward to Susquehanna, New Harmony, and Palmyra. Then it moves to Niagara Falls and on to Kirtland, Carthage, Nauvoo, Adam-ondi- Ahman, Far West, Independence, and Liberty—with other stops along the way. The context of church history will give you a greater appreciation for the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of the first saints of the restoration. See details HERE. Use promo LEADINGSAINTS for additional savings.
Warrior Heart Boot Camp – November 3-5 – Wanship, Utah
Join Kurt Francom and the Warrior Heart staff for a transformational 3 day event where we unplug and connect with God in order to become better men, husbands, fathers, and church leaders. This even only has capacity for 115 men and will most likely sell out by the end of May. See details HERE.
Brian Klaas is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, US Politics, Western foreign policy, political violence, and elections. He has advised governments, US political campaigns, international politicians, the European Union, NATO, and more. A regular commentator and political consultant to an extensive lineup of international media outlets, he is also the author of several books, including Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us. In this podcast, Kurt and Brian talk about working around natural human biases, tweaking the systems we use, and distinguishing between the power-hungry and those who are driven to serve..
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I had the chance to review the new docudrama called Undaunted and I was very much impressed by their approach to the history and validity of the three, eight, and nontraditional witnesses of the gold plates. This would be one to definitely watch. See More Information Here