Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sunday to Sunday

As we’re headed into our Sunday experience tomorrow at Crossbridge, I can’t help but to keep thinking about last Sunday. See, we are constantly evaluating our Sunday morning environment through many different lenses. Some are of the spiritual nature, some just plain logistical.

In regards to Sundays, the staff typically asks the following 4 open-ended questions about our Sunday mornings.

• What went right?
• What went wrong?
• What was missing?
• What was confusing?

So, I didn’t wait till Tuesday this week. Chuck and I went at it right when we got there on Monday. We both knew something wasn’t right and it mainly centered around the musical section of the services.

Although both services were musically up to par and the transitions executed seamlessly, there was a void. Numerous trusted sources say the sound was incredible. So why did it seem that the music fell so flat?

Here are the songs we did:

Sing, Sing, Sing (Tomlin – celebratory opener)
At the Cross (Renstrom – new song, thicker lyrics)
Faithful (Fee – very familiar, easy to sing)
Jesus Paid it All (Focus Song before talk)
Broken Cisterns (Renstrom – Communion Song)

I think I could have intro’d the new song At the Cross better and perhaps spent more time teaching how the verses go. We quite possibly have sung Faithful into the ground (I read recently that once a congregation has sung a song 30 times, the words become rote to them). Sing, Sing, Sing – not sure on this one. Jesus Paid it All went over a bit better in both services. Actually seemed to be the highlight. Broken Cisterns I’m not too worried about because we basically sang that over the crowd as they took communion. Solid song.

As you can see, I still can’t quite nail down reasoning…maybe God is doing what I can’t see. Maybe everyone was really bored out of their minds. Regardless, these kind of mornings spur me on to think more deeply about our next Sunday.

So I’m less than 24 hours away from our next Sunday. I know we are well prepared, but we were last week too. My heart is for people to experience God in a way that transforms their lives. I know that God is sovereign and does what he pleases. My prayer is that he moves greatly in our midst tomorrow!


  1. Great transparency!

    God can and always will bless right motives and a heart that just desires His presence. I know this is true for both you and Chuck. I pray He blesses the service and every service mightily! :)

    Expectant faith...

  2. The first place I usually look in situations like that is simplicity. When people seem to be responding less, I think about how complicated the entire presentation is, from song selection, to instrumentation, to lights and on-screen graphics.

    I think, while contrary to what we tend to think, complexity in media tends to distract people. In the same way that repetition of a particular song can diminish its effectiveness, repetition of presentation can distract people. It becomes road noise, an indistinguishable hum that is unmoving.

    Instead of more fantastical videos and musical styles, I think the answer is often less. Fewer elements, so that people are allowed to focus on lyrics and content.

    Our responsibility in all things is to point to Jesus, and in that effort, we can sometimes point to experiences and emotions instead.

    It is easy for people to confuse the work of the Holy Spirit with the emotions that often accompany His presence. We must be careful to help them by making the distinction very clear.

  3. I love reading your thoughts and vision for pastoring the church through worship.

    After reading something like what you just wrote, it encourages me to step up my preparation for encountering God in that setting. Because generally when I feel like Sunday morning was flat... it has everything to do with my focus.

  4. Hey Tim,
    Thanks for sharing. Nick and I will say a special prayer tonight for the services tomorrow. God is so mysterious! I find myself feeling this way about certain things in my life and I sometimes wonder if what I have done is pointless. It can be discouraging, but God has a unique way of reaching people through our lives. I'm sure there are plenty of ways you as a worship pastor have touched someone's life without you even knowing it!! You are doing an amazing job and Nick and I are really enjoying worshipping at Crossbridge and feel it is a great experience. We are blessed beyond belief to have solid worship again. Thank you for trusting Him and leading us!!

    Joyfully His,

  5. hi friend.

    I had the privilege of leading worship today and had this post in the back of my mind throughout our preparation.

    Mike makes a good point. I remember a song we did here (MN) as a worship choir that was an awesome song of celebration, but the iworship video on the screen made everyone feel like they'd just been on an out-of-control roller coaster.

    Sometimes a song calls for several instruments, different ingredients. And that's okay. As long as it's presented in a clear, focused fashion.

    Hey, man, this is hard. Only God knows all the different unseen spiritual battles and conflicts on any given Sunday. It may have had nothing at all to do with you or the team. I know you already know this...

    So thankful for the opportunity I had to be a part of Crossbridge worship. I learned so much, grew so much. May God continue to bless and encourage you, Tim.

  6. Certainly God gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) I know He's going to meet you. One of the reasons we love Crossbridge is the humility of the pastoral team. You guys want to learn. Dave and I think you're doing a great job. Just in the short time we've been there, we've noticed the song selection growing in being all about Him and what He accomplished for us. God met both of us yesterday. We're so thankful for Crossbridge.

    I think Mike has some great points for sure. I know something that helps me is when the worship leader says things to focus our minds. It could be Scripture or even pointing out a good part of the song we just did. Usually it's just reminding us why we're there, what Jesus accomplished, etc. It can be simple "We're here today to celebrate the great exchange: that Jesus took our wrath that we deserve now we get to know God as children, etc." We can never hear the gospel too much. Sometimes God may put something on your heart the week you want to encourage those suffering that God is faithful, He will not forsake them, etc.

    Thanks for your service.

  7. Thanks to each of you for commenting on this post. We're constantly trying to keep an ear to the heart of God regarding worship at Crossbridge. I believe He is speaking through the feedback you are giving and I'm excited to see how He continues to move in our midst!

  8. I too appreciate the work of you guys, the worship team and Chuck. Mike said some really good things, the most important is pointing people to Jesus. I know feedback from the crowd is used as a gauge for the effectiveness of the plan. Lately, people are being slammed with the effects of the hurricane, an intense election cycle, the economy. People may be coming to church kinda worn out and numb, especially if they're also dealing with personal pain. What I pray for you guys is that you've been open to the Holy Spirit in planning, then you leave the results to Him. People come to church thirsty, hungry, empty in their souls sometimes...they may not have much emotional feedback to give during worship...pray the Holy Spirit meets them through the service.

  9. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Why do we preach and teach people the Word of God? To train so we know how to use it and walk in Gods wisdom. But, do we ever effectively teach people to worship? Do we assume that just because they are there that they understand how to do this? When I got saved and I decided to find a church I had no clue what I was doing, why I was doing it or how to do it. I believe people need to be taught how to worship or at least be given a few options. Do they realize the importance of it. Do they know where the examples of worship are in God's word? It seems like to me that it is just a formality and not a privilege. Sometimes it's a battle to overcome the flesh on a Sunday morning. How many are taught this? Am I right or maybe I'm missing the mark too. Just a few thoughts on my struggles and ponderings.

    Old drummer

  10. Old Drummer,

    Appreciate the insight and miss having you around. I think your thoughts on teaching are insightful and it's something I agree, the church as a whole needs more of. It's easy to come sometimes and expect people just to catch on. Worship pastors especially I think are guilty of going light on scriptural examples of worship and heavy on musical experience. Hopefully we can balance that out a bit.

    Hope to see you soon.

  11. Tim,
    I'm contacting you to invite you to visit my blog - specifically, the "Sunday Setlists" blog carnival that has been growing every week. It's a way for people to share a recap of their worship experiences and network - from the vantage point of the worship leader, pastor, tech, or just a worshiper who attended. It's quite simple to participate, so check it out at:

    I'd be honored to have you visit ... I'd also love for you to checkout our site, - "discussing everything worship".

    For the Kingdom,
    Fred McKinnon