11 Reasons For A Weekly Service Review—And 4 Cautions Once You Start

~By Jeff Lacine

Every Monday night, men from our church gather for a time of structured review of the Sunday service. The majority of our time in the meeting is spent giving feedback on the Sunday morning sermon. However, we also spend some time walking through all the elements of the previous day’s morning and evening services, as well as looking to the following Sunday’s services.

Many of the men involved consider Monday night a highlight in their week—a time when they’re able to press further into God’s Word in a collegial setting. Personally, I’ve found these service reviews to be one of the most effective tools in ministry for mentoring men and growing as a preacher.


Below I’ve listed 11 reasons why you should consider starting a weekly service review at your church, and four cautions to keep in mind if you do.


Read more: https://www.9marks.org/article/11-reasons-for-a-weekly-service-review-and-4-cautions-once-you-start/

3 Reasons Why Every Christian Needs the Church


The Worst Consequence of Skipping Church

~ Tim Challies

We are a culture of convenience, of personalization, of individualism. We have a million ways of customizing our lives to perfectly suit our every preference. When things are difficult, we think little of pulling away from responsibilities, of reorienting our lives away from whatever causes inconvenience. This can even extend to something as good and as central as our commitment to the local church.

All of us who are involved in local churches have seen people waver and wander in their commitment. Most of us have had to extend the call to someone, to urge them back to participation, back to the worship services. When we do this, we often turn to our go-to text, Hebrews 10:24-25, to warn of the danger of “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…” We insist that those who neglect to participate in the local church will encounter spiritual temptation, spiritual decline, and even spiritual death. And while all of this is true, it is not the emphasis of that passage. In fact, when we use the passage in this way, we are not displaying the divine urgency behind the text, but our own deep-rooted individualism.

Here is what Hebrews 10:24-25 says: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This passage does, indeed, warn of the serious consequences of skipping church, but its focus is not what we might expect through our Western, individualized eyes. This passage does not warn us that when we skip church we put ourselves at risk. Rather, it warns us that when we skip church we put other people at risk. The first sin of skipping church is the sin of failing to love others.

Gathering with God’s people is not first about being blessed but about being a blessing. It’s not first about getting but about giving. As we prepare to worship on Sunday morning, our first consideration should be “how to stir up one another to love and good works.” We should approach Sunday deliberately, eager to do good to others, to be a blessing to them. In those times we feel our zeal waning, when we feel the temptation to skip out on a Sunday or withdraw altogether, we should consider our God-given responsibility to encourage “one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This text is not about us, but about them. This text is not for Christian individuals but Christian communities.

And, of course, our commitment to the local church is far more than a commitment to Sunday morning services. It is a commitment to other people through all of life. It is a commitment to worship with them once or twice a week, then to fellowship with them, to serve them, and to pray for them all throughout the week. It is to bind ourselves together in a covenant in which we promise to do good to them, to make them the special object of our attention and encouragement. It is to promise that we will identify and deploy our spiritual gifts for their benefit so we can serve them, strengthen them, and bless them.

Every Christian has a place within a local church. Every Christian is needed within a local church. Every Christian has responsibilities within a local church. Every Christian is to commit to the members of a local church and to love them, to encourage them, and to stir them up in zeal until the day of Christ’s return.

The church the world loves best . . .

The church

Message: “Ecclesia: The People of God’s Church” (1 Corinthians 12:1-14, 24-31; 1 Tim. 3:14-16)


The Church’s Exceedingly Glorious Message


You Can’t Love Christ and Despise His Bride

~ Viola

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this, “I love Jesus, but I can’t stand the church.”

To my utter amazement, a handful of people who tout this phrase have benightedly assumed that I support this sentiment. Since I’m globally known as one of the strongest champions of the ekklesia – even making it central to God’s Eternal Purpose – I can only assume that those who’ve mistakenly connected me with this sentiment have never read my work.

Either that, or they read bits and pieces of my 9-year old book with George Barna, Pagan Christianity, and missed the entire point nor ever read the constructive sequels.

So I hope this short piece clears the fog around this matter.

Let me state it bluntly: It’s simply impossible to love Jesus Christ and hate His bride—the ekklesia.

But that statement needs to be nuanced. Consider the following points:

Point 1: It’s a profound mistake to assume that the term “church” as it’s used today and “the ekklesia” is always the same thing. Jesus Christ died for the ekklesia. The ekklesia is His bride, His body, His house, and His family. But the ekklesia isn’t a building. Nor is it a worship service that people attend two hours on Sunday. Neither is it a human-made organization.

According to the New Testament, the ekklesia is the collective people of God, the community of the king, and the beloved bride of our Lord. And Jesus Christ is fully united with her. Therefore, you can’t love Him and hate her. (Those of you who have read From Eternity to Here, Magnificent Obsession, and Reimagining Church are clear on all this. So this isn’t news. But it’s monumentally difficult for some Christians to grasp.)

Read more: http://frankviola.org/2017/04/12/lovechrist/