How Do You Evaluate Your Sunday Gathering?

Every week church leaders plan their Sunday gathering. How do we measure whether or not those meetings have been effective? More importantly, how do we know if they’ve been pleasing to the Lord? Join Bob, David, and Devon as they talk about various standards we can use to determine if our meetings are being faithful to fulfill God’s desires for us when we gather.

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Bob Kauflin: What we’re trying to do is making sure when you set your ladder up, that it’s set up against the right wall.

Devon Kauflin: That’s good.

BK: Because we can evaluate a lot of things and be doing really well in a lot of areas and be missing God’s purposes for what we’re doing.

David Zimmer: Welcome to Sound Plus Doctrine, the podcast of Sovereign Grace Music where we explore what the Bible has to say about music and worship in the church and encourage those who plan, lead, and participate in their Sunday gatherings each week.

DZ: Hello and welcome to season seven of the Sound Plus Doctrine podcast. My name is David Zimmer.

BK: Season seven?

DZ: Yeah.

BK: I’m so excited. My name’s Bob Kauflin.

DZ: And we have Devon Kauflin.

DK: I’m here.

DZ: The start of this new season.

DK: I’m here, but where am I?


DZ: True.

BK: Well, if you’re not watching on YouTube, you don’t know where we are.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: We’re just…

DZ: We could be anywhere.

BK: Faceless voices.


BK: But where are we, David?

DZ: We are in our brand new studio.

BK: It’s amazing.

DZ: If you listen on Spotify or Apple Music, you should… You should watch it on YouTube.

BK: Yeah. At least the first like…

DK: Thirty seconds.

BK: Thirty seconds. Exactly.

DZ: Yes.

DK: You’ll get the idea.

BK: Yes. Made possible through the donations and prayers and support of many of you who are listening to this. We thank you. Thank you. It’s been amazing. We’ve already recorded a live album here.

DZ: Yep.

BK: Based on “Knowing God.” And we’ll be telling you more about that. That’s some future episode maybe.

DZ: Yep.

BK: But we’re happy to be here.

DZ: We are very happy to be here.

BK: What are we talking about today?

DZ: We are asking the question, “how do we evaluate our worship service?” We figure we are at the start of a new year and the start of a new podcast. This should a be great subject to talk about.

BK: Yes what a great idea. Who thought this up? This is amazing.

DZ: We all did.

BK: It’s amazing. Yeah. Do we evaluate? Should we evaluate? Maybe we should start there. Should we evaluate our worship service? Devon?

DK: That’s a good question.

BK: Thank you.

DK: In, the sense of how can we do what we’re doing better? That’s a great, it’s a great question. And, but that question should always be asked in the context of knowing, what are we trying to do?

BK: Yes.

DK: Because you could answer that question in all kinds of ways as far as the evaluation can happen in all kinds of ways, and what… Yeah. As I think about it and in my experience historically, it’s there are all kinds of questions. You have people saying, oh, that was a great time.

BK: Yes.

DK: And what do they mean by that?

DZ: Yeah.

DK: And, am I evaluating based on hands raised or decibel level of the voices?

BK: Absolutely.

DK: Or, any number of things.

BK: Well and I think there are two ways with looking at this. One would be the conversations we have just as people who are part of the church, around the table at lunch after the meeting.

DK: Yeah.

BK: Hey, was it a good service? That’s one way we evaluate it. And we do that often without really thinking what, does God think it’s a good service? Or is it just what I think and what we think? But then the other is for leaders. And we, we do this podcast very intentionally for leaders asking, how do we even know if that was a good service or not? And that’s the question we want to address, speaking to both sides of it. I guess.

DK: Yeah. And as we begin to ask that question, there’s a danger. And the danger is that we’re thrown back on ourselves and we become overly introspective and centered on what we are doing, and there’s really a tragic misstep that happens when that’s the case because corporate worship, the worship service becomes about us and centered on us. When that’s not what we’re gathered to do. We’re gathered to look to Jesus Christ.

BK: Yes.

DK: To glorify God, to build up the body. And, in our, let’s say evaluation, we’ve got to begin by first recognizing what God has purposed to do already and is doing. That’s not dependent on our “performance”.

BK: Yeah. There’s a tension there, isn’t there? Because we’ve talked a lot, I think on this podcast and in other places, how we gather to receive from God, we don’t initiate worship. God initiates. It’s all based on what Jesus Christ has done for us. And what he’s doing in us and through us. What can we add to that? Nothing.


BK: We add our sin and, God brings us, Jesus in his righteousness and his substitutionary sacrifice, and that’s what we’re there to celebrate and glory in. Yeah. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t ask, could we do this better?

DZ: Right.

DK: Yeah.

BK: Could we be doing this better? But the point you’re making is so necessary because if as leaders we’re gathering around and saying, what can we do to make this the best meeting possible, church, like you’ve never experienced it before. Worship like it’s never been done in history. And those kind of thoughts. And those have been genuine thoughts of people. They lead us down the wrong path. And so that causes us to concentrate on things like, was the musicianship good enough? Were… Was the video projection sharp and clear? And did we have the right videos? And how were the segues and, those kind of things that are important to look at, but not necessarily the primary way we’re to evaluate a our meetings. Right.

DZ: And there, there could also be a subtle pride in not evaluating your meeting at all.

BK: Absolutely. [laughter]

DZ: Just saying, this is how we… You always do it, and we’re not really gonna change it. It seems to be working well.

BK: Don’t try to add to what Jesus has already done.


DZ: Right.

BK: I really appreciate this, quote from Alan Ross. It’s from “Recalling the Hope of Glory,” which is a study of the theology of worship in the Old Testament. And then at the end he just says, what can we learn from this? And he says this, there is no reason for individual churches to change everything they have been doing, but there is every reason for all congregations to evaluate everything they’re doing.


BK: To see how they can do it better.

DZ: Yeah. Good.

BK: Just thought. Yeah. That’s good. It’s not extra spiritual, super-spiritual to never think about what you’re doing. And we can do that when we follow a formatted liturgy that it’s there. We’ve been doing it for centuries or for a few years or for a few weeks and think, well, we’ve been doing it this way. Yeah. So it’s good.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: It’s fine. That’s not great. Neither is it great to say, as one pastor said you know, “we just wanna surprise people every week with, we just don’t want them to know what’s happening, what’s coming”. That’s not super-spiritual either because there is a value in doing things consistently, doing things repeatedly. That’s what a liturgy is. Part of it is, to form ways of doing things that enable you to focus on the right things.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: So there’s that tension and what we wanna focus on here is what are the most important things? It is important that the guitar is in tune. It is important that, you know…

DK: It’s important, but not most important.

BK: Not most important.

DK: And I mean, I think any, when you’re talking about evaluation of anything, there’s some standard that you’re reviewing, measuring things by.

BK: Measuring them against.

DZ: Oh, totally.

DK: And, but there’s also within that, there are various standards, various priorities. And I think, as we evaluate, as we consider, as we look back on, all right, what are we doing and how do we do, it’s so important to know what’s most important and what’s less important. And I think I’ve seen, and I’ve had conversations with people where that evaluation conversation drifts towards those things that are less important.

BK: It always does.

DK: And that’s something we want to guard and always going back to what’s most important. So yes, the guitar should be in tune. Yes, people should sing the melody. I mean, the melody should be clear.

BK: You shouldn’t have 15 seconds of dead space in your service if you weren’t planning on it. Silence is great, can be great, but that’s not ideal to be regularly having times when nobody really knows what’s going on. We’re just kind of wandering around and that’s not ideal. You can serve your people better, but can God still work? He can.

DK: He does.

BK: He does.

DK: Yes.

BK: And in those evaluations, our hearts should be one of gratefulness and awareness that, wow, Jesus came to build his church and he’s building it through people like us. It’s true. No matter how big or how small your church is, that’s what’s happening. God, we came up with some definitions a few years ago of corporate worship. Devon, I’m gonna use yours because I think it’s so helpful. Now, everything we’re doing is evaluated by Scripture. Does God, what does God want for our meetings? That’s what the standards are. The standards by which we measure everything else is this important to God? But you said this, “corporate worship is God’s spirit enabled and word governed gift, initiated by the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.” So that’s all about God’s purposefulness, intentionality, his work, “for his covenant people to gratefully assemble in space and time.” This is from your dissertation, isn’t it?

DK: Yeah.

BK: “To witness to the worth and work of God in Christ by the Spirit through proclamation, prayer, singing in the sacraments as they receive from Christ, act in him, and long for him to come again.” I just love that. It just puts all the emphasis on what God has done and is doing. And our part is to witness to what he’s done, to proclaim it, to make it known, to tell each other, this is what God’s done for us in Christ. And of course, there’s a response to that, but even that response is word governed and spirit enabled. It’s not something that…

DK: And taking place in Christ.

BK: Yes, taking place in Christ. Thank you. It’s all about what God has done for us in Christ through his Spirit and it’s a joy to participate in it.

DZ: Yeah. The other thing I really love about this, Dev, is the gathering in space and time that there’s, you talk a lot about in this moment of history, this is when we are gathering and this is the purpose of our gathering, but it’s nothing new or innovative or brand new that we’re just following a long line of people that have come behind us.

DK: Yes, and joining our voices with theirs.

DZ: Will come after us when we’re not here anymore.

BK: So with those introductory comments, as you’re thinking about your meeting as a group of leaders or just sitting around the table, you’re thinking about the meeting, what things should we be… What kind of questions should we be asking? What kind of things should we be focusing on? I’m gonna throw out one to start with, which is just the music, because that’s where people’s minds always go, how was the music? How was the music? I think when we typically talk about that, we’re asking about how the music was on the platform. Aren’t we? Certainly, if you’re a musician, you’re a worship leader, you’re thinking, how did we do?

DK: What mistakes did we make?

BK: And what train wrecks did we avoid? Which is always a goal.

DZ: Totally.

BK: But I’m not sure… I don’t think that’s the right question, how we did. I think a better question is, was the singing of our congregation strong and engaged and naturally responsive and Christ-exalting? Was it… Because obviously you can have passionate people singing anything, but was it a response to truths of God’s Word as they’re revealed to us in Christ that were natural and that were engaged and that was clear and loud and strong? In other words, was your congregation singing their hearts out because of the truths that they’re singing? That’s a good… I think that’s a good question.

DZ: Yeah, that’s a stronger evaluation than, did we sound phenomenal? Because your band can sound phenomenal and people be very quiet.

BK: Well, absolutely. Sounds so phenomenal that you can’t even hear.

DK: Then for me, that’s why I always go back to that category of how are we doing supporting the singing of the church.

BK: Yes.

DK: And just it’s a different paradigm to be thinking about what we’re doing musically. Because we just drift towards performance and we drift towards a focus on, all right, am I executing? Am I doing my part? Am I taking care of my responsibility? Whatever it is. And we drift towards that, but that’s not what we’re there to do. We’re there to participate with the people of God as we sing praise to God as we glorify God and as we encourage one another and exhort, the body of Christ. And so it’s, I mean, the question then in evaluation is did we do that? Did we support the singing of our church? And that’s gonna be expressed in hearts and minds that are engaged and responding to the truth that’s being proclaimed.

DZ: Yes.

BK: It’s kind of linking what we do with the effect. You’re looking at the effect. So what, what I described was an effect.

DK: Yep.

BK: So when someone says, yeah, the singing in our church isn’t very good. Well, I think, well, that’s not good. There’s probably something you can do in terms of…

DK: But wouldn’t you first ask, I mean, what do you mean by that? Like, what does it mean for the singing not to be very good? And how, and a lot depends on that answer.

BK: Yes.

DK: Uh, ’cause what somebody might think of as not very good might not be a problem.

BK: Describe that for me. I’m not sure I can think of someone saying the singing is not very good and not thinking… That’s probably right.

DK: So somebody could be thinking it doesn’t sound great. Perhaps it’s, culturally for whatever reason. So that could be demographics and age, context, history. There’s all these things that play into it.

BK: Great, I see.

DK: It’s not very loud.

BK: Yes.

DK: But those are, I mean, when we read Scripture those are not the things that God looks for and necessarily cares about. It matters. It doesn’t, it’s not insignificant. But volume or hands raised is not the determining factor in whether singing was good or not.

BK: Yes. I think you got to be careful there because it, there is, a lot of singing in Scripture is loud.

DK: It is. I know. That’s why I was trying to… [laughter]

BK: Yeah. Well, I, but I think it is appropriate to like, who’s there.

DK: Yeah.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: But we shouldn’t say, and you know, I think of, you know, persecuted countries Yeah. Where the church is being persecuted. Singing can’t be loud.

DK: Yeah they’re whispering.

BK: Yeah. But that’s a different model.

DK: But I mean, I think of the parents who are sitting there with their 3 and their 5-year-old.

BK: Yes.

DK: And there’s a level of distraction there.

BK: Yeah.

DK: People might think of it as distraction. I think of it as very much a part of what they’re called to do in that moment. But it’s gonna hinder in a sense, their ability to sing loud at every moment.

BK: Yes.

DZ: Yeah.

DK: But they’re modeling something in the midst of that. And teaching and training and discipling.

BK: Yes.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: But getting back to the singing because I think that’s what we’re focusing on. It’s singing that is, when I think of poor singing, it’s mumbled. It’s not singing at all as a large portion of your church.

DZ: Totally.

BK: It’s, you can’t, you can’t hear it that well. People don’t seem to be engaged. That’s not good.

DK: When it becomes a spectator sport, it’s a big problem.

BK: Well that’s… Yes. And some people aren’t even spectating. They’re just kind of thinking about other things.

DK: Yep. Yeah.

BK: I mean, there are two kinds of not singing. One is just watching the band. This is amazing. But the other kind is just. I’m just here. Just, what time is it?

DK: What am I doing for lunch?

BK: Yeah. I’m having for lunch. That kind of thing. So that is, listen to Ephesians 5:18-20. Do not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit addressing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.
In other words, there is a, an internal reality to this giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s an engaged mind, locked in heart engaged, singing that is appropriate for the people of God. And one of the ways to evaluate your service is to say was that taking place?

DK: Yep.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Was that going on? All right, so that, that’s singing. I took some rabbit trails there, but [laughter] that is, we want the singing to be engaged, naturally responsive to who God is in Jesus Christ. How he’s revealed himself to us.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Here’s another thing clear biblical Christ exalting preaching. 1 Corinthians 2, 1-5, “when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: I think that speaks to two kinds of preaching that we might esteem. You know, one would be, we’d look down on the just faithful preaching of God’s word that isn’t, you know, amazing is, doesn’t have a turn of the phrase, doesn’t have a great outline, but, but it’s faithful preaching. Or we’d look up to, you know, the eloquent the passionate, the great communicator. This, to look to that person as the one who’s really doing a great job is, I don’t think it’s biblical.

DZ: Right.

BK: Because I’ve seen and heard great communicators who aren’t “knowing nothing among us, among us except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” People have to see Christ in the word that’s being presented. It may not look the most impressive, but we have to see seek Christ. So that’s the question to ask.

DK: And I think with this both music and preaching, one of the, challenges we face in this digital age is the awareness of what everyone else is doing.

BK: Oh, absolutely.

DZ: Absolutely.

DK: And that has a, I think, far more significant effect than, we often take into account as we’re evaluating. And so it’s, I mean, whether it be the pastor telling the worship leader, I mean, well, it just didn’t sound that good. But in his mind, he’s thinking of, I mean, whoever the…

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Whatever band he saw on YouTube.

DK: Yeah, whatever’s popular and successful or whatever it is.

BK: Yes, yes.

DK: And the same thing happens with preaching. And so a member of the church is sitting there and like, well, this isn’t like so-and-so that I listen to every week. And so that’s where we need to keep going back to God’s Word, and God’s purposes for our gatherings as he gathers this particular people at this particular place at this particular time to glorify God and be built into Christ as we edify one another.

DZ: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the standard is scripture as we keep coming back to, it’s not what we see around us. And it goes back to the point that you were saying earlier that typically we’re looking towards ourself and our desires and our needs and not of what is God doing in our midst? So I think that’s very helpful to connect both music and the preaching in that way.

BK: And they’re all, as you said, evaluated by what God’s priorities are, not… I think there’s a real tendency in our culture to confuse good communication, great communication with faithful communication. They’re just not always the same thing. ‘Cause we can, I can listen to someone and think, wow, I’m so moved by that. But have they directed me to a greater love for God’s Word, a greater love for Christ, a greater love for the gospel? That’s what I want to happen. That’s what God wants to happen.

BK: He wants to see Jesus Christ exalted in people’s minds and hearts and wills. And if I go away just thinking, man, those were great illustrations. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. Or, oh, I just feel so motivated. By what? I mean, that’s the question. It’s not just did a lot of people come up and say, oh, great sermon today, pastor, great sermon or great music today. What did they see? What did they hear? What… I mean, I know when sitting under the preacher at my church, every Sunday, I am moved by the fact that I wanna know God through his Word better. I know I’ve read that passage before, but I never saw that before.

BK: And I just wanna know God better. And Jeff Purswell, the Dean of our Pastors College has said, God doesn’t give us His Word just for rules, but for a relationship. It’s a means of fellowship. It’s how He relates to us. He speaks to us. So we want people to be drawn to Christ when we preach and when we sing.

DK: Yeah, I think that’s one of the unique things about how God purposes to build his church and proclaim his message. He chose preaching. And I mean, it’s this act of witnessing or being a herald, being a messenger that’s centered on prior revelation, centered on something that’s already been said, not on gifts of oratory. And that’s what Paul’s getting at in 1 Corinthians 2 there. And it’s not showmanship that God is concerned with. It’s faithfulness to his Word, to presenting Christ and building people into Christ.

BK: Showmanship, and I would add to that hip, casual, relating, how to define it.

DK: Authenticity.

BK: Authenticity, sincerity, genuineness. Yeah, those things where, you know what, come on in, just we’re all together. That’s a good thing to have, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily being faithful. And so when we evaluate it, that can’t be the only standard we use.

DK: Right.

DZ: Absolutely.

DK: Why then, and we strip away. I mean, that can be a really wonderful thing if it’s in the context of the gospel.

BK: Yes.

DK: And so the gospel is a message that’s for the weak and the suffering and the come as you are. But when that come as you are is divorced from the imperatives of the gospel and the grace that’s in the gospel, and it’s just a no, this is who we are and you can be whoever you want. And it’s robbed of its meaning. One thing I would say, just as far as going back to just that big, what are we evaluating? I think the things that I’d be looking to are, is there, are we clearly spiritual people in the sense that we pray? So we’re very ordinary people, but as we gather together, is prayer a significant part of what we’re gathered to do?

BK: That’s a good question.

DK: I would see singing, I mean, as an expression of prayer, there are some prayers of God’s people, but really are we coming to God in prayer? And so when, because prayer in the world’s eyes, prayer is bizarre. I mean, when you just step back and think about it, and wait until you’re in trouble.

DK: Saying, yeah, until you’re in trouble. But just saying things, hoping for something to happen in the world’s eyes. But for the Christian, a prayer is this opportunity to come to God in Christ and make our requests known and to give praise to God and to receive from God, even as we pray God’s word. And it’s just this, it’s incredible. It’s something supernatural happening in this very ordinary thing.

BK: It’s a gift.

DK: And so if anybody was to attend on a Sunday, whether they’d be a regular attender, a member of the church, or if it’s just a one-time visitor, would they come away knowing that we are a praying people and just always entirely dependent upon God as we come together? So prayer, and then the other one would just be Word. Is the Word present?

BK: Yeah.

DK: And present beyond just the preaching of God’s Word. Is the Word the language that we use? It’s almost like Word is the language that we use, our vocabulary, our vernacular, as we come together, and prayer is the way that’s expressed. And that should, there shouldn’t be any doubt that those are the things that we’re about as we gather. And yeah, so as we evaluate, it’s like just at the bottom. Are those things happening? Is that clear?

BK: Yeah, we’re talking about different things. One is the things we actually are doing, and then the other is the effect. So you’re getting to even a more basic question is, are we doing what God has told us to do.

DK: Are we doing the right things?

BK: Yeah. Because I think the question we’re attempting to ask is, we can be doing some of the right things, but they’re not having any effect. So I’m preaching the Bible, I’m praying, I’m doing this, I’m doing the Lord’s Supper. But people don’t seem to be engaged. Well, maybe there’s something that you could be doing differently in the way you’re doing those things.

DK: Yep.

BK: So, which is always a good question to ask.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Here’s a third one, community building, which I don’t know how even how to say that, but, think of Ephesians 4:15-16.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: “Rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ from whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with, which it is equipped when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

DZ: Yes.

BK: One of the reasons we gather is so that the body, the church body might become stronger. So if we see our meetings simply as a bunch of attenders, a bunch of people, random people coming together, we wanna see each one of them strengthened, but not being built together, we are not pursuing the priorities that God is pursuing. Which is, he wants to build us into each other primarily by building us into Christ.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Any thoughts on that.

DZ: Yeah. And when you have that, you have the benefit of the gifts being put on display, the one anothers that are happening, it’s not just that I come into this place independent from everybody else, it’s just my experience and I receive.

BK: Yes. Me and Jesus.

DZ: And I leave. It is how is God using me in the context of this greater group?

BK: Yes.

DZ: How are my gifts encouraging and blessing and benefiting to the whole? But again, I think we keep coming back to this, we don’t have that perspective. Typically we have such a individualistic perspective.

BK: Yeah.

DZ: That we’re just trying to reorient our thoughts to the fact that this is a community that God is doing a work through.

BK: Yes.

DK: What would you say to the person who’s listening to this, and every week they have a staff meeting and they evaluate, but part of that staff meeting is evaluating the gathering. And, most as they’re listening to this, they’re thinking about all the questions they’re normally asking, and it’s, how’d the songs go.

BK: Yeah.

DK: Did people seem engaged? They’re not bad questions to ask. How did that new song go? Or how did that person lead through whatever that announcement?

DZ: Yeah.

DK: Or that aspect of the service. And they’re maybe listening to this and thinking you’re missing the point. You’re not really talking about what I wanna talk about. [laughter] What would you say to them?

BK: Well, you just need to listen to another podcast, I guess. There are all kinds of podcasts like that. What we’re trying to do is making sure when you set your ladder up, that it’s set up against the right wall.

DK: That’s good.

BK: Because we can evaluate a lot of things and be doing really well in a lot of areas and be missing God’s purposes for what we’re doing. And when I think of this area, building the body of Christ together. Sometimes we do things that oppose that, that are contrary to that. So as an example, having two meetings in your church designed for musical preferences. That is not building your community together. Your traditional service, your contemporary service. It’s not a sin, but it is unwise. And it does go against what Jesus came to do, which is make us one.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And if we can’t sing in the same room together, that’s a problem. That’s not saying very much about the unity that Christ has bought with his own blood for us.

DK: And it flies in the face of, who we now are in Christ.

BK: Yes.

DK: I have been crucified with Christ. What does that mean?

BK: Yeah.

DK: Paul Says it means it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

BK: Yes.

DK: And when we make our preferences and our performance the thing, we’re undermining that reality and that identity.

BK: So as I’m evaluating the meeting, I wanna be asking, are our people being built into Christ? And are they being built into each other? Do I see people loving to get together? I remember the church I grew up in, people would come [laughter] and then they’d leave. It’s like, I’m coming for my, I’m doing my thing.

DZ: Yep.

BK: And then I’m leaving. And a lot of churches are like that. We don’t want people to be like that.

DK: It was not churches that are like that as much as it’s our culture is like that.

BK: For sure.

DK: We’re a culture of consumers.

BK: Yes. For sure.

DK: And it’s I’m here in a sense to get a service.

BK: Yeah. Serve me, it’s called a service, right?

DK: A service is being provided. Yeah.

BK: Serve me. [laughter] That’s what it’s called.

DK: So I’m going to get my oil changed to my car this week, and I’ve got different options, and I’m going to go to this place. I’m going to go and I’m going to get it done, and I’m going to go home.

BK: Yes.

DK: And I need to do something spiritual this week. And I’ve got this church that I go to, and the pastor doesn’t annoy me, and he’s a nice guy, and I’m going to go and I’m going to get what I need and then I’m going to go home. But that’s not what God’s about.

BK: Yeah. It’s almost like you’re not building a community, although that might be happening. It’s more like you’re building a brand. Or you’re building, I don’t know what you call it. But community is where the most vital part of what’s taking place in that meeting is what’s going on between the members.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And how you’re fostering that and how you’re encouraging that.

DK: Well I think we forget just how fundamental it is to who we are as those in Christ.

BK: Yes.

DK: And we’ve talked about the body of Christ and so being built into Christ, being built into one another and how the New Testament talks about that and the images it uses to talk about that, those things are synonymous.

BK: Yes.

DK: To be built into one another is to be built in Christ because we are the body and what is Christ? Christ is the head.

BK: Yes, we’re the body.

DK: And the head is not detached, it’s not decapitated, it’s a part of the body.

BK: Yeah.

DZ: Right. That’s good.

DK: And the same thing. We’re the vine, or Jesus is the vine. We’re the branches.

BK: Yes.

DK: And they’re connected. That’s who we are. So we’re being, built into Christ is to be built into one another. That’s what should be happening. That’s what we should be centered on.

BK: All right. One last thing ’cause we’re just having fun talking about this.

DK: Yeah.

BK: And these are just things that came to mind. Just the spiritual gifts gladly in operation, and I mean all the spiritual gifts. 1st Peter, 4 says, as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever speaks is one who speaks oracles of God. Whoever serves is one who serves by the strength that God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. And when I said all the gifts, I’m not thinking, yeah, you better have prophecies and tongues in your church. I’m thinking all the gifts like mercy, administration.

DK: Love and patience and kindness.

BK: Leadership. Well, it’s none of those. [laughter]

DK: Those should, fruits of the Spirit.

BK: Those are the fruits. Yeah. Fruits of the Spirit. Those should be there. But it’s just that the unspectacular things that we.

DZ: Yes.

BK: Often forget are acts of the Spirit of God. Yeah. Generosity, giving in faith is a gift from God. Leadership is a gift from God.

DZ: Yes.

BK: So are, are those gifts being exercised gladly. You know, we’ll often say, or churches will often say well, we need this. We need someone to do this. We need someone to do this. Jesus said, the greatest among you will be the one who serves. So what you’re really saying is, hey, if anybody wants to be great, there’s this opportunity to do that. We need more people for children’s ministry.

DZ: Right.

BK: We need more people for, to clean up whatever those are opportunities to allow the Spirit of God, to make us more like Jesus. So maybe we should be thinking more and building a culture of what a privilege that we get to serve in this church. That we get to maybe set up and take down that maybe we get to greet people that may, whatever it is that we get to do, that’s a privilege. And we’re to do it with zeal and we’re to do it with gladness. We’re to do it with the strength that God supplies. That’s a sign that your service is going well.

DK: And I really like that you use the word gladly there. And I think it gets to another means by which we should be evaluating our gatherings. And are they marked by joy?

BK: Yes, absolutely.

DK: And that doesn’t mean that it’s a slap a smile on your face and just be giddy. Joy. I like what John Piper says, where it’s as Christians we are people with a solid joy.

DZ: Yeah. Serious joy.

DK: Serious joy. It’s a joy that runs deep. Yeah. And, is a joy that we have in the midst of sorrow, in the midst of grief, in the midst of lament. But we should be a, we are a joyful people. We have a joy that can’t be defeated.

BK: Amen.

DK: In Jesus Christ. And it’s rooted in what he’s done and what he has promised to do. We know where all things are headed, where the future is headed. And so as we gather, do we believe that? And can we, I mean, we should be able to feel that.

BK: Yeah.

DK: We should experience that week after week. And so was that present?

BK: Amen. Good question to ask. Well, I think that’s where we should wrap it up.

DZ: Yes.

BK: Maybe. Hope this has been helpful. It’s just so, it’s so important that we recognize God’s with us every week.

DK: Yep.

BK: Jesus is building his church. Our little, our errors, our miscalculations, our mistakes, our fumbles. They aren’t going to hinder God’s work. They’re not going to keep him from working in our midst. Mm-hmm.

DZ: Yes. Praise the Lord.

BK: But we can all… Amen. But we can always be asking how can we make it better? But we wanna make sure that we’re asking that for the right reasons, and pursuing that in the right ways. So.

DK: And knowing that, our efforts don’t add anything.

BK: That’s right, to what Jesus has done.

DK: In a sense. So doing it better doesn’t add anything to what Jesus has done. Doesn’t add anything to the hope that we have. And what God has purposed to do as we gather. If you have, if as you’ve listened to this, if you have questions, send them in. I don’t know where they send them. They send them somewhere.

DZ: Yes.

BK: Questions@soundplusdoc…

DZ: Sound Plus Doctrine.

BK: No questions.

DK: This is great.

BK: This is terrible. Bekah, where do they send them?


BK: Soundplusdoctrine, spell out the plus,

DZ: We are so thankful that we have help on.

BK: Amen. Thank you Bekah. All right, well we look forward to next time. Yes. I hope you’ll join us.

DZ: Thanks for listening.