“Setting the Stage” Part 1

The following first appeared in Let’s Worship a publication of LifeWay Church Resources.


“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” Acts 2:42

“Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the earth.” Matthew 28:19-20

Being and doing church can all be summarized in these two scriptures.

Now that you have jumped into this article and read the first few lines you are probably asking yourself; ‘what do these scriptures have to do with worship staging?’

It’s about church…about the great commission, about the public gathering and everything the worship planners and facilitators do must support both the Acts and Matthew passages. That’s why we have decided to invest in a great sound system, an effective light system, a clear and easily seen projection system that is why we decide to change the look of our stage regularly…to help make clear the message of the gospel and encourage others to engage in worship.

Changing Church Architecture

In past centuries and generations architecture was used to focus the attention of the worshiper on biblical symbols of worship: the Word, the Table and the Cross. The Table was central, the Cross prominently displayed and the outline of a cross was even used as the layout for the building itself. Those leading worship, other than when serving communion, were given places away from center stage.

There has been an evolution of worship architecture through the generations where focus is given to the center of the platform finding there the choir, and central pulpit. What led to this change was born in the revival movement of the early 1800s where God used ordained men to proclaim the truths of His Word. It is not that the men were the central focus but they were placed in the center of the stage out of necessity so that all in the room would have equal opportunity to hear.

As places of worship continued to evolve we begin to see the influence of theater. It is through this process of worship center evolutions that technology and theatrical devices were used to make sure the messenger was seen and heard.

The reality of today’s church architecture is Continue Reading…


As I was reading through Philippians 4:6-7 I was reminded of this lyric that I wrote a few years ago with a friend, Terry Welborn.


You give me peace

when i let go

and let Youyosemite valley

take control of my life

You give me life

abundant life

full of grace and mercy

You gave all to me

in Your final hour

i surrender to

Your cleansing pow’r

humbly here i stand

willing to let go

so i can know Your peace.

© 2000 Backscratcher Music; Gramily Music Publishing; Smith, Michael H.

A Worship Leader’s Wish List

If you had a wish list about the worship services you attend, what would be included?

As someone who has led worship for over 30 years here are some of my wishes.

  • prayer for the worship services happens all week
  • worship participation from the congregation and those on stage is an obvious overflow of daily worship
  • worship team members arrive early for rehearsal and are prepared
  • seats will be filled 5 minutes before the service beginning.
  • you can tell by the look on their face that they are anticipating meeting God, they are already engaging with God
  • when the first song starts people automatically rise to their feet and sing…
  • when it is a song of adoration…they are singing to God and no one else
  • when it is a song of testimony…they are singing with passion so all those around believe their words.
  • when the Word of God is read there is a hushed silence of reverence
  • when the sermon is delivered everyone’s bibles or bible apps are opened and ready to take notes
  • the encouragement of corporate worship helps empower the worshipers’ week

As a church attender/member what would you add to the list?
As a staff member/worship leader what would add to the list?
As a worship team member what would you add to the list?

GPS vs. Map or GPS and Map

It happened again…we were on vacation and needed a map not just a GPS device.

As we were headed home I heard on the radio there was an accident ahead and the road was closed down. That’s when we needed a map so that we could get the big picture and determine an alternate route. With no map in the car we stopped and purchased one.

My daughter tweeted: “We just stopped at a gas station in Georgia to buy la paper may…because of traffic. Who even does that any more?” #stoneage #homwardbound

I think you need both, map and GPS. I don’t won’t to take a trip again without both.

The principle of Map and GPS can be applied to other areas. The following is a post I wrote about leading a team with both a GPS and Map mindset.


Amid GPS boom, paper maps find a place.

That was the title of an article in our local paper.

Tomorrow starts my vacation and the reality is I want both, map and GPS in the car with me. I know the destination and the map gives me a big picture view of where I am headed. The GPS a more focused view looking at the next leg of the journey.

I think the same applies when leading a team at work or a project. We need to know the goal, see the big picture and have a plan for the next steps. Map = big picture = goal and strategy. GPS = action items list and the clear indication of the next step.

This seems to be a topic I think about while I enjoy vacation. I wrote a another post on the subject here.

So are you a GPS or Map person or leader? Or do you need both?


Two Coaches, Two Good Coaches

Coaching ClipboardI never thought I would say this but, “I like to run.” A big part of the enjoyment is setting and meeting goals. (It also allows me to be competitive, with myself and others.)

During the last two years I have been able to work with a couple of coaches, who have helped me, improve performance and meet goals. They are both great coaches. 

Here are some observations about these coaches that I see can apply to sports or business, leading a team or an individual.

A good coach:

  • helps a team or individual set a goal
  • develops a training plan
  • works with the individual or team to adapt the training plan
  • reminds often of the goal and how the training plan will help meet the goal
  • holds them accountable for the training and improvement
  • offers encouragement throughout the training
  • gives constructive criticism so the training can be productive and efficient
  • when it is time to execute for the goal, reinforces, reminds about training, progressive steps that got you to this point
  • gives last minute instructions and encourages a push to the goal, based on the training

Observing these coaches has reminded me how to a better coach for my team as we set and meet goals and objectives together.

Thanks David and Christi Beth for being great coaching examples.

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