10 Encouraging Scriptures for Pastors & Leaders

10 Encouraging Scriptures for Pastors & Leaders

Leading is a full time job. It involves so many layers including encouraging others. Here are 10 scriptures for you to encourage yourself with. We can only pour out to the measure that we ourselves are filled with. You can’t pour out anything from an empty cup. Here are 10 of my favorite scriptures for those in leadership whether it’s in business or in ministry. I pray that you are blessed by these.

  1. 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
  2. Galatians 6:9 : “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  3. Philippians 4:13 : “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
  4.  Psalm 37:5 : “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
  5. Romans 12:12 : “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
  6. Matthew 9:23 : “And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
  7. Jeremiah 17:17 : “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”
  8. Hebrews 10:36 : “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”
  9. Colossians 1:11 : “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”
  10. Hebrews 12:1-3 : “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

 

Which scripture is your favorite? Share any additional scriptures that you love to hear as it pertains to leadership!

7 Keys for Sharing the Gospel on Social Media

7 Keys for Sharing the Gospel on Social Media

According to Social Media Today, there are over 2 billion active users on social media and the user base has increased by 176 million since last year. The harvest is enormous in terms of souls that can be won and encouraged by the word of God. However, we must be strategic and purposeful. Online platforms, if not used with a purpose, will be used for another man’s purpose that won’t promote the light of God. Here are some of the major platforms right now in the social media space.

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. SnapChat
  5. Pinterest
  6. YouTube
  7. Periscope

Now before we jump into the 7 keys, I need to clear the air. I am not saying that you turn your social media account into a 24/7 Bible Marathon. However, what I’m suggesting is that you use your outlets to encourage and inspire a broken world. Many people claim, “Social media isn’t real life.” However, due to social media, people have been bullied and have committed suicide due to this world that we claim is “not real.” Employees are now even fired over things that they post to their social media accounts. For us to think that whatever we post on social media is separate from who we are is almost naive. People are looking and it’s time we give them something to see that will change their world.

Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  (ESV)

Over the centuries, the limitations to the gospel of Jesus Christ being spread have been depleted the more technology increases. We have the opportunity to share Jesus without even having to move. Your cell phone, computer, and tablet provide you with access to talk about your faith. Let’s jump into our 7 Keys to Spread the Gospel on Social Media!

1. DON’T HAVE A CONFLICTING SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

God desires for us to live a life where our message of the Gospel isn’t being compromised or degraded due to our own thoughts and actions. For instance, on Facebook you’re extremely vocal of your faith but on Instagram, no mention of God. We’re not saying that mentioning God makes you a Christian. However, not mentioning Him would make me question if you believe in evangelism and other people knowing Him. Don’t allow one profile to present you in one light and another platform present you in another. If you are who you say you are, your message should be consistent.

2. YOU DON’T HAVE TO ACT LIKE LIFE IS PERFECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Transparency is one of the greatest tools for spreading the gospel. When it comes to social media evangelism, as I call it, remember that humans connect to humans. So share how people can overcome tests and trials in their lives. I remember posting on my Instagram about how I used to struggle with the idea of being successful to people and not God. I shared on how God didn’t value me, on how successful I was in the world.

He valued me because He loved me for me. It was a very transparent moment and I knew that by sharing what I was facing it would help others come to that realization. I also did a Periscope about this same topic and people told me how much it blessed them. Sharing your testimony and what you’ve been through not only touches those who are not saved but it also encourages those that are in relationship with Jesus Christ.

3. UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF EACH PLATFORM

Each social media platform was created with a purpose in mind. Facebook has the greatest diversity of content. Everything else is simply a breakdown of individual or duo mediums. Pinterest has graphics. Twitter’s medium is text. Periscope & YouTube’s content focuses on videos. Instagram has SnapChat has photos and videos. Figure out what platforms you like the best.

For myself, I like Twitter to share my short thoughts of encouragement. I use Instagram to share pictures of my life, faith, and encouraging quotes about my faith in God. I use Facebook to connect with people personally and to share encouraging messages that are longer in length. I also have just started using YouTube to share encouraging videos every Saturday via my channel. Do you have to use all of these platforms? Not at all! However, if you’re going to be on social media, you might as well share your faith!

4. SHARE YOUR PERSONAL REVELATION

As much as I love to see people’s pages filled with quotes and inspiration from other people, I love to see what they believe personally. I challenged myself this year to share the revelations and wisdom that God was giving me personally to the world. Sometimes our wisdom isn’t really ours. It’s just what we’ve heard other people.

What do you personally believe about God’s love? How about faith? How does the Word of God encourage you when you’re going through? I challenge you to use these short prompt questions as a foundation for the next tweet or post that you share. I post quotes 3-5 on my Instagram and Facebook Page with things that God lays on my heart to share. Sometimes I don’t think that it will help others but God will use your words to touch other’s lives!

5. YOU DON’T HAVE TO POST SCRIPTURES 24/7 TO PROVE YOUR FAITH. MAKE YOUR PROFILE DIVERSE

This is a huge issue because some people think that Christians don’t live normal lives. On my social media profiles, people get to see that I’m a human being just like them with all sorts of things going on in my life. Now, I don’t put my entire life on display because you must have discernment. However, by looking at my social media profile, you will see that I enjoy life, food, old movies, and I love Jesus. Also, the topics that I discuss on my social media profiles range from being a single woman to the Holy Spirit and prayer. So enjoy taking your selfies and sharing your favorite drink from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.

6. IF YOU’RE REALLY INTO SOCIAL MEDIA, TAP INTO IT’S GROWING POTENTIAL FOR THE GOSPEL

As a creative director that has worked with social media teams and experts for events, churches, and brands, the social media space is growing rapidly. From pastors doing behind-the-scenes talks to everyday people sharing their faith, my Periscope has become an encouragement platform. With new platforms like Blab, the opportunity for online streaming bible studies with no external software needed is awesome. Social Media has helped grow online-based ministries and cultivate the impact even here at Unashamed Impact. It has really leveled the playing field for who can share the gospel.

You don’t need a large budget. All you need is access to the Internet and an email address to open up an account on social media. Some of you have a personal call to certain things such as empowering singles, married couples, those who battle with addiction, or maybe it’s to uplift by doing certain missions trips, etc. Whatever you’ve been called to do, know that social media can help get the word out! Word of Mouth is now not just physical but also through the web. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a cause, item, or brand on social media and I’ve tagged a friend underneath the post or shared it on my timeline. Know your vision

7. UNLOCK THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

For those of you who are focused on expanding your reach of the gospel on social media, here are some resources. I encourage social media lovers to check out SocialMediaExaminer.com. It is a resource rich platform that shares the latest in social media. From new updates to changes, it will keep you current on what’s happening in this arena. Has God laid something on your heart to share on social media but you don’t have the time to be on as much? Use scheduler apps like Buffer (free) to pre-schedule your posts for Facebook and Twitter.

Buffer will post for you so you can spread the gospel without the social media aspect burdening you. For Instagram, I encourage people with only one account to use TakeOff or Latergramme. If you are looking to share the gospel on a larger scale, check out apps like Schedugram, Hootsuite Pro, or Autogrammer. These software programs have helped ministries and people spread the gospel on a larger scale without it consuming or taking them away from the actual aspect of evangelizing. You never want the task of scheduling to ruin the actual mission, which is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The fact is that social media is making how people connect to God’s word transformative. Social Networks like GroupMe have become places for people to hold chat based bible studies. I’ve used YouTube along with Google Hangouts to stream Online Bible Studies. There really isn’t any limit on what you can do for God so out and spread the gospel!

5 Reasons Why Your Church Should Have A Creative Team

One of the first things I realized when I got my first project with a church for their creative strategy was this: Many churches don’t have a creative team in place. You know the saying “Teamwork makes the dream work”? Well, that’s the truth. I want to provide for you 5 reasons why you as a pastor, leader, or creative should think about creating a team solely focused on creativity and what that entails.
1. The Pastor is trying to be the creative director, pastor, marketing head, and everything else all in one.

I’ll never forget when my father looked at me and said, “I need your help”. My home church is a small church of about 100 people. We’re in the growth phase but about 3 years ago, my Father pushed me out to be in charge of the creative strategy for the congregation. We have some amazing marketing experts within our church who I work with to help with the graphics, social media, and more. However, what my father recognized was that delegation is the cousin of success. Many pastors are taking on jobs that are not theirs. It’s not that you aren’t great at what you do. It’s the fact that you won’t have time to effectively lead because you are trying to juggle five other titles. Having a creative team is amazing. My father simply lets the creatives in the church what’s coming up and what he envisions. Our job is to make it come to life. Those who serve in the creative field get to cultivate our giftings that we have been assigned to. Your creatives within your church can’t grow if they aren’t actively involved and in position.

2. Your church’s “look” isn’t cohesive.

When there isn’t a solidified common theme in your church’s branding, you have a huge problem. When the flyer from last month looks like it came from a different church due to the flyer for this month, something is not adding up. Churches should have a brand guide. There should be common fonts, colors, and design layouts that your creative team sticks to. Over time, your creative team should flow as one team understanding the voice and the vision of the pastor and the church. When you don’t have a team, it’s hard to get that flow in motion. I’ve also churches allow different ministries within to create their own promotional materials. So for instance, the youth ministry makes their own flyers and promo work and so does the senior citizen ministry. It may work but the question boils down to one thing. Is it effective? Have one team in charge of the entire church’s marketing, social media, branding, web presence, and visual identity. When we have “centers” for each important group, then you won’t have to worry if “so and so” will get the job done. Just bring requests to the team and let the team handle them from there.

3. It helps cut down on costs.

Churches waste so much money on outsourcing projects that their volunteer teams could have handled. Even churches who have full staff, hiring a team of creatives will cost lower in the long run because of the number of projects and designs that need to be handled. Also, it’s more than just a price point. Having someone within the organization who can be the “Creative Pastor” or Director and then work with a team of creatives helps with delegation and responsibility. For my home church, our costs only go to external promotion like billboards, marketing materials, and yearly web hosting fees. That’s it. We do all of our own social media, web design, photography, and other creative jobs from within the church.

4. You will help cultivate the giftings of your in-church creatives.

Serving in my home church helped me realize my calling. It’s a place to serve and cultivate your talents while also winning souls. It’s a form of ministry just like any other position. Every time I work on the website or create graphics, it’s more than just “fun”. I know that everything I do is helping my local church. Many people in church are not as involved as they should be. Find creatives within your church who desire to help. Give them small tasks and then build up from there. Don’t place them where they don’t want to be. People want to feel used and also in a place that fits who they are and their character. Also, listen for whatever issues they bring up. I was training a church staff in Maryland and one volunteer voiced issues with their social media platform. Guess where I planted him? The social media team! He was passionate about it because he wanted to bring a solution to a problem he saw. He wasn’t a social media marketing expert. However, the church that brought me in hired me for training. I trained him and he learned how to be effective in his ideas. He went from being someone with wanting to help to being an agent of change. He also recognized that he had gifts and abilities that he didn’t know was there. That’s the beauty of serving.

5. Creativity is vital to church growth.

I can’t tell you how many pastors I have to convince to establish a creative team at their church. Strategy is essential to a healthy church culture and the growth that comes out of that. Here’s a simple example of how a creative team can help. I recommend pastors breaking up their sermons into series that last 1-2 months MAX. You may be on a certain topic but break up that topic into “series”. Go to your creative team and tell them the name you have for the sermon. If you don’t have a title, give your team a brief synopsis. What the creative team will do for you is come up with the artwork, promotion material, and more to promote that upcoming sermon series. What else does a creative team do? They help operate your social media and they do more than just post random scripture quotes. They will begin to expand the church’s reach via social media and promote the church’s voice and vision to potential visitors. They will build engagement by using strategy. They may not know or have all the tools. However, through proper training, sending them to conferences & workshops, and letting them practice in their giftings, your church will benefit from having a creative team.

I will touch on the structure and job roles that creative teams can look to include in an upcoming post. Until then, stay tuned! Have any questions about this blog post? Comment below & I’ll be sure to respond!

 

To Be Called but Not Committed

I’ll never forget when my mother turned to me in the kitchen and with a very passionate voice said the following words…
“You’ve been called but you’re not committed.”

I could not receive her words. I am a Pastor’s kid who believed that attending my local church and showing up when I felt like it was “commitment”. I felt “offended”. Isn’t that something? I actually took offense to the truth. Even as I grew past that, I believed that even operating in my calling was all that was necessary. I showed up at meetings. I did my work. I thought that was enough. However, I want to share with you 5 lessons I’ve learned since then and I’m still learning as I grow in my calling. This applies to serving in your local church, on a team, or helping in bringing forth a vision as one collective group. This can apply to helping open up a business, a non-profit, or anything that involves a team.

1.  Commitment can not be defined as just “showing up” to do something. I used to think that because I was involved and “present” that I was committed. However, the sign of an effective body is not just being present but effective in their role. What good is a leg if it doesn’t work? I was a leg that was present but MIA in heart and willingness to really understand my role. When I received certain things as the consequence, I could not say that my lack of commitment was not important. When I look at how I’ve worked hard along with the people that I serve to build Girls of Royalty (and we’re just getting started), there is a certain level of commitment that is required to reach certain levels. People may be involved but commitment is seen in more ways than just bein involved. That’s point #2.

2. It’s not just doing it. It’s how you do it. This one really shook me up. Your commitment to what you do also includes you contributing to the growth of that which you’re involved in. This includes ideas, strategies, and fine-tuning your contribution. Growth is key to whatever we put our hands to. Are you contributing to the growth or just present? People love to volunteer but the church, your business, your job doesn’t need more bodies. They need creative minds and active hearts because it’s better to have 2 people who have a passion for getting the job done versus 30 who show up but aren’t active in the growth of what is there.

3. Your attitude is everything. The term “petty” has been used to the extreme this year. It means to be someone who magnifies the little and minimizes the bigger picture. Basically, you harp on the little things that don’t even matter. I’ve learned this one big time. My attitude towards what I do will affect how I do it. Your attitude is seen through your actions.

4. God will either use you or somebody elseI’ll never forget when I got into an argument about a creative plan for our church. He told me very clearly- “If you don’t want to do it, I’ll find someone else who does”. I replied back to him that he wouldn’t find someone who could do it like me. My father responded so fast that I did not have time to catch my breath. He basically told me in short that God is looking for people who will get the job done. It was plain and simple as that. Would I involve myself in getting the job done and getting it done well? I believe that our pride hinders us from being truthful to ourselves and those that we love. Never allow your pride to block the fact that even though God uses us as his vessels, He can use anybody He desires. If we don’t respond to the call of commitment, He will find somebody to take our place.

5. Unplug + Plug into What You Can Do. Find a place where you can be productive and committed. Sometimes that requires you changing what you do within the team. Other times, it just includes being truthful about where we stand in our commitment and finding a solution that fits. Maybe your heart is no longer attached to a certain place of serving or volunteering. Admit it and do what will work best for the team. The issue arises when we say that we are committed but our actions don’t line up with our words. I’ve learned to only commit to what I know I can do and go hard in the growth of that effort. That can be hard because you have to quit some things that you thought you loved. However, I’ve quit things so that I can be even more productive in doing what I know I can do best. Think about what you’re gifted in and where you can contribute the most. Sometimes you are the void filler where you just are helping fill in the gap. You may not be the best volunteer in a certain area but having passion and showing up to get the job done beats any skill or talent. I’ll never forget when I volunteered for a city concert. They stuck me at the front gate working with the press and those who came on behalf of news stations, newspapers, and more. The day before I was working at the ticket area where people come to pick up their tickets. The people loved placing me there because I made sure people received a smile and were ready for the festivities. I made sure to ask them some fun questions to get them talking as they received their ticket. Due to this, I was shocked as to why they were moving me. I was their best ticket giver (is that even a word?). The head of the volunteer team looked me in the eyes and said the following—–I need someone who can adapt quickly, get the job done, and do it well! I didn’t know anything about working with the press BUT he gave me step by step instructions and I took off running around like a chicken with 15 legs getting the job done.

 

What have you learned during your years of serving others?

20 Reasons I Love the Church

  1. It’s a body/community of people who want to please God and allow Him to work through them.
  2. The Word comes alive through weekly meetups, connect groups, services, bible studies, and more.
  3. It’s an outlet for creative expression and biblically-based insight when you’re going through a valley.
  4. The free cookouts and refreshments come in handy when the mints at the bottom of your purse/backpack aren’t cutting it.
  5. You don’t feel alone in this walk with Christ. There’s nothing worse than being alone. You can call someone. You can send a text. When I went through my storms and the ones that I still face, I have a community who not only has my back naturally but also spiritually. Prayer is something you can never take for granted.
  6. There’s a group of older believers who have walked this thing longer than you have. Just two words from them seems to change your whole life. You can’t get that sitting at home on your couch.
  7. Access to free classes and resources. I took a financial class on debt and budgeting. Also, by volunteering for particular ministries you can learn how to develop your gifts. I became a graphic designer by learning how to design for my church.
  8. You meet amazing mentors that will impact your life for good. It’s one thing to have a mentor. It’s another thing to have a mentor who has a heart for God. You also can find people who are successful in your field of work in the church as well.
  9. Technology is changing how we connect and it’s amazing. To see the gospel being spread faster than ever before is transformational. Churches are streaming via Periscope, Facebook Live, and more. With access to the web, you can watch old sermons, listen to podcasts, and more!
  10. You can give back. It’s a place where you can impact others through your gifts and talents for the glory of God. To see little children singing in the kid’s choir or senior citizens partake in praise dance is just amazing. God honors every and each gift.
  11. Consistent encouragement. Every week you’re getting a teaching from church leadership about real life topics that apply. I’m not sure about anyone else’s church but this is what I experience. Our Young Adult Connect Group recently had a talk about dating and relationships. Nothing was sugarcoated.
  12. Growing up in church, it keeps you out of trouble. Well maybe not all trouble but when you have to be at the kids’ choir rehearsal at 6 PM after school, you don’t have time to get into trouble with the bad kids from P.S. 400 (I made up that name). Being involved at my local church has kept me out of more trouble than you would believe.
  13. It’s a safe haven for imperfect people. My church doesn’t judge. We love. No one is looking at you crazy. It helps to know that you can just come as you are and receive a Word from God. None of us are perfect. However, in our society, if you aren’t the “hot shot”, then your whole life is setup to be focused on becoming that. At my church, I can come in my workout clothes looking a hot mess and sit on the back seat and know that my imperfect self is loved by God and the community that I’m apart of.
  14. We help those in need. I’ll never forget when we did the Spaghetti Dinner for our church. We connected with a local non-profit and did Secret Santa for a group of families. We brought them to church and our church raised toys for a few weeks to give to their children. This was right before Christmas. God blesses our hands so that we can be a light for people who are in need. What I also love is that someone may be in need right in front of you in the next pew. I remember a few weeks ago a woman needed medicine for her daughter and the church members individually helped her. You won’t get that anywhere else.
  15. It’s always been a place to proclaim justice. The church has stood up to racism, injustice of all kinds, and is still fighting to press towards spreading the light in a dark world. Growing up, I learned that the church was apart of the civil rights movement with church buildings being used as meeting places and more.
  16. I can celebrate my heritage and my faith at the same time. I’ve learned that I can be proud of being black and having faith in Jesus Christ. What’s even more amazing is that my faith has helped me endure racism and have the courage to fight for my brothers and sisters in the mediums that my gifts allow me to. I also can celebrate my womanhood. The bible is filled with women who broke the norm and walls that was plagued by a patriarchal society.
  17. Millennials are creating amazing events for non-believers and believers to connect to. Serving God is not only fun but it’s an amazing feeling to be free and know what Grace feels and looks like. Many Christian millennials are doing concerts, events, and movements that have sparked a revival in the hearts of young people. Together 2016 was epic in Washington,DC!
  18. Churches are becoming a mixing bowl and it’s a beautiful thing. Of course due to culture, some churches have been racially divided. However, I don’t think we need to look at it as a negative thing. I think we should celebrate all churches. Whether you love Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Southern Gospel, or all, there’s a place for everyone.
  19. Leadership and Creative Programs are rising up that are helping evolve the church into a place of constant hope and inspiration.  Many churches now have online sites where they offer their sermons, graphics, and more to help churches with their creative planning. Churches are working together in this work and it makes me smile. Sites like Pro Church Tools and The Creative Pastor have helped more creatives than ever and it’s amazing to know that the church culture is alive and thriving. We’re here to stay!
  20. I’m apart of one. I pray that everyone finds an amazing home church that they grow and blossom in. Find a place you can get rooted in and become apart of. So many are like nomads moving from one place and are unstable. However, when you find a “home”, you will grow with the community and it gives back to you in so many ways. The love, the grace, and the faith that you receive back is life changing.

It’s Time Out for the Worship Police

Yeah. I said it. It’s time out for those of you who try to police how people do praise and worship. I recently was on Periscope and I had to talk about this topic because it’s increasing the division within the body of Christ.
I saw so many comments in a particular attacking how people who need lights and this type of staging are vain or seeking the spotlight, selfish desires, or just the club experience. Wow. Have we become so ignorant of the actual foundation of worship that we become the police on how people worship? The comments made me realize how divided we are on things that don’t even matter. There are souls to be saved and we are making complaints on how different churches express how they worship. I see a crowd with a stage with tons of lights. People with small thinking major on the minor and minor on the major! People said that we shouldn’t need all of the effects to worship God. Worship God how you want to worship God but don’t put down how other people worship just because it’s not your way. I remember going down to Atlanta for Passion 2015. Matter of fact, I found a clip of the intro to the entire conference. I’ve placed the video below. I was shocked on how much thought went into their praise & worship experience.

 

I was amazed and my eyes were opened at how many people were jumping up and down praising and worshipping God. There are some that would probably never step foot inside of that arena because they looked down on those who added tons of lights to the stage and jumped around. However, what I saw was beautiful. When I returned back to my local church, I was even more filled. We don’t have the huge stage with tons of lights and different colors. However, we rejoiced unto God in our own way. I don’t think that churches feel as if they need the lights to enjoy God. It’s the fact that in any large church you are going to find a huge lighting system because that’s almost necessary when it comes to production. I really think that many people have extremely small minds. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s against God’s order. If you have ever been on the production side of what goes into television or the tech team at Hillsong, Bethel, The Potter’s House, Willow Creek, you will see an amazing team of people. If you are a creative in the church space and actually are IN the space and are KNOWLEDGEABLE, then you are aware of websites like Pro Church Tools, ChurchMag, Church Marketing Sucks, ChurchProduction.com and so forth. These are resources for churches in the creative space. There are people that want to have the word FREE in lights on the stage to really cement the message of the night.

Here’s a perfect example below.

 

Your church may use a projector or screen monitors. Your church may not have any of these things. However, don’t condemn the creatives in a church that have these resources. I don’t even know why we are comparing pictures. That’s like taking a picture of yourself and matching it to a stranger and then asking who is the Christian? I love how whoever made the church meme didn’t add any additional pictures and took it at face value. What about these questions: What music were they playing? What was the theme of the night? I can guarantee that the club had alcohol and the church scene didn’t. I’m also sure that they had an altar call asking if people wanted to know about Jesus at the end of service. But no…you just want to take two screenshots and past them together.

I believe that we should never judge something at face value unless the message is clear. Comparing these two photos does not make it clear whatsoever. People are crowded together facing a stage. Maybe because there aren’t any church pews and you don’t see any ushers, you may see it as a problem. I believe we need to look around the world and see how people worship in their own ways. Let’s do an activity really quickly. Look at the pictures below.

If we were judges on how people worship, the first photo would probably turn you off. Ewwww..Red lights and people in a crowd. The lights aren’t of God? Well, now look at the pictures that were additional to the first picture. It doesn’t look like a club to me. I don’t see women in short skirts and a bar. I see people gathering together to worship God in their own way through their own expression. Let’s look at more photos of people worshipping God in their own way.

This is the beauty of the church. Look at how diverse people’s worship styles are. That is the beauty of worship. We all have our ways of tapping into the presence of God. Our different cultures also play a large part of it. For the African American Church, the praise/worship styes are completely different from say a pre-dominantly or even multi-cultural praise/worship experience. However, don’t judge in ignorance. Look at it from through the eyes of a loving God that loves to see His children praise Him in their different ways.

As a creative myself working in my local church, I almost took the meme personally because I know people who labor each week in their church and are in charge of lighting at their church. These people are experts at stage equipment, lighting, and just overall production. They have gifts and talents to contribute and they enjoy using their production skills to bless the church and the body of Christ. If you want to worship God without any lights and stage tech/production elements, that’s amazing. If you do, go ahead. We get so tied up in finding the issue that we don’t actually see the blessing in the diversity within the body of Christ. People worship different ways. I will also say that I see this division especially in the black community when it comes to seeing how other races worship God.

As an African-American myself, I’ve often seen other people who look like me put down how other Christians worship who are of another race. They say: “They worship just how people do in the club”. You’re throwing rocks at air by saying that. Just because you worship in a still form and are quiet, doesn’t mean you can condemn how another worships. I will never forget when Tasha Cobbs released “Break Every Chain”. This song that she did was a cover and had been previously done by Jesus Culture. However, the song originates from Will Reagan & United Pursuit in 2009. So the song was done by the Contemporary Christian field first which is predominantly caucasian. When Tasha Cobbs released her version, what I saw as far as the reactions from others was sad. People (African Americans) said that her version had more “oil”/anointing on it. I will never forget when I told someone that I preferred Jesus Culture’s version. They had a fit. They said that I didn’t recognize where the anointing was at. This goes back to the church picture and the club having lights and then the church having quality lighting and stage production and the Christians are having a fit. What would you prefer? A dirt floor with nothing but hay and some animals from the manger to make sure that people had humble spirits? We have to really check ourselves. What I saw was that the people who really need the prayer are the people who post pictures like this continuing to promote division in the body of Christ. We need to wake up and stop being petty. Let’s look at the Word of God for some biblical backup.

John 4:24- “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Romans 12:1 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Psalm 100:1-4 – “A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

The purpose of praise and worship is for the heart to connect to God. People connect in their own ways. What we should be concerned about is if people are connecting to God. That’s it.

I’ve heard people say: The church doesn’t need lights like that. Why should churches have lights flashing everywhere? This is not the club.

Well let me ask you a few questions:

  1. Why do churches need cameras or video streaming? “The church is not supposed to be on display for the world. Are we conceited with seeing ourselves on screen?”
  2. Why do churches need computers? “Leave the technology out the church.”
  3. Why do churches have dance teams? “Young people don’t need to be dancing in church. This is not a club.”
  4. Why do churches need to be on social media? “We’re in the world but we’re not supposed to be of it.”
  5. Why do churches do chicken dinners? “The church is not a restaurant. The church is the church.”
  6. Why do churches need a website? “The church is where people gather. If people want to come, they will find us. We don’t need to be on the web like the world does.”
  7. Why do churches need a stage? “The church is not a theatre. It’s the church.”
  8. Why do churches need sound systems? “Last time I checked, the people in the bible didn’t have a sound system in order to gather to praise God. Moses didn’t have a stage or a sound system.”
  9. Why do churches need all of these groups and ministries? “The bible never talks about having Sunday School or having a Teen/Youth Group. We’re conforming to the world!”
  10. Finally: Why aren’t you more concerned about the lost souls out there in the world?

The enemy wants us to be focused on the wrong things instead of pouring our energy into what really matters. My church doesn’t have a huge lighting system. However, it would be awesome to have one so that we could really put on our church plays in a very professional way. I would also love for us to have an awesome tech and production team so that when we stream online, the lighting was just right for the cameras that was spreading the gospel around the world! However, we don’t have these things so I’m content with what we have right now. As our church grows, I will be sure to see how other churches are promoting their own way of being diverse in the Kingdom of God. Just because a fish swims differently than you doesn’t make it less of a fish. As long as we are swimming the right way and pushing forth the Gospel, you are my brother and sister in Christ! I may not dance like you and on some things, I may not get down with the lights. However, I’m glad that you are in church and enjoying God. I’m so glad because there are so many people lost in this world and it’s a pleasure to see you in church. You could be anywhere else but you in the House of God and that’s all that matters.

Lastly, if you want to know if a church is like a club, you don’t need to judge their lighting. You probably need to listen to their teachings. That’s a better way to judge. However, I think the church as a whole needs to go back to winning souls and stop judging things that don’t even make sense nor matter to God. You may be personally offended due to your thinking. However, this is why I tell people to travel. Get around some people who don’t look like you and don’t worship like you. It will expand your thinking and you won’t put God in a box that’s based off of how you do things.

Now, I’m going to end this post with a favorite song of mine called God’s Great Dance Floor. I believe that Heaven is going to be one huge place with people praising God. Now excuse me. It’s time for me to to start jumping up and down because God is soooooo good!