david santistevan

worship.leadership

3 Ways to Engage Non-Christians in a Worship Service

Do you ever feel a little weird leading worship when there are unbelievers in the room?

Imagine how they feel. It’s more than a little weird to step into a room of jubilant people singing weird songs, clapping their hands, maybe dancing, and maybe, just maybe waving the dreaded streamer. I remember the first time I raised my hand in worship (notice I said ‘hand’. Singular. Gotta start somewhere). It was a big deal for me. I also remember the first time I encountered a streamer waving dancing lady. No comment.

In a related post I talked about 8 ways to engage people in worship. But I want to narrow our focus today. How do we more skillfully engage non-christians in our worship services? If a healthy church is one that has a consistent influx of unbelievers, we need to learn how to connect them. And I don’t believe it involves watering down the Gospel.

I feel this tension every time I lead worship. I’m glad they’re there. They don’t know what’s going on. I desperately want them to experience the power of God.

Here are some ways to engage:

1. Play good music

It makes sense that as unbelievers step into church they aren’t thinking about how to flow in the Holy Spirit and which isle to dance in. They are watching people. They are watching you. They are listening to the music. They are reading the lyrics. Don’t allow sloppy music. Work hard on being good.

2. Sing easily understandable songs

When I’m picking my setlist, I ask the question “will unchurched Joe understand this?” I know I may personally like the song that talks about burning for God in an ocean of wind, but will that make any sense to an unbeliever? Probably not. Focus on songs that articulate the Gospel and aren’t too abstract.

3. Address them

It’s so important to acknowledge unbelievers and empathize with their situation. Bring them along with you. This involves speaking to them, being real, being likable. Don’t freak people out with your personality. Tell them it’s OK if they don’t sing and just stand or sit there. In the meanwhile, pray that the lyrics and presence of the Holy Spirit will reach them deeply.

What would you add to the list? How can we better engage non-Christians in our worship services?

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November 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. […] 3 Ways to Engage Non-Christians in a Worship Service […]

    Pingback by 3 Ways to Engage Non-Christians in a Worship Service « david … | healthychurchnow.com | November 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] Monday 3 Ways to Engage Non-Christians in a Worship Service […]

    Pingback by The Weekly Wrap-Up « david santistevan | November 27, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] Ways to Engage Christians in a Worship Service Recently I talked about how to engage non-Christians in a worship service But what about how to more effectively engage those who are believers? You may be wondering why […]

    Pingback by 3 Ways to Engage Christians in a Worship Service « david santistevan | November 29, 2010 | Reply

  4. […] I talked about how to engage non-Christians in a worship service But what about how to more effectively engage those who are believers? You may be wondering why […]

    Pingback by Weekly Wrap-Up « david santistevan | December 6, 2010 | Reply


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