As a pastor, I’ve struggled with how to end our church services. While it is great to see people respond to the Gospel, I feel that everyone needs a chance to respond to what they have heard. Typically, the only people that are asked to respond are people who don’t know Jesus, but I wanted to open up our invitation time at Cornerstone for more than just salvation. Back in 2008, I shared about a church that I visited that had a unique response time. Since then, I’ve been praying and planning. At the start of this year, we kicked off a new response time at Cornerstone. This is how we describe it on our website.

At Cornerstone, we want to help you grow in your faith. So after each service, we want to give you a chance to respond to these two questions.

  • What is God saying to me?
  • What am I going to do about it?

We give you the opportunity to respond in several different ways.  Sing, Decide, Pray, Talk, Remember, and Give

Any time we gather together to learn from God’s Word, we should be moved to respond. As we learn and grow, our lives are shaped to be more like Jesus in thought and in action.  In Acts 2, we see that after hearing a powerful message from Peter, the crowd was moved to respond. So for almost 8 months at Cornerstone, we have given everyone a chance to respond each week.

We made several changes to our service flow. We now do fewer songs at the beginning of our worship service, and more at the end, so that we have a longer time to respond. I feel that singing more after the message really helps us respond in praise and worship. We also now offer communion each week. One of the most powerful response opportunities has been our prayer box at the cross. We invite people to write out their prayer requests and leave them at the cross. Each week the elders pray over the responses and we have seen God move through many circumstances. To help newcomers understand our response time, we have placed a card in the seat pockets to explain what we do and why we do it.

I love seeing people changed by the power of the Gospel, and that includes not just new believers, but mature Christians. I couldn’t imagine doing it differently, I just wish we would have started sooner.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Grinnell
    September 23, 2016 at 11:07 am — Reply

    We at The Journey Church in Kingman AZ start with six songs before every service. The last song prior to the service is also sung during our collection of the offering at the end of the pastors message. At that time many people leave. As one of the usshers that passes the basket it is very hard to do so when people are bumping into me when they exit the service before the song is finished. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we did two or three songs at the end of the pastors message.

    Considering we do the collection after the service the basket would be near empty as everyone has left the building. the opposite is true where the six songs before the message people keep coming in causing, at times a slight disruption for those already at their seats singing.

    I attended a church once where songs were sung after the pastors message and I found it to be anti-climatic, so to speak. I, personally enjoy the message more than the worship songs before. I know that is bad to say but I don’t sing well and have a hearing issue that keeps me from hearing all of the words and following along with what is on the screens.

    I am glad you have it working for you and pray your congregation does as well.

    • October 7, 2016 at 7:50 pm — Reply

      Thanks for sharing. Each church culture is different, so definitely do what works for your congregation. I thought we did a lot of songs and we only do 5 total! Our services last about 75 to 80 minutes each week. We also don’t pass a collection plate. We have offering boxes by the doors. The important part is that we find ways to get people to respond to what they are hearing, and it will look different in different churches. Thanks again for stopping by the blog

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