Churches have minutes to make an impression
February 21 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Churches have minutes to make an impression | Friday, Feb. 21, 2003

Friday, Feb. 21, 2003

Churches have minutes to make an impression

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

LILLINGTON - Churches who want first-time visitors to become second-time visitors need to concentrate on making a good first impression - and they need to do it quickly.

That's according to the pastor of a contemporary church in Harnett County.

"Research shows that people who are visiting a church for the first time make up their mind in the first 12 minutes whether they will be back," said Ken Dalton, pastor of Crossroads Church in Lillington. "If you're focusing on non-christians, ... I challenge you to put a lot of energy into people's first 12 minutes at church."

Dalton led a breakout session on "Worship that Connects" at a seminar Jan. 25 called "Disciplemaking for the New Century." The seminar was held at his church.

Worship should point people to God and call for a response, he said.

"I think every church has to find its own style of worship," he said. "The best one is the one God leads you to."

Dalton's church used contemporary worship led by a praise band. He said any worship should seek to please God.

Dalton said excellence in worship is attractive to non-Christians. But God judges the heart, not on the basis of excellence.

"The better I do, the more potential there is for a non-Christian to sit up in a worship service and say, 'I've never seen it more clear than it was just presented," Dalton said.

Dalton said some worship services are like baseball, a slow game in which few players touch the ball. Other services are like soccer, a faster game with more players touching the ball.

Dalton told the story of Jesus telling the woman at the well that God seeks people to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Some people worship with their emotions and some with their minds, Dalton said.

Dalton told of going to a concert where the choir sang in Latin. He enjoyed the music, but the words were lost on him.

"You do not have to sing songs in Latin to have the reaction from people," he said.

Dalton gave as an example a line from "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Though the hymn is well known, the line, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer," might lead people to ask what an "Ebenezer" is and why anyone should want to raise it.

Dalton said worship leaders need to find a balance between explaining enough of such situations, without explaining too much.

During the seminar, the praise team from Dalton's church led the group to sing upbeat arrangements of "Nothing But the Blood" and the "Doxology."

"There are ways to bring old songs back to life," Dalton said.

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2/21/2003 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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