Eight Ways to Maintain Your Learner’s Attention | Columbia Connections


This applies to worship as well.


Generosity Creed

We experience a Giving God:

who breathed life in our lips,

who poured love in our hearts,

who walked with us in the garden,

and who seeks to still walk us restful waters.

We live in a Present Savior:

who was sent as a present to us to open true life,

who forgave us that we may live true life,

who washed our feet

and provided us bread and wine for the journey.

Christ is still present

and a present to the world in our sacrifice of self.

We listen to a Generous Spirit:

the breath of the Church,

the force that connects us to one another,

the power to heal the shattered

and make whole the broken,

the life through and beyond death,

and the life that gives generously forever and ever.  Amen.

Worshipswake.wordpress.com.  Nathan Decker (CC) 2014

Love (Call to Worship from Matthew 22:34-40)


A small word, should be easy to be and do.

Love God.

Oh, that’s easy.  I’ll pray to you to ask you what I need.

I may even show up once in a while in Church to worship you.


You keep saying that, am I getting it wrong?

Love Neighbor.

I love all my neighbors. 

We get along great as long as we all stay within our property lines.


I don’t think that is such a small word.

Not easy to be.  Not easy to do.

Love God.

I’m trying Lord, forgive my distractions and idols.

Love Neighbor.

Help me see the invisible, those in pain, those in need.


Love with all our Heart and Soul and Mind.


Love.  Amen.

-©2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Praise God the Teacher (Prayer)

We call you Teacher and Rabbi

  for you suggest wisdom in our paths

  and show us life lessons in our mistakes;

You invite us to the table, hungry for answers,

  but do not fill us completely, encouraging us to return daily.

You spark within us knowledge and understanding

  and the more we see, the more we seek.

And You provide those special people –

  Sunday School Teachers, Mentors, Elders

  who suggest wisdom in our paths

  and show us life lessons in our mistakes. 

For these and so much more we humbly give our thanks,

  Teacher, Rabbi, Jesus.  Amen.

Worship Wake

Someone asked me recently why I call this site Worship’s Wake.  The answer is because Worship should be and have Wake.

Worship should be like a Wake.  Not many people do this anymore, but a traditional wake, family night, or viewing is a gathering of loved ones around the deceased before the funeral.  They tell stories,  They cry.  They hug and support the family.  They are reminded that this life has impact, this life makes a difference, this life lives on in resurrection.  Worship should have all of these characteristics… and more.

Worship should be aWake.  We all giggle when it happens.  That elderly gentleman in the back nods off and we begin the hear the rumble of his snore two minutes into the sermon.  Worship needs to have an energy.  This doesn’t mean that we’re all moshing for Jesus or jumping in the house of God every Sunday.  But within the given context, the worship experience should cause a change within us from the potential to the kinetic, from the everyday to the supernatural, from the mundane to the spiritual.

Worship should have a Wake.  When a boat goes through the water, it causes a ripple behind it called a wake.  When other boats hit this wake, it causes them difficulty and changes their course.  God knows where our boat is heading, and God willing, the Lord is the captain with the vision.  Our worship experience needs cut through the waters of this live and other boats should be affected by it.

Worship’s Wake is my site for helping this happen.  Community Worship, Energetic Worship, Visionary and Transformational Worship.  Knowing God is in the mix, I’ll do my best.

I am a Slave (Prayer of Confession with Pardon)

I am a Slave.  I am not free.

I do not love God above all. 

I do not love my neighbor. 

I do not care for the garden.

                  I love wealth that I did not earn.

                  I love pleasure.  I love self.

                  I love being right more than learning or teaching.

                  I love to make a living more than making life possible.

                  I love to coldly dissect rather than to be astonished in awe.

                  I love worship so long as it does not require sacrifice or change.

                  I love and live lies so that I can be better liked and elected.

                  I am a Slave.  I am not free.

                  Lord, Jesus!  Break these chains of sin. 

                  Free me so I can joyfully follow your way!  Amen.

                                  a time of silence…

                  Sisters and Brothers, Be Free!

Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  God loves us!

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven and free!

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven and free!

                  Glory to God!


-(CC) 2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Improving Worship by Don Nations

I received this in an email and it was worth sharing.

Four Steps to Improve Worship

  1. Eliminate distractions.  Poor sound systems, flickering lights, burned out lights, the wrong date on the bulletin, uncomfortable seats, lack of directional signs, bad coffee, etc. all can distract people and lower the perceived quality of the worship experience.
  2. Improve transitions.  Poor transitions can make even good content seem disjointed and mediocre.  Watch for dead spots.  Make sure people are in place and ready to speak instead of waiting for them to come to a microphone.  Each element should flow into the next instead of feeling like a jarring turn.
  3. Align the elements.  Everything in the worship service should tie together.  Each service should have a clear theme and primary message which is being communicated.  Each prayer, scripture text, reading, etc. should further the delivery of that message.
  4. Know the target audience.  You must know who you desire to reach with the service in order to be able to effectively design it.  The target audience determines the language you use, the elements you include, the stories told, the announcements made, etc.  No service is equally effective at reaching all kinds of people.

God is in the Teaching (Newsletter Article August 2014)

God is in the Teaching

“Where is Jesus?  I want him to come play with me.”  -Ethan, age 6

When my eldest child was on his way, I did some deep praying and thinking.  I wanted to be an intentional parent.  There were many questions for which I wanted to make sure I had answers.  Why is the sky blue?  Why did you pick mommy?  Why God?  The last one is probably the most important question any of us can ask and seek out answers.  I don’t mean “Why God?” in a melodramatic voice of Alan Alda anguish.  I’m talking about the heart, mind, and soul experience of faith.  I expect at some point my children we ask me why faith is important at all.  Why do we worship?  Why do we give offerings?  Why do we attend church?  Why God?

It will start with the conversation about why we as a family avoid shopping and going out to eat on Sundays.  It will continue with the decisions we make – like putting church first ahead of ball games and tournaments.  There will be that hopeful eye, as we give the boys a dollar on Sunday and encourage (but don’t force) them to put it into the offering plate.  And here I want to point out that we do these things as a family, not because I’m a pastor.  Neither of my parents are clergy.  But you see, my mom answered the question.  She taught me faith year by year in patience.  My dad answered the question.  He taught me to doubt and not accept the easy answers but to work at my faith.  They instilled in me practices and traditions that I am trying to give to my children.  They prepared me for faith.

August is a time for preparing for school.  We get the lists from our child’s or grandchild’s school, we get the tax-free weekend, and we prepare.  How are we preparing our children in faith?  How do we talk about God’s word as we gather at table to eat together?  How do we act out our faith by the simple choices we make in front of little eyes?  How will we share Jesus so that he can play with the little ones?

I met a woman this week who told me about her family.  She asked that I visit her daughter.  “My grandchild saw a nativity last year and asked if the church was going to sacrifice the animals?”  The child was not shown where to find Jesus.  The child will not ‘play’ with Jesus.  Prepare the children for faith.  Be intentional about it.  Don’t expect the preacher or Sunday School teachers to do all the work.  We will help, but there won’t be any miracles.  Faith is something that is instilled around the table conversations, while you are driving down the interstate, and in those crucial moments when you decide between grace and punishment.  Prepare the children for faith.  Faith is taught.  God is in the teaching.

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”  -Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Isaiah 56:1-8 (Call to Worship)

Lord, We come as Dead Trees.

We bare no fruit.  We have no ability to create life apart from you.

Lord, We come as Strangers in a Strange Land.

Not one of us is originally from here.

Our ancestors came chasing herds, by accident, in hope,

by oppression, and in chains.

But Lord, We are here.

Plant us firmly in your rich soil.  Help us sprout goodness and mercy!

Lord, We are here.

Let us open the doors to the House of the Lord and Welcome All!

-(CC) 2014 Nathan Decker, www.worshipswake.wordpress.com

Giving God Our Nothing (Call To Worship August 2014)

                   Once, Jesus and his disciples were in the world, doing ministry:


Lord, send this crowd away.  It is getting late.  We’re all tired.

Blessed are those who have set their priority on the Kingdom.

                   But Lord, they’re starting to get hungry,

and we have nothing to feed them.



Well we do have two fish and some loaves of bread.

                   That’s nothing when you give it to this crowd!

                   Give me your nothing.

Why?  What will it amount to in this world of pain and misery?

                   Give me your nothing.

Are you sure you want to get involved with the needy? 

                   You know they’ll just come back for more, following the bread crumbs.

                   Give me your nothing.

Jesus, if we give up our lunch, then what will we eat in retirement?

                   Give me your nothing.

Yes, Lord.

                   If we give God our Nothing, then Something Kingdom will happen.

Reflection and Resources for Worshiping God. Please feel free to use the resources in worship. I only ask that you give credit.