3 Gut-Checks to Stop Planting Worship Services and Instead Plant Churches.

A Bob Roberts quote really kicked my anus when I read it recently. He said, “We don’t  plant churches in America. We plant worship services.” 


  1. If your Super Bowl party this year was full of church people and small group holy huddles…you have planted a worship service.

**I know we are missional, incarnational, organic, blah, blah, blah. Jesus hung out with saints and sinners and an emphasis on the latter. So…gut check: Who are you hanging out with and spending the majority of your time with? We say we are about making disciples and reaching the lost…what did your party look like this past year? And if you didn’t have something or go to something…you pretty much need punched in the throat.

  1. If you spend the majority of your time, budget and energy focused on weekend services [or if you are anti-weekend since it is kind of popular to be: your missional communities for mostly saved people]…you have planted a worship service.

**Does your budget of time, talents and resources reflect that you are REALLY committed to MAKING DISCIPLES or crafting worship services? I once visited a great church with 200 staff…only 12 on staff were dedicated to spiritual development [disciple-making]. Worship is just as important as discipleship is and discipleship is just as important as worship. BOTH/AND!

  1. If you can’t make a change in the weekend service or risk messing with “the formula” or some portion of it due to backlash…then you have planted a worship service and not a church!

**I just spoke to a great friend of mine who was called on the carpet [in his very not-church plant, but a very old, established church]…who thought he was getting let go due to a bad performance review. The problem? He turned his back on the audience to read scripture off the screen. Really. True story. So…people going to  Hell while we yell at you to please don’t turn your butt toward us whilst reading scripture?!

Or another friend of mine who was pretty scared because he wants to reach more “seekers” [make disciples] at his charismatic church by dialing back Sunday’s a bit and focusing more on the Holy Spirit side of things on a different night. If either offend your people, you have planted a worship service and not a church.

What are some other ways we plant worship services instead of churches? Kick off the conversation…