In today’s episode, we consider the process of preparing the congregation for worship with Pastors Steve Brower & Joel Albright from First Baptist Church of St. Francis. We discuss the process of planning a worship service in selecting hymns, scripture readings, and prayers.

To view the worship guide discussed on this week’s episode, visit

06:09 Preparing the Congregation for Worship at First Baptist Church of St. Francis
07:32 The Process of Planning the Sunday Service
10:18 Introducing New Songs and Closing the Service
12:43 Resources for Planning the Service
21:27 Encouraging and Discipling Musicians
24:16 Other Elements of the Service
27:57 Encouragement for Pastors
29:48 Encouragement for Families
31:44 Testimonies of God’s Work

Full Transcript: Ep. 48: Preparing the Congregation for Worship

Welcome to the Central Seminary Podcast today. We’re glad you have joined us. We’ve got a special episode for you this week. We’re coming to you from the road. We’re recording today from First Baptist Church in St. Francis. We’ve got two pastors that are my pastors, Pastor Steve Brower and Pastor Joel Albright. So Steve, Joel, welcome to the podcast. Thank you. Great to have you.

Our topic today is preparing the congregation for worship.

As congregations gather for worship each week, we can see the final result of many hours of input from the pastoral staff, from musicians, so many others that prepare the service order, the bulletin, all of those elements. And as we have preaching the Word, what is and ought to be central to the gathering of the body, it’s rightly given its place. What we’d like to highlight this week is how all of those pieces come together.

And I think that could be an encouragement even for those in the congregation to say, how does this come? We think through a pastor studying and taking that time for the service, but also there’s a great intentionality in the songs that we sing, the scripture readings, and even over time, how that can have a great impact on the congregation. And so we’re going to think through that together today on this podcast, how the hymns, the scripture readings, the times of prayer, how can that all align with a purpose over time for the service?

And so we’ll cover the questions of:

  • How can pastors and church members prepare for worship each week?
  • What are some ways, even as a family, that we can prepare a family for that?
  • And what are some tools that you’ve found in helpful in preparing the congregation for worship?

So we’ll dive into those questions over the next few moments. But first we like to ask a question of our guests. What’s a book that you have been reading that you’d like to share with our listeners? Steve, I’ll start with you and could you just share a little bit of your background and the pastoring here at First Baptist Church of Saint Francis,  Steve.

Pastor Steve Brower

Yeah, thanks Micah. Thanks also for just doing this. This is a joy. I am a listener and so it’s a joy to be a part of this as well. So thanks for the opportunity. So I grew up in Minnesota and then went off to Bible college over at Maranatha in Wisconsin, and then came back to be an assistant pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Owatonna, my home church. And during that time, then worked on my master divinity through Central. And so I appreciate Central very much. I’m an alumnus of Central (MDiv ’08). After graduating from there, I came here in 2008 to First Baptist. And so that’s the abbreviated history of it. Yeah, excellent.

Book Suggestions: Steve 

So as far as a book goes, you know what? What I would probably, what I’ve been reading, like there’s always an opportunity to go back to books that have been read, especially as you know, you do messages and that type of thing. And so I just finished a section on Philippians that focused on a kind of a primer of wealth and thinking through that. And so I’m revisiting it again, Randy Alcorn’s book, Money, Possessions and Eternity. Randy has a lot of really great books that are out and some really good resources in regards to thinking through wealth. And so we have smaller books and larger books. This one is a bit of a larger one, but is really helpful, even as a resource to go back.

And then currently I’m reading Rembrandt is in the Wind. And so this is just a really, really nice book. Obviously I’m not finished with it, so I can’t give a full report. It was actually recommended to me by one of the members of the congregation.

And it is written by a pastor and it is taking a good look at art through the eyes of faith. And he goes through and identifies, you know, different artists and then looks at it theologically. And so for me as a pastor that has very little art training, but a lot of theological training, it’s really great to see it kind of meld the two and help me to, you know, think through that from that perspective.

M: Yeah, thank you. Joel, what’s a little bit of your background and a book that’s been encouragement to you?

Joel Albright

Yeah, so I grew up in a pastor’s home and Lord led me into ministry. I did my undergrad at Maranatha Baptist Bible College from 99 to 03. I graduated with a Bible degree there. Then I traveled out on the road for six years with the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team. And that was just a tremendous experience in my life, very practically speaking.And then, so then six years later, I did my master’s degree at Northland. And then in 2011, came here to St. Francis and our family’s been here ever since 2011. So that brings us today.

Book Suggestions: Joel Albright

As far as a book goes, I’m gonna just throw out one that I’ve been working through, actually connects with this, The Theology That Sticks, Life-Changing Power of Exceptional Hymns. That’s by Chris Anderson. It’s just been a tremendous book to work through on a practical level, even with what we’re gonna talk about today.


Micah: Yeah. Excellent. To give you a little context to our listeners too, I got to be on staff on the pastoral team here at St. Francis back in my time going through Central Seminary, 2009 to 2014. I got to be with you guys, staff meetings and things. So it was sweet opportunity. I got to jump in on those when I didn’t have classes, jumped in on some of the times when you guys would be preparing for worship. But now as we’re back here as members getting to receive that blessing is a really neat thing.

So we wanted to talk about that topic and maybe you have a way that your congregation prepares for worship. Maybe that’s a bulletin that you get when you come on Sunday and to see that. Maybe there’s a way that as a church, you know what book that you’re going through. We’ve been in the book of Philippians. So here, finishing up Philippians and we’ll reference a little bit about just the last service on Sunday, how that comes together. But, there’s some neat ways for a family to be preparing your family for worship. Maybe you talk about it on the way to church. What’s pastor going to be talking about? What’s the pastor we’re going to be? So those are a little bit of the direction that we’re going for. And we have a particular practice at First Baptist Church of St. Francis. And again, this isn’t saying that everybody has to do exactly this. And what we wanted to do through this time is just think through the elements of preparing the congregation for worship and maybe what’s an idea or what’s a helpful tool that we’ve found. So.

Preparing for Worship at First Baptist Church: Weekly Worship Guide

Micah: As a member at First Baptist Church of St. Francis, we get an email each Friday with a worship guide for the coming Sunday. It lists the scriptures, the other scripture readings, and I appreciate you guys put the full scripture. You copy and paste it, you put it in there so you can read that, the listing, the songs, and even just some of the context for that. There’s specifically even a letter from the pastors giving a little context to what’s coming up. I have so appreciated that as a way to look forward to what’s coming on Sunday. So Steve, how did that come about? That’s something that you guys have done more recently.

How did you guys come to think through the process of beginning that?

Steve: Yeah, well, I appreciate that. You know, like most pastors, that’s been something that’s been a part of what we do is you sit down and you work through, you know, what the service is going to look like. Obviously we care deeply about all the elements of the service so that it isn’t something that we are just putting together haphazardly because we want there to be a specific direction, something to genuinely minister so that when somebody comes and they sit down and they’re going to participate in that, they’re able to follow along and head in a particular direction that then will actually augment and emphasize the word of God. And so it ties together that way. So when did that start for us? This particular, you know, iteration of that really kind of grew out of the whole COVID process that as we, you know, Joel and I would get together actually in my house and start doing this type of thing. And then as we moved forward from that, that became more and more, you know, something that we just began to pour that time into.

So that was really a bit of a transition time because then as we began to do it, it’s like, well, we should get this out to others. And I think Joel is really the key factor there that he has taken that bull by the horn and really wrestle it to the ground. And so he’s been the primary mover to push this forward. So I’d probably bounce that over to him to hear his thoughts about that as well.

Joel: Yeah, I think it was sort of a developing thing where you mentioned COVID and with a desire pastorally to prepare the service intentionally, there’s a little bit of a good accountability of a Sunday deadline for us or even before Sunday. And then with coming out of COVID when some people were meeting physically, some people weren’t quite yet. It was like, what’s a way that we can physically get content to the congregation who may not be present. So it kind of started that, where like, let’s get the whole service in a document and then minister to the congregation that way. And then that just helped with some good checks and balances to be more detailed about like, which stanzas are we going to sing and why are we singing those stanzas? What scripture? So like, it’s actually served as a good accountability, but also a way to minister.

Planning Ahead

Micah: How far in advance? So thinking through just some logistics of this, how, what does that look like for preparing that service? How, how do you begin planning for the Sunday service? And I’ll ask maybe one level up. So we’re in Philippians and looking at that, how many do you think you have left in Philippians? Finish it up this week? Will you grab some other topics maybe at the end of that?

Steve: Yeah. So this week we will hit one more, uh, sermon that is a little bit of a wrap -up sermon and then we’ll do one more of those. So we’ll really focus on, you know, two kind of wrap -up sermons and then we’ll be heading into Easter, you know, at that point. So from just that kind of flow, that’s what we’re looking at. And that probably gives a little insight into how far in advance is it’s like, hey, let’s look at this series and any messages in between this series and the next series. We aren’t like building the worship guide all the way out for those. We at have a direction that we’re going. And then week by week when we sit down, we begin to put that together.

Weekly Planning Process

Micah: Yeah. So what does that look like in a week? What begins, what’s the first step in beginning this document in preparation for Sunday?

Joel: So the regular thing is we’ll meet on Tuesday morning and what the context before that is, let’s just say that we’re at the beginning of the book of Philippians. We kind of have mapped out,the general flow of what’s going to be coming and a guess of what weeks will be covered, what passage. So I’ll come into that, like knowing what’s kind of long -term where we’re going to go and that helps make decisions for the immediate. And so there’s a little bit of thought, what’s a couple of weeks out, what’s next week, but then the primary urgency is shoring up what is coming up this Sunday. So, you know, so then we’ll work through, we’ll take time and just discuss what is the passage. What do we want to emphasize? And the whole time we’re thinking, okay, so then how does that connect with appropriate songs that we want to implement? What scriptures? How do the elements of prayer lead into that? So those are all kind of swirling around that then what we’ll do is just discuss it and then have brainstorms. And then that process will end on that day. And then what we’ll do is I’ll take that and over the next couple of days, kind of let it marinate a little bit. And then work towards by Friday having service pretty well completed where we can review it, talk through it, and then before we’re ready to send it out to the church.

(Download the Worship Guide

Micah: I’m gonna just look back to last to Sunday’s service,   just some of those scripture references that you had in there. One that you referenced, there were two songs to be in, Come, thou fount of every blessing, behold our God, and then you transitioned into giving because of God’s grace.

What was some of the thought processes even through those scripture references? You went back to the Old Testament and to the Gospel of Mark. How did those come about, choosing those scripture references?


Joel: Yeah, great. That’s a great example of the process of talking through it because Steve was preaching in the end of Philippians 4 verses 15 through 20, which so we knew it was going to have the emphasis of like a theology of giving related to missions. And so what would complement that? Well, so we were thinking through:

  • What would be an appropriate reading of Scripture to kind of make the point?
  • What should motivate our giving?
  • How does God view our giving?

So we just talked through a bunch of ideas and what came up in the conversation was, you know, David’s offering in the Old Testament was substantial. And then we think about like the widow’s offering, as Jesus talked about that, who was comparatively very small, but God was pleased because of the heart behind it. So we thought that’d be a good compliment to just ask the bigger question. And then bring it back to Philippians. So that was just a great and then part of the service to kind of just think through bigger picture. And then like you mentioned, the songs. We settled on the kind of major general theme of the grace of God is what should motivate our giving. And so to sing, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” elevates the grace of God. We sing “Behold Our God” which talks about Christ’s sacrifice for us in His grace for us. So those were just great songs to start off with and then kind of went through right from there.

Introducing New Songs to the Congregation

Micah: Before the sermon, you guys also introduced a newer song to the congregation. You had sung this before, Show Us Christ. How do you strike that balance in even maybe introducing a new song, evenness that you placed it there before the sermon? What are some other helpful things that you found in maybe introducing a new song to the congregation?

Joel: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think it’s a balance we try to get a good feel for, for over the course of say like 12 months. How many new songs do we want to be teaching the congregation? And it’s, we haven’t found a magic formula, but we want to always be at least in some way having the congregation learn some new song. It doesn’t mean every single week. And so we felt like it was probably time to emphasize that. And so that could be any kind of a song. It could be a song that’s more emphasizing the, you know, the character of God or emphasizing the work of Christ or maybe a more testimonial song. And so this song was one that we kind of had on the docket that we wanted to emphasize for the church. And that brings out more of the prayer of the heart to have the Spirit of God illumine the heart through the Word of God. So it seemed like that would be a great one to put right before the message. So it just worked out that way. We had the instruments play through it and everybody had a handout with the sheet music so they could look at it. And then we sang the stanzas and it went really well, a great song. So we’ll probably sing that over the next couple of weeks. So that the congregation kind of have us in the repertoire and then we can pull it out any time.

The Congregations Response to the Preaching

Micah: Steve, I want to ask you one on the sort of the closing of the service, the response, the congregational response. There’s different ways that you have outlined that through the week. This week we had an opportunity to have just a time of quiet reflection during as the instruments played. Maybe what’s some variety of that and how do you come about thinking through some of the closing, the congregational response for the service?

Steve: Yeah, I appreciate that. I think there is a need to let people respond. So philosophically, we want to give that opportunity. I think there’s a danger of that becoming so habitual or rote that it fails its purpose. And so to have different ways for that to occur, I think help keeps it, keeps the purpose at the forefront of people’s minds. And so we try to communicate some of that. Hey, let’s take this time to, like you said, on Sunday, we just said, let’s hear some questions up on the screen. And as the piano plays through this song, you do business with God. But of course, then other times there, we might sing a song as a response, right? So it’s like, here is, we’re telling you, here is a good response to the Lord. You know, unite your hearts together in this response. You know, there’s a variety of different ways. And yeah, we certainly don’t have, we don’t have all the answers there, but philosophically, we want to try to give people an opportunity as well as not put it in the kind of context where it becomes maybe a negative liturgy, where it’s just like, this is just what we do. Why do we do that? I don’t have any ideas. It’s just what we always do.

“So that’s our goal. That’s our effort. And honestly, it’s good for our own souls to think through that, to say, what is a good response now? It helps drive that opportunity for the congregation.”

At least that’s what we tell ourselves, is that that’s what’s actually happening. And so we trust that that’s what the spirit of God does with it.

Resources in Planning the Worship Service

Micah: Yeah. Joel, I saw that you had a stack of books here that somewhat you’ve utilized. What are some tools that you guys have found useful, whether that’s a book or something that gives just a little context that could help a pastor who’s thinking through, hey, I really want to be intentional with how I outline the service and give some discipleship opportunities for my congregation. What are some resources you found helpful?

Joel: Yeah, a list of a few. Probably a big one is Christ-Centered Worship by Brian Chappell. Very foundational, super helpful. Another one is more on the practical end. There’s a book by R. Kent Hughes called The Pastor’s Book (Read Chapter 1 – PDF), and it has a lot of sections of just examples of service orders and just how to think through Easter, how to think through Christmas, all those types of things. So that’s something I’ll go back to just to kind of like cross -reference. And then one thing that I found helpful, because like with trying to think what songs are going to sing, why are we going to sing them, what category are they coming from in the context of what our church needs to be fed by. I’ll try to do at least some reading on the background of the hymn, and there’s a three-set volume called 40 Favorite Hymns by Leland Reichen, and each volume has 40 hymns, and it just has a nice, well-written background of the hymn and maybe some devotional thought with it, and it just kind of helps get the mind into the hymn to just do a little bit of not that that has to be brought out in the service, but it helps direct some decisions. Or sometimes I’ll look at that and go, maybe we shouldn’t sing the song. Maybe the title was tricky or misleading. Like, actually the content of the song is actually something different. And so that’s a helpful resource. And then I had mentioned the one by Chris Anderson that that’s been really, really helpful. And then one final one, Corporate Worship by Matt Merker, just a nice little book that Nine Marks puts out, just a concise, well -written kind of theology of corporate worship.

Micah: What has been some of the congregation’s feedback from this receiving that? I love to see my father-in-law, he’s got his iPad there on Sunday. He’s getting ready for it. He’s got it prepared there. How has the congregation received this process?

Steve: Yeah, I don’t know that we’ve actually like done any kind of formal feedback. And so that probably would be actually good for us to do is to reach out and just hear from the congregation in some sort of like systematic way would probably be really helpful and instructive for us. But just from, you know, anecdotes and things like that, I think that people have received it well and have really enjoyed it. We’ve hear, you hear about people that are using the worship guide and that gives you a great joy because sometimes you wonder who are we doing this for? Is this just going out and nobody is paying attention to it? But we hear people referencing it, talking about it. And so we know that there are people that are really benefiting from it. And so all of those anecdotes that really bolsters up a pastor’s heart to say, okay, they’re catching it, right? Getting the vision, they’re embracing it. And that’s super encouraging. Yeah. Joel, I wanted to ask you a question with your musical background and working with the musicians.

Engaging Musicians in the Worship Preparation

Micah: What is some encouragement for pastors just as they’re bringing along the musicians behind how to keep them engaged either with ideas maybe they have, or then just on a week to week basis, keep them encouraged in the essential part of it that we appreciate the preaching of the word and the other elements that we’re so thankful for the musicians, the piano players that are faithful week in week out to support the worship in these elements. How can a pastor be encouraging of those that are involved in this process?

Joel: Yeah, great question. I think that, There’s a heart that, you know, as a pastor to help even disciple those who are involved, and it’s not necessarily like a major thing of bringing them through the details of everything, but just little things in the communication with them in the musical preparation. Things like, here’s the number of stanzas that we’re singing, and here’s kind of why. The tempo, the key changes, those at least in theory should be a part of the consideration of the why. We don’t just do it because it sounds cool or doesn’t sound cool, but all even, you know, the way in which we want to do a song. And so in the communication to them, I think is a good discipleship opportunity of the heart behind it of why we’re doing, we’re not doing it for a show. We’re not doing it because we want people to draw attention to, Oh, look who’s doing the music today. And so then what we’ll try to do is have a time of almost like a practice ahead of time in the morning on a Sunday morning and some of that’s before that would be good communication to them. But we’ll, we’ll go over just kind of the transitions with them. I’ll go over some of that, or if it’s just a piano that day, I’ll get with the piano player and go over like tempos and just that we’re on the same page and hopefully it’s a bigger picture than just musical things.


Micah: Yeah. You mentioned discipleship there in, in the discipleship, even of the musicians, but there’s another level of discipleship that I see on Sunday. You’ve got even your son that’s playing this, how do you bring along some of those young musicians and bring them in? What kind of discipleship is happening just in that process?

Joel: Yeah, that’s great. And obviously when you’re dealing with kids, you want to be sensitive to what God’s doing in their life and not just emphasize the externals because it’s easy to be performance driven. And so I think it’s just little touches along the way with, you know, how and why are we doing this? What’s your motive? And just being really aware of that.

Organizing the Elements of Worship

Micah: What are some of the other elements through the service? We just referenced a couple from just Sunday. What are some other elements that you have appreciated thinking through or even with this process you guys have over letting it marinate process? What are some of those other elements that you have appreciated that you’ve been able to incorporate into the service? Steve, what you’ve got different pastoral prayers, different times of that. What are some other things that you appreciate about getting to insert into the service?

Steve: You know, sometimes you have a series that is focused very tightly in the New Testament or the Old Testament from that standpoint. So being able to add in a different genre of Scripture to highlight the same point, I think is very helpful. It’s not that we necessarily draw attention to it. It’s like, hey, we’re in a letter and now we’re using a narrative from the Old Testament. But yet, thinking through that and adding those things in, I think is really helpful because it gives the breadth of Scripture as well as it gives, it recognizes, I shouldn’t say it gives, it recognizes how God uses those different genres to bring forward his truth. So those are good elements to think through. Like you had mentioned, it’s a great time to lead in well -thought out, biblically based pastoral prayer. I think that can help set the culture for the church of like, hey, these are the things that we are concerned about and that we want to pray about. There are other elements that can be added in and that we have taken advantage of. We have, since COVID, we have stopped taking an offering. And so this is another opportunity to say, hey, let’s just pause. And whereas in years past, we would have, you know, an offertory and we’d pass the plate. It’s like, let’s just remind ourselves how giving is an act of worship and maybe we have a passage, maybe we have someone from leadership or from the congregation to pray specifically for that, a singular point to bring out about it. But it just gives us that opportunity in the midst of a worship flow to intentionally highlight. It’s like, hey, this is important to us and this is how we ought to think about it. And that I think is super helpful for the congregation as well, both young and old reminders, but also training for those that are watching and learning. And it’s like, oh yeah, giving. My parents do that now online, yet it still needs to be an act of worship. And hopefully that then gives parents opportunities to reinforce those truths at home. So those are some examples.

And hopefully that then gives parents opportunities to reinforce those truths at home.

Micah: Joel, what are some elements that you’ve appreciated as a pastor and also as a musician, those elements of the service?

Joel: Yeah, I think to… The big picture categories that are always floating in our minds. This is obviously not original, but the idea of read the word, preach the word, pray the word, those kind of, and singing the word, obviously. And so not every service is going to bring out each one of those equally all the time, but to view it as a stewardship of like, we need to not neglect anyone unintentionally. So the way that we would in each one of those has a lot of things. So if you’re just talking about praying the word, there’s all different types of prayers that we should be stewarding throughout the course of several months in the worship service, whether it’s confession, whether it’s gratitude, whether it’s a pastoral prayer, and so all of those things. And then obviously singing, there’s so many different subcategories to that that we want to both be sensitive to what is the passage helping us to bring out, but then also what should we also be singing big picture as a church. So it’s kind of like a puzzle and a process to come up with those different elements that you mentioned.

Closing Encouragements to Pastors and Families 

Micah: I get to appreciate it as a member come alongside the intentionality of that and just giving encouragements. What are just some closing encouragements you’d have for a pastor that’s thinking about maybe that pastor’s like, man, you guys got a team that are doing this. You’ve got all this thinking through what encouragement read you have maybe for the pastor that’s thinking through this or even the congregant who is saying, Hey, how can I be intentional about preparing my family so that. Steve, for the pastor that’s thinking through that, what’s just some takeaways that he can think through as he’s preparing for Sunday, Sunday’s coming, it’s that regular timeline, what final encouragement do you have?

Steve: I appreciate the fact that you are recognizing the team element. I do think that that is a really good thing for pastors to maximize. So the pastor is like pouring into the word and it’s like his focus is on the sermon and appropriately so but as Joel said, not to neglect those other elements. And it’s like, okay, well, how much bandwidth do I have? You know, how can I do all of that? And that’s where I’m seeking to bring in other people to help in those other processes, I think is essential. And that can happen, you know, for a pastor with, you know, a team like I have, I’m blessed to have that. But that can also happen for a pastor who says, hey, I need this help from the congregation and through a prayer and just putting it out there looking for it, there can be some teamwork that is put together. And yeah, it might look a little bit differently, but yet having somebody who is focused on bringing out those other elements and that adds creativity, that adds experience. Sometimes it’s like I’m so focused on the passage that it’s like, I need help thinking of the other elements. But sometimes that also can kind of lubricate that process. I’m so focused on the passage, these other elements are just yelling out and putting that together with another, you know, another person or persons can be really helpful. So I would encourage pastors to say, hey, let’s not neglect it. And then let’s see who God has brought providentially into our ministry that can help in this process. And I think that accomplishes then so many purposes, you know, along those lines.

So I would encourage pastors to say, hey, let’s not neglect it. And then let’s see who God has brought providentially into our ministry that can help in this process. And I think that accomplishes then so many purposes along those lines.

Micah:. Joel, for family that is week to week committed to worshiping with the congregation. What are some ways that a family as a father, maybe you could speak to it, that you can prepare the hearts of your family for worship for Sunday?

Joel: Yeah, I think in one sense it can be very simple. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s, I think, an awareness of what is going to be preached on that Sunday with the family. So one thing could be is let’s just read the passage that’s going to be preached. And just by the simply doing that, whether it’s part of a nightly devotions with the kids or go to bed, let’s just mention this, or maybe it’s around dinner table. But just by bringing that to the forefront, it doesn’t even require understanding a lot. Like let’s read the passage and that puts in the minds of the kids, this is important. And then also, and then a step further, an awareness of maybe what songs we’re going to sing. And so maybe it’s singing them with the kids sometime throughout the week, or maybe it’s just reading it. And that again puts it to the forefront. So I think even with family elements, I think there’s a tendency to just be too complicated with it or like, I can’t lead family worship. But in some ways it’s, let’s read the Word, let’s sing the Word and let’s pray. And if you can do those three things, then the Word is central and you don’t have to be a trained theologian to be able to do that. So I say simple and awareness, and that leads to the priority of making Sunday first place that it ought to be. Excellent.

But in some ways it’s, “Let’s read the Word, Let’s sing the Word, and Let’s pray.” And if you can do those three things, then the Word is central and you don’t have to be a trained theologian to be able to do that. So I say simple and awareness, and that leads to the priority of making Sunday first place that it ought to be.

Testifying of God at Work

Micah: Thank you both for being on the podcast. One question that we love to ask our guests is a way that God is working personally in your life. One way, one way to testify of the goodness of God, that God is good and he’s gracious to us in personal, also corporate ways. We’ve gotten to think through some really sweet ways that the body comes around and supports the preaching and the worship. But Joel, what’s the way that, that God is working in your personal life, your family that you’d just like to testify? Yes. As you mentioned that one, one thing kind of an unexpected kind of little blessing. It was connected with this this last Sunday to just see God work in the life of one of our congregates who is going through a recent cancer diagnosis, and we have implemented the online to be able people can watch our services online, and that can be a great ministry to folks who can’t be here physically. And there is this one member of our church who, you know, we’re all into the details of the service and how did it go and all this, and then we get this text, the pastors get this text of this member of our church who watched and was just blessed by the Word of God. And to say that this ministered to my soul in a specific way, to me it was like, it was a super encouraging thing and almost like a little bit of a rebuke of like, God is doing with His Word such things that are way out of what we could even try to manipulate. And then was just, it was just really encouraging and humbling to say, yes, this is such, God’s word does its work and might minister in ways that we don’t know. So that was just a kind of a cool little blessing that I was praising God for this past week.

Micah: Steve, what’s the work of God to testify?

Steve: Yeah, I appreciate the question. I love this question and I love the opportunity to just be able to publicly testify about God. You know, as a pastor, there are many times that you get involved in people’s lives and it’s hard to know when to bring out those things and talk about it publicly. You’re not looking to put somebody in an odd spotlight that would embarrass them. But I would take this opportunity. There is a gal who has been going through a very difficult work situation and over the course of, I mean, well over a year, but in the last year, it’s been very difficult for her and she would talk, we would pray about it together. And as a pastor, you want to, you want to be the Messiah, even though you’re not the Messiah, you want to try to fix it. You want to try and, and it’s like, you keep bringing it before the Lord and encourage and point towards scripture. But it’s like, God has to do something if something’s going to change. And so they, this gal took some steps and put her in a position where, you know, it’s like, okay, now God, what are you going to do? And there’s just this tension of like, okay, God has to do something or, and what’s that gonna look like? And like two weeks ago, we were talking after the service and I was asking her about it again and she just poured out her heart and wept and just praised God because in the midst of a very dark valley, the Lord opened up a door and she is out of that valley. That’s not to say everything is different. And it’s the type of thing where you look at and go, that was nothing but God. It was just God at work.

And not everybody gets to see that, but I get the joy of as a pastor being in people’s lives and being able to see that on such a regular basis. And it’s like, wow, our God is awesome.

Micah: Amen. I appreciate that opportunity to testify of God’s grace. And I thank you men for being with us on the podcast. For all our listeners, I hope that you are encouraged by the faithful preparation of your pastor and all that are involved with it. And we’re so thankful for the ways that we get to come alongside a central seminary to encourage and strengthen, to assist the New Testament churches. And this is just one of those ways. So we hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks for listening.

For all our listeners, I hope that you are encouraged by the faithful preparation of your pastor and all that are involved with it.

Thanks for listening to the Central Seminary Podcast. Our mission at Central Seminary is to assist New Testament churches in equipping spiritual leaders for Christ-exalting biblical ministry.

Since its founding in 1956, Central Seminary has sought to provide serious students of God’s Word with robust theological education as they prepare for ministry. We have graduates around the world who are serving in countless ways to spread the gospel and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. Find out more at our website,



 About the First Baptist Church of St. Francis

The mission of First Baptist Church is to lead people to Jesus Christ and grow together as faithful disciples.



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