At the heart of why any church exists is to glorify God and to share God as revealed in Jesus Christ; thus worship is at the center of the congregations life. The church, of course, is more than worship, but without vital worship attendance, it is unlikely that members are growing and new disciples are being brought to faith. Worship attendance is also the one factor where improvement tends to help every other aspect of the churchs ministry. There is another reason for focusing on worship attendance. After relatively strong attendance in the 1990s and a rise in attendance for five Sundays after the tragedy of Sept 11, 2001, attendance has been more likely to decrease instead of increase for most U.S. churches since 2002. Churches that grow connect people with God, and compelling and inspiring worship is a primary means of connection.
Tom Berlin is Senior Pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Tom is author of Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More, 6 Decisions That Will Change Your Life, 6 Things We Should Know About God, and 6 Ways We Encounter God. He is coauthor (with Lovett Weems) of Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results; Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit; and High Yield: Seven Disciplines of the Fruitful Leader.
Lovett H. Weems Jr. is distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at WesleyTheological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He came to this position in 2003 after 18 years as president of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. A native of Mississippi, Dr. Weems is a graduate of Millsaps College; Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; and Wesley Theological Seminary. The author of several books published by Abingdon Press, his most recent includes Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results (with Tom Berlin) and a revised edition of his classic, Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture, and Integrity. He co-edits the online newsletter Leading Ideas, available free at ChurchLeadership.com.
Overflow is both teaching text and helpful workbook, providing theological grounding and practical tools for clergy and laity who plan, lead and assess worship. Worship matters! Tom Berline and Lovett Weems help us to tend the heart and soul of the church, that worshipful space where souls are embraced and awakened by God.
-Bishop Hope Morgan Ward,
North Carolina Conference (United Methodist Church)
Perhaps you have wondered what could be done about the empty spaces in church. Or perhaps you have prayed that God would fill up your worship with praise and people. Weems and Berlin have addressed the dream of "overflow" by providing analysis, specific ideas, and creative thinking. You will be inspried to look differently at growth in worship. Weems and Berline state, "Worship is powerful.... In ways small and large, worship is key to the transformation of the world." This book provides the dream and the plan for overflow in our houses of worship.
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