Partners in the Gospel

Church Partnership
Church Partnership

“Proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of the Philippines and the rest of Asia.”

To achieve the mission God mandated the CBN Asia Family of Ministries, we are committed to the strategic use of mass communication, humanitarian outreaches, cross – cultural missions training and counseling.

Our TV program, The 700 Club Asia shares the Gospel to its viewers. Those who respond are encouraged to contact the CBN Asia Prayer Center. We pray and counsel them. We refer them to our partner churches. The discouraged, helpless, and troubled were given hope and enlightenment through the Word of God.

The Church Partnership Program, headed by the Prayer Center – External Operations, works with different churches and Christian organizations. With 8,785 church partners here and abroad, we strive together in “proclaiming Christ, transforming lives.”

This partnership have seen hundreds of lives changed. In 2016, CBN Asia was able to entrust 16,766 of The 700 Club Asia viewers and Prayer Center callers to its church partners.

Partner with us in fulfilling the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ!




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Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ, so said Galatians. But how will a church do that? One church’s approach varies from another.

Four months ago, Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Church opened its doors to pastors and church leaders of Dipolog City when it hosted CBN Asia’s Basic Counseling Training.

Pastor Michael Ursolino Venegas understood the need for such training. This eighteen – year old church at the Gateway to Western Mindanao has outreaches in Brgy Aseniero, Dapitan City and Brgy Del Pilar, Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte.

One of their aims is to be relevant in their social responsibility, thus, leadership development and strengthening church management are requisites.

After the training, Pastor Mike was asked if his expectations were met. Here’s his response.

“Training was very good. Material was practical and biblical. Trainer was excellent in teaching and facilitating the training.

Today, I have learned what counseling really is. It has reinforced my previous trainings about counseling. It has also added some practical techniques in doing it.”

Where could he best apply the techniques he has learned?

I could best apply them at my pastoral ministry. I had some leaders with me who attended the training. It will ease the burden on doing this ministry alone. The church now has a handful of counselors to go to, who are basically equipped in counseling.

I would also re – echo this training to my pastors and leaders under my supervision.”


It was July when CBN Asia conducted a Basic Counseling Training at Upper Turno Highway.

Recently, JIL MIS officer Jojo Tizon gave this feedback: “Yes, nakatulong po ng malaki sa pag – conduct po ng counseling.” (Yes, it helped a lot in facilitating counseling)

Good Reward

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”

– Ecclesiastes 4:9 NKJV


CBN Asia takes part in the fulfillment of God’s mission in this world, bringing the lost to the light and the hopeless to the source of hope – the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 2010, a church in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila signed up with CBN Asia’s Church Partnership Program. Since then, the Manila Faith Assembly of God has continually endeavored to follow-up on, pray for, and counsel c viewers or callers referred to them.

This partnership yielded good rewards. The presence of Christ has never been more evident. Meeting these viewers or callers is in itself a great pleasure. While they are being established in the faith, love and knowledge of the Lord, those who are ministering to them are also being encouraged.

Manila Faith gathered them three times within the year 2016 where two batches visited CBN Asia office and studio. Their stories are very uplifting.

It is both a privilege and a  blessing to be in partnership in advancing the kingdom of God. There is surely good reward for the labor.

Partner with us in fulfilling the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ!

How Christians Should Engage this Election


Daniel Darling/

Whether we like it or not, the 2016 U.S. Presidential election cycle is upon us. Some greet this with a weary sigh while others, like me, love the drama of another historic moment in America’s story.

Regardless of where you fall on the scale of interest, the most important question is how Christians should conduct themselves during this election season. The world is watching God’s people, not just for how they vote, but for how they act both online and in conversations with family and friends.

So how now should we behave? I’m far from a perfect model, come election time, but I’ve come up with these five things to consider in 2016:

Remember What We are Doing

What are we doing when we get involved, research the issues and vote for a candidate for President? We’re choosing an imperfect leader to lead imperfect people. We get in trouble when we imagine we are doing anything else. 

In my experience, I’ve seen two equally wrong approaches to politics. Some are tempted to look at candidates as saviors. “If we can just get ____ elected, then ____ will happen.” This only ever leads to dismay and disappointment.

The Christian Gospel reminds us that, at best, human leaders are imperfect stewards of power that belongs to God (Romans 13). What’s more, no leader can fulfill all of our hopes and dreams. Even the greatest leaders in human history had deep flaws and could only make partial improvements to the quality of life of their people.

Christians vote best when they know that the city they are looking for is not a new and improved America, but that city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).

Ironically, it is a false utopian approach to politics that often leads to the equally wrong, but opposite tendency: cynicism. Frankly, I hear a lot more cynicism these days than utopianism. We’ve been set up for this by assuming too much from our leaders, by projecting on them more than they were created to do.

There is good reason to doubt candidates. We live in a post-Watergate world where we’ve been disappointed and betrayed by leaders at the highest levels of power. Far too few heroes have not been exposed as people of weak character.

However, sometimes cynicism blinds us to what is possible in politics. Sure, it can be a dirty business, but to disengage is to abdicate the stewardship we have as citizens of a democracy. To disengage is also an endorsement of the status quo.

Politics can be leveraged for the common good. If we understand what are doing, if we have reasonable expectations for our leaders, and if we faithfully steward our vote, God can use us to accomplish good in the world.

Consider the Wide Range of Issues that Affect Human Dignity and Flourishing

The tendency in politics is for interest groups to look out for their own self-interests, but Christians should think not only of themselves but what is best for the flourishing of our communities.

This means we not only adopt an approach that asks how a candidate best helps our own families, but deeper questions about the common good. Which candidate champions human dignity—for the unborn, for the trafficked, for the impoverished and for the marginalized?

What’s more, we should avoid latching onto the sound bites and catch phrases of each campaign, but look deeper into the men and women running for office. We should examine their records of public governance and private enterprise.

The temptation around election time is to gravitate toward personalities instead of issues, to choose a “team” rather than to make a careful and sober analysis of each candidate.

Behave Like Christians in the Way We Talk about Candidates and the Way We Talk to Each Other

Not only is it important to steward our influence for the common good, it is important to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel. This might be the greatest test in a rough-and-tumble election season, especially given all the tools that allow us to easily and immediately express our opinions.

There is a place for righteous outrage against injustice, but we should be careful about attacking people instead of policies. 1 Peter reminds us that we are to exhibit both courage and civility (1 Peter 3:15). After all, we follow Christ, who in His public life was the perfect synthesis of truth and grace (John 1:17).

Passions run high in a political season. At times, we will say or post things we regret. But we should strive to say and do everything under the influence of the Holy Spirit, remembering that because we are ultimately victors (Romans 8), we don’t have to resort to defensiveness, nastiness and anger. We can see our ideological opponents, not as avatars to be rhetorically crushed, but as people created in the image of God.

Understand that Good Christians Disagree

There are many issues about which good, faithful followers of Jesus might disagree. Your view on the appropriate marginal tax rate might be different than your neighbor. It doesn’t mean he’s an enemy of the cross, so don’t treat him as such. What’s more, even people who agree on the issues may disagree on the right political strategies or the right next steps.

Engage in friendly and even heated debate, but don’t let politics become so central that it keeps you from loving your brothers and sisters in Christ.


7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics

7 Things Christians Need to Remember about Politics Bryan Roberts/

Bryan Roberts/

Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.

Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

Here are seven things to remember about politics:

1. Both political parties go to church

There’s a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there’s a secular Right. Larry T. Decker is a lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. He’s an “unaffiliated Christian,” but his entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they’re not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.

2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings

When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it’s up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.

3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others

They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord “detests.” We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to keep gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics and gun ownership; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.

 4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake

The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party. The Republican party of today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.

5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7)

Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. This doesn’t mean praying the President will be impeached; it doesn’t mean praying your candidate will win. God commands us to pray for our leaders—for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.

6. Don’t be paranoid

The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned—albeit, at varying levels of success—for years under the direction of alternating Democrat and Republican control, and at every flip, the other side thought it was the end of the world. It’s not. And if we’re a Church that believes God is in control, we have to believe that He is the one in control of the end times—not whoever’s in office now, and not whoever succeeds them.

7. Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation”

It’s not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Before that, we thought it was OK to own people. Every generation thinks it’s living in the most important moment in history. We’re not, our parents were not and our children probably won’t be. And that’s OK.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from an original version posted in September 2012.


What Christians Should Look for in 2016


Phil Cooke/

Looking at the direction of the culture, the shape of trends, and the current challenges we face, here’s a handful of ideas to look for in 2016. I strongly recommend that you share this with pastors, ministry and nonprofit leaders you know, because from a media perspective, these are the critical areas that I believe we should focus our messages on in the coming year:

People will be looking for deep answers, not just “practical” advice.  The last 20 years has been a time of “practical” teaching in the church. It was based on the assumption (not always wrong) that people needed to look at the Bible for answers to everyday questions. But too many pastors started preaching shallow topics like “The 5 Keys to a Successful Marriage,” “3 Steps to God’s Healing Power,” or “The Secrets of a Better Prayer Life.” Many of those topics may have been helpful, but if you look at the Christian section at a typical bookstore, it doesn’t look much different than the secular self-help section. Our message has become Oprah in a “Christianized” package.

Colleges are getting the same message by the way. After the last 50 years of giving out “practical” diplomas in majors like Bakery Science, Bowling Management, and Gender Studies, they’re discovering that to really prepare students for life, it’s time to get back to a classical education.

Like those students, in 2016, your congregation will be looking for deeper answers. After all the self-help books, sermon DVDs, and small group resources have piled up the ceiling, people realize that life isn’t about easy answers or cheap grace. After all –

People will be looking for a LOCAL church.  One of the interesting business trends in 2016 will be the return of the local bookstore. After a decade of clicking all day, people miss the interaction of a local store experience. Plus, they finally understand that if you want to keep local stores, you have to buy there. As a result, local bookstores (and other stores) are experiencing a resurgence in cities and towns across America. I predict a similar feeling will happen in churches. So this is the year to promote your church as part of the local community. Instead of people driving 30 or more miles to a megachurch, they’ll be looking for a local congregation. That’s one reason large churches are aggressively planting local campuses. So this year, stop criticizing the big churches in your area, and start celebrating your local community. You’ll find more and more of your neighbors are looking for exactly that.

Polarized politics will be the perfect opportunity to offer a better way.  As the Left goes further left, and the Right goes further right, there are millions of people growing disenchanted with the answers government is offering. But to be that answer, we need to keep ourselves from being associated with a particular party. Encourage political participation, voting, and citizenship. Keep speaking truth to power. But to be the answer the culture is looking for, don’t align your pulpit with a political party. Start preaching the bigger answer they won’t find in politics.

This isn’t the time to soften our doctrine to become more attractive to the culture.  As Mary Eberstadt reveals in her book “How The West Really Lost God,” over the last 100 years, churches and denominations that have accommodated their theology to the culture have dramatically lost influence or disappeared completely. Don’t become a hardliner or jerk, but don’t be afraid to preach the truth. You’ll take heat, but ultimately, if you’re no more distinctive than the Kiwanis Club, then what’s the point?

It’s time to get serious about social media.  For all you late adopters, here’s a tip: The Internet isn’t going away. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms aren’t just about letting your friends know you’re at Starbucks, or showing them a picture of your lunch. When you take social media seriously, and look at it as a tool to speak positive things into people’s lives, it will change your perspective – and your impact. And no church or ministry is too small to make an impact online. People are following you for a reason, so in 2016, start saying (and preaching) things worth sharing. In the process you can have a remarkable influence on people – many of which you don’t even know.

Themes that will resonate with audiences in 2016:

Freedom in Christ.  The current administration is now the most prolific regulator of all time. Its 82,036 pages of new rules and regulations for 2016 has surpassed last year (which was close to that number.) The government’s answer to societal problems is usually more rules. It’s a common human trait, and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day did the same thing. As Theologian R.C. Sproul says:

“One commentator has called this practice of the Jews “regulation madness.” This is what happens when people who have a disposition to control others’ lives begin to chip away at their freedoms and accumulate power for themselves. This has happened in every society in every culture in the history of the world, but the Pharisees did it with a vengeance. When I was doing my doctoral work in Holland, one of the first idiomatic expressions I heard was “You have trespassed the law.” The Dutch people were governed to death. If I broke a pane of glass in my house, I had to get written permission to repair it from the federal government. That is the kind of culture the Pharisees created in ancient Israel. We have seen this in the Christian community again and again. In some groups, Christian piety is defined as refraining from wearing lipstick, dancing, going to movies, playing cards, and so forth, as if these activities had anything to do with the kingdom of God. In one sense, when these kinds of regulations are established, authentic righteousness is not simply obscured, it is discounted. After all, it is easier to refrain from wearing lipstick than from displaying pride. It is easier to stop going to movies than to start loving one’s enemies. We have all we can do to seek the righteousness that God’s law sets forth for us without worrying about petty issues. The Pharisees were absolutely majoring in minors. They had turned the supreme law of God into petty regulations, which obscured the majesty of the law of God.”
Preach freedom in Christ to a world desperate for it.

Overcoming Fear.  Terrorism, and the rhetoric surrounding is creating the most fearful culture in our lifetime. This is a critical moment to remind people that God is in control – even in the most difficult situations. And this fear isn’t just the surface emotion people talk about, it’s also the deeper sense of angst that we carry like a burden. We worry about our kids, are fearful for our job, and are terrified about the safety of our country. In 2016, preach a message that will help people find comfort and confidence in God, and in doing so, they’ll share that message with friends.

Build better families.  Keep in mind that “the family” is one of the biggest hot button issues of our time. What all the people trying to re-define the family don’t seem to notice is that the more it’s re-defined, the more it continues to collapse. In a world where divorce, pre-marital sex, single motherhood, foster care, violence, abortion, and LGBT issues continue to be headlines, the single greatest impact we could make is to lead by example. If we lectured and condemned the outside culture less, and started making our own families stronger, the culture would notice. What if the Church became the one group in America that had the highest percentage of healthy, intact, loving families? I believe outsiders would be curious to find out why.

Finally, Share Joy:  Just listening to the presidential debates, you’ll see there isn’t much joy out there. I believe one of the most visible differences that should separate Christians from the non-believing culture is joy. I’m not talking here about simply having fun (although that helps), but I’m talking about a much deeper sense of joy. The kind the culture finds irrational, because in the times we live in, they can’t fathom its source. If we could become the people of joy the Bible talks about, trust me, in 2016, this culture will notice and start asking why.

This is a good list to start focusing on as you teach, broadcast, and share your message online. And I’m open to comments and suggestions about these and other ideas that would be particularly effective in today’s culture.

Being “Christian” In an Election Year

Being "Christian" in An Election Year - Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox

I write about politics very little, so this is rare for me. I read everything from Drudge Report on the right to Huffington Post on the left daily and almost too obsessively. So it isn’t that I’m uninformed. I just don’t think, at the end of the day, that any politician will save America. At least not in the ways we really need saving.

I’ve never endorsed a candidate, and I’m not starting now. This isn’t a post about a single candidate. Rather, I wanted to address our general lack of thinking biblically or Christian-ly when it comes to political races.

As a Pastor, I believe I represent a community wide open to people from every political persuasion. Jesus included both the zealots who hated Rome and the tax-collectors who worked for Rome among his disciples. In my church are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and members of the Independent Citizens Movement. They’re all my friends. I can get along with liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and even vegetarians.

In addition to being a Pastor, I’m also a private citizen of this great nation. And I’m a pretty patriotic one. My grandfather was a World War II veteran. I was raised in the Reagan generation and thankful for it. As a matter of disclosure, I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I am registered Independent. I typically think conservatively about fiscal and trade issues as well as social and cultural issues, but I’m also easily annoyed by the vitriolic rhetoric heard on the airwaves leveled at people on the other side. At the end of the day, fear and anger lead to hate, which always leads to the dark side.

I’ve had an itch to weigh in on so much that is happening right now, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger. Maybe it’s fear that people will respond negatively or hatefully. Maybe it’s an attempt to try to remain distant from the battle lines. And maybe it’s that I’ve grown weary of people saying things in Facebook comments without civility that they would never say to me as a friend over coffee. But here I go.

As a pastor, a follower of Jesus, and as a proud American, here are some rapid-fire thoughts on being Christian in an election year…

1. God is in charge.

He is God and Creator. Because God is loving, He allows us to act like idiots and tyrants. Because He is holy, He’s in a class apart from every world power. Because He is just, justice will prevail eternally even if it seems lacking now. Because He is loving, God will redeem anyone who clings to Jesus, regardless of political persuasion.

Because God is in charge, willing to redeem us, and determined to balance the scales of justice for eternity, we have nothing to worry about.

2. Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world.

Human depravity manifests itself most in how we abuse sex, money, and power. The Kingdom of Christ is one in which our use of sex, money, and power is submitted to His authority and governed by His holy and loving character. I don’t see much reflection of His Kingdom in any political race. Thankfully, God’s Kingdom comes in subversive ways throughout our culture rather than on top of people.

3. Government has its place.

Without it, we’d live in a rather violent anarchy with no protection at all for our rights or our property. With too much of it, we’d live under tyranny with rights or property. The very best governments are of the people, by the people, and for the people so as to protect the God-given, unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Good government should have good, fair laws, protect its citizenry, punish crime appropriately, and fund its operation with some system of taxes. And believers should submit to, pray for, and pay taxes to the governing authorities for the good and peacefulness of the community as a whole.

4. The church has its role.

History has proven that marriages between the church and the state simply don’t last. And in the inevitable divorce between the two, the church always comes out the loser while the state walks away with the bank. I appreciate the contributions of such Anabaptist thinkers as Balthasar Hubmaier who warned us about the danger of a church-state marriage. And I also appreciate the terminology of Adrian Rogers who said that the church should be the conscience of the state.

As an American who believes in the First Amendment, I think pastors and churches should be free to speak to every area of cultural life including politics and candidates. As a Pastor, however, I think churches would be foolish to hitch their wagons to any politician. It’s the nature of the political beast.

5. Character matters.

Politics is and should be a tough subject for Jesus followers to consider. Being a successful politician essentially requires making enough people happy to get elected, and it’s a realm in which virtue is essentially flipped.

The fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – take a back seat to other election-winning traits such as hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, and division. Galatians 5 makes it clear that the first list can only be produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit while the second is the product of our humanity, devoid of God’s presence and influence.

Personal character matters. Virtue matters. What makes great leaders great in our communities, schools, and churches should be sought in those who lead our national government as well.

Here’s a gut-honest thought… Electing a President with character, integrity, and compassion matters more than electing a President who just seems powerful, or just seems as though he’ll make us all richer or more comfortable. There are things that matter more than the economy.

6. People matter.

The hurting, the poor, the disadvantaged and disenfranchised matter. We could argue all day about which creates more upward mobility – government-sponsored welfare or free enterprise. But what I crave is a voice of compassion and decency. I long to see government stand for the rights of the most disadvantaged among us, the poorest, the smallest, the oldest and youngest, including the right of unborn persons to life.

It’s not enough to win. It’s not enough to be great in comparison to other nations. We should expect more. We aren’t a perfect nation. We don’t have a perfect constitution. Capitalism isn’t a perfect system. But I still believe that we live in a great nation, with a great constitution that must be honored and protected. And as Churchill said (while quoting an original, unnamed source)…

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…

I’m praying for our leaders, the candidates, and our nation as a whole. But more than any of that, I’m asking God to keep on saving and redeeming sinners into His family for His eternal good pleasure and glory! And I’m hoping that, even if you disagree with most of what I’ve just said, I can still be a friend, and serve you any way I can.

Hit and Miss Church Guest Experiences – Rainer on Leadership #177

Thom S. Rainer/LifeWay Christian Resources


We love hearing from listeners and readers here at Recently, we asked for your church guest experiences and the feedback was overwhelming. I wrote a post with the best and worst experiences and today we discuss that post as well as how my dog, Marley, likes his hamburgers dressed at Sonic.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • If church members or staff take guests to lunch, a personal connection to the church is more likely.
  • Apprehension is the norm when a guest comes to a church for the first time.
  • Using insider language confuses church guests and alienates them.
  • If you have a stand-and-greet time, make sure it is a genuinely friendly time and not contrived.
  • Make sure your greeters are trained well and use good common sense.
  • The guest experiences we cover today are:


Seven Great Experiences

  1. “They went out of the way to make my children calm and happy.”
  2. “A lady befriended us and took us to her small group.”
  3. “The pastor offered to take us to lunch.”
  4. “A church member wrote our children a letter after meeting us.”
  5. “The church was clean and had great signage.”
  6. “A church member invited us to lunch.”
  7. “We were greeted in the parking lot and walked to where we were supposed to go.”


Seven Bad Experiences

  1. “I didn’t know what they were talking about. It was a lot of internal language and acronyms.”
  2. “No one spoke to us.”
  3. “We were given ear plugs when we walked in.”
  4. “My wife and I are a mixed race couple. The greeter suggested we might be at the wrong church.”
  5. “The friendliness seemed contrived and fake.”
  6. “They asked us to stand up and introduce ourselves.”
  7. “The greeter gave me a children’s bulletin and told me I could color on it. I’m twenty years old.”


This article was originally published at on NOVEMBER 24, 2015 . Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at

Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Guest in a Worship Service


Thom S. Rainer/LifeWay

If you want to make certain guests never return to your church, say one of these sentences to them when they visit.

Indeed, these unfortunate and ill-timed comments almost always guarantee that you will offend guests and make them very uncomfortable. Most of the time guests are already ill at ease since they are in a new place and a new environment. By the way, each of these quotes was actually communicated to a guest in a worship service. My guess is that all ten of them have been said many times . . . too many times.

  1. “You are sitting in my pew/seat.” This sentence was actually said to me when I was a visiting preacher in a church. The entitled church member did not realize I was preaching that day. I had the carnal joy of watching her turn red when I was introduced. And, yes, I did move. She scared me.


  1. “Is your husband/wife with you?” This question is rightly perceived as, “We really don’t want single adults in our church.” Members see their church as family friendly as long as “family” meets their definition.


  1. “Are those your children?” This question is becoming more common with the growth in the adoption of children who are not the same race or ethnicity as their parents. One parent with an adopted child was asked if he got to choose how dark his child would be. I’m serious.


  1. “The service has already begun.” This sentence is rightly understood to mean, “You are late, and you will be disrupting the service.” I saw that happen recently. The family left. I was late too, but I stayed since I was preaching.


  1. “There is not enough room for your family to sit together.” I was visiting a church a few weeks ago that did just the opposite. When larger families came in the service, members actually gave up their seats to accommodate them. Now that’s true servanthood! I bragged on the members when I spoke that morning.


  1. “You will need to step over these people to get to your seat.” No! Please request those seated to move to the center. It’s a church worship service, not a movie theater.


  1. “That’s not the way we do it here.” Of course, you can’t have a worship service where any behavior is acceptable. Most of the time, however, the varieties of worship expressions are absolutely fine. I heard from a lay leader recently who witnessed that sentence spoken to a guest who raised her hand during the worship music. She never returned. What a surprise.


  1. “You don’t look like you are a member here.” Perhaps when this sentence was spoken, the church member meant to convey, “Are you visiting us?” But to the guest it sounded like, “You don’t belong at this place.”


  1. “Have you considered attending the church down the street?” I’m not kidding. Someone shared that comment with me on social media. She was new in town and was visiting churches. She had no idea why the man in the church said that to her, but she never returned to the church.


  1. “The nursery is real full.” To the young parent, this sentence is interpreted one of two ways: “There is not enough room for your child” or “Your child probably won’t get good care.”

I would love to hear some similar comments you have heard. And if you’re wondering how to help your members not say such unwise things, share this blog post with them. They may simply need to learn some basics of guest friendliness.


Let me hear from you.


This article was originally published at on MAY 6, 2015 . Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at