8 Simple Tips For Better Writing


No matter what your vocation, use these simple tips to improve your writing.

  1. Lead with your main idea – Let people know your subject upfront. If you don’t, they’ll stop reading.
  2. Good writing is concise. It can certainly be creative, but it should be free of superfluous adjectives and unnecessary details. More is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more and often it’s less.
  3. Avoid using “that” as often as possible. Even though it is sometimes useful when adding some type of description, the sentence can most often become more powerful by moving the description to before the noun.
  4. Condense what you’ve written, then do it again. This will help your writing be tighter and more interesting.
  5. Use a thesaurus to help you find the perfect word. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
  6. Overused clichés are as common as dirt. Good writers avoid them like the plague.
  7. Read more and your writing will naturally improve.
  8. Use Spell Check and Grammar Check. It’s free and instantly available. Duh.

The Number One Complaint About Church Visuals


Serving in worship ministry affords me the privilege of hearing friendly (and sometimes unfriendly) complaints about what happens in worship. One area that is often criticized is the operation of the visuals placed on the screen during the worship service, especially when it regards the timeliness of the presentation of the song lyrics.

Creative backgrounds and interesting animations certainly help enhance worship services, but they don’t mean much if the people worshiping are distracted because the lyrics to the songs they are trying to sing are late. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem in many churches.

So, here’s the bottom line: Song lyrics need to be on the screen before people have to the sing them. If the people have to guess at what the next word or line or phrase is, then their worship experience has been hijacked, meaning they’ve been temporarily or permanently disengaged from what is happening.

How To Avoid Lyrical Delay: Prepare and Practice

Prepare – It is the worship leader’s job to provide the correct worship lyrics and sequences in which the song is going to be presented. This serves as a guide to the technician who is creating and/or displaying the lyrics.

  • Very important point – The sequence of the songs, meaning the breakdown of when and how many times the verses, choruses, bridge(s), and tags are included in the song presentation is first and foremost the responsibility of the worship leader.
  • If the correct song sequences are not communicated to the technicians building and then operating the song playlist, it is doubtful that the presentations of the songs will be presented properly. The blame for this failure is most often given to the visuals operator, but most often it actually belongs to the worship leader.
  • Sometimes, a worship leader refuses to plan the sequences of the songs because he simply wants to be led by the Spirit. It makes sense to these worship leaders that if he and the visuals technician are both being led by the Spirit then everything will come together perfectly without prior coordination. The Holy Spirit can certainly lead two different people simultaneously, but if we use this excuse for not preparing, we are basically blaming God for our laziness and mistakes.
  • It is the visual technician’s job to review the song playlist prior to the run-through and worship service ensuring that the correct song version has been included and that it is in the right sequence. If this has been done, the operator and worship leader can be more confident that the right words will be displayed at the right time.

Practice – If there is a run-through prior to the service, it is responsibility of the visuals technician to practice along with the musical worship team.

  • The following cannot be said enough – The run-through is not just practice for the band. It’s also practice for the visual technician. Believe it or not, the visual technician needs to practice just as much as the band, if for no other reason than to catch mistakes, correct typos, and reorder the sequences of songs built improperly.
  • If practice happens, sequencing or presentation issues can be found and corrected prior to the service. If this does not happen, the visuals technician is basically just hoping everything is going to be ok.
  • The rehearsal also allows the visuals technician to reacquaint themselves with the flow and the feel of the song, allowing himself to anticipate where the worship leader is going if an extra chorus or bridge needs to be added on the fly.
  • Sometimes, when a visuals technician is also responsible for building the song playlist, he tends to feel like he’s already done his homework for the service and therefore doesn’t deem it necessary to practice with the band during run-through. When these things happen, the operator is allowing prideful arrogance to step in between himself and a successful worship service.


When I was growing up, my parents used to say, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” The same can be said for the worship leaders and visuals technicians of our day who are partnering together to avoid the number one complaint about church visuals.

Related Posts:

9 Mistakes Worship Attendance Counters Make

I Am Greater Than You

9 Mistakes Worship Attendance Counters Make


Larry Osbourne once said, “If churches spent as much time counting faces as they did dollars, they wouldn’t have a growth problem.”

One of the best ways to track growth or decline in church attendance is by counting those in worship service attendance. However, people often ask, does it really matter if we get a count of everyone? The answer is “Yes. You should count everyone because everyone counts.”

No matter if the counting is done by ushers, deacons, staff, or pastors in church, there are nine common errors I’ve noticed which often cause worship attendance figures to be skewed.

  1. They count to get it done instead of to really know. This often happens when the job is delegated to someone who doesn’t understand the importance of really knowing the actual count. An easy solution may be taking a few minutes to explain the purpose behind counting to those involved.
  2. They count too early in the service. For many congregations, the number of people in attendance at the beginning of the service is no indication of how many people will be there by the end. I suggest waiting until the musical worship is over and the sermon begins (if the service is typical) before counting. The difference may be drastic.
  3. They only count those inside the actual worship center. Consider creating a counting chart listing all of the areas needing to be counted. This may include your worship center sections, tech booths, green rooms, the main foyer, prayer room, etc…
  4. They estimate instead of counting. I believe this is what most pastors do across America. It simply isn’t reliable (or honest). Estimating crowds instead of actually counting them can cause the actual number to be grossly deflated or overinflated. One way to spot if your counters are estimating is if the numbers they turn in are rounded numbers like 200, 250, 120, etc…
  5. They either miss or don’t count infants and children with adults. If everyone counts, count everybody. I’ve heard one church leader say “We mean all, and that’s all all means.” Children and infants count as people, even if they aren’t in the infant, toddler, preschool, or elementary rooms.
  6. When counting children’s attendance, they don’t count the adults in the room. Turn about is fair play for the children’s attendance. Adults (or teenagers) are in attendance as well, so count them.
  7. They use a faulty clicker. Clickers can be great tools for use when counting, however besides being distracting (because of the clicking sound) they sometimes get stuck so the clicks go 1,2,3,4,4,4,4,5,6,7,7… One way to correct this problem is by purchasing a digital clicker which seems to be more reliable. They are also much quieter.
  8. They forget to count the people on stage. This is an easy oversight, but forgetting to count those on stage often means you miss counting pastors, band members, speakers, singers, etc…
  9. They forget to count themselves. Remember, we count everyone because everyone counts, even you.


Related Posts:

We Ain’t No Professionals Ain’t Cutting It Anymore

I Am Greater Than You

Good Friday Service Outline – Full Script

Many churches, including ours, have found a renewed interest in celebrating Good Friday. In many ways, since Easter has become more of a reaching service (which I believe it should be), Good Friday has become more of a Believer’s Easter Weekend Service.

At Celebration Church, many found this year’s service to be extremely meaningful and a few have asked me for the outline. It’s included in it’s entirety below. Let me know if you have questions, comments, or suggestions for future services.

2015 Good Friday Service Outline

Pre-Service Music and Slides

Musical Worship

  • Song – 5

Good Friday? video plays as soon as people are seated – 3:16

  • Suggested Song – “Your Love, So High”

Welcome – Greeting/Communication Cards/Prayer – 3 (Instrumental music continues)

Campus Pastor or Campus Representative: 5

When many of us think about the Last Supper, we envision Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting (fresco) which he finished in 1498. (Show image of fresco)


  • The original work was 15’ x 29’ and took 3 years to complete.
  • It was not painted on the ceiling or walls of one of the grand cathedrals of the day, but instead was painted on the wall of the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The modern translation of a refectory is a dining hall. In fact, the tablecloth, knives, forks, glassware, and china were all similar to those in use by the monks residing in the monastery in that time period. It was almost as if Leonardo da Vinci wanted those dining to feel as if they were dining with Jesus, helping them realize that what He did for them so many years ago was still relevant in their world.
  • The body and blood of Jesus, offered up to pay the price for the sins of the world, is relevant to us in the 21st century as well. He gave His life for us so that we might live with Him and in Him and He in us.
  • The monks in Milan must have felt like Jesus was right there with them as they ate every meal. Tonight, we are going to celebrate a meal together, just as the disciples did and as the monks in Milan did, and Jesus will be right here with us as well. We know that He is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere, so we know He is with us right now.
  • Before we celebrate communion, let’s celebrate His presence with us tonight. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to be present with us even now.

Suggested Song about the presence of the Lord – 5  – “Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here”

Spoken – The Bible says this about the night of the Last Supper…

Scripture: – Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover Lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

“Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.

He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there. (Luke 22:7-13)

Spoken: What happened then might have looked something like this: 

(Play first 4 minutes and 9 seconds of video)

(Music begins as soon as the video ends)

Intro to the Lord’s Supper: – 4 He has kept that promise to us. Tonight, we are going to remember the Lord’s death for us as He commanded us in that moment we just saw portrayed.

(Give instructions on coming forward to receive)

Serving of the Bread/Juice with song (Consider using real unleavened bread and juice. Have a table onstage with the bread and the juice for the campus pastor.)

Time of personal examination and reflection – 3 – (Something like this) The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11 that we should examine ourselves before eating the bread and drinking the cup. You see, on the very night He was betrayed, Jesus, knowing what was about to happen, gave bread and wine to his disciples and taught them that it represented His body. So, now, when we partake of the bread and juice, we proclaim, we remember, we celebrate His death, until He returns. So now, if you would, please hold up the bread and the juice before you. Look at them. They represent the body and blood of Jesus. Now, take a moment and think about your own life. Is there anything you need to get right with the Lord before you participate in the Lord’s Supper?

(Music plays while the Campus Pastor gives the people a moment to examine themselves)

Taking of the Bread/Juice with song which continues after the Lord’s Supper is taken and prayer is said – 3

Say:  That same evening, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While he was there, he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, who led Roman soldiers there so they might arrest him. He then went through a mockery of a trial, was publicly flogged, then sentenced to death by crucifixion.

Read:  “Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called the Place of the Skull. There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews… Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.” John 19:17-20, 28-30

For The Cross Song by Brian Johnson – Special Video Song Presentation with scenes of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. (We downloaded the multi-tracks straight from Bethel Music and set them to a video which presented the words in a creative way mixed with scenes from the crucifixion.) Here’s a link to the song by itself: – 

Message – IN A MOMENT

Spoken: At the time of Jesus’ death, it must have seemed like the purpose of his life was unfulfilled. Fortunately, in that moment, God provided 3 miraculous signs, pointing toward the ultimate miracle which would take place on Sunday.

At the moment of Jesus Death: God Ripped The Temple Veil In Two

“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom…” Matthew 27:50-51

  • In the temple, behind the veil was the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctuary where the ark of the covenant rested. Filling the Holy of Holies was the Shekinah glory of God, the visible tangible presence of the Lord. Only the high priest could enter and only once a year and then only to offer the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of Israel.
  • The veil was massive and was designed to separate man from the presence of God. It was sixty feet high, thirty feet wide, and ten inches thick. It was so heavy that it took 300 priests to hang it.
  • The very moment Jesus died, this curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, as if it were a piece of paper.

(Show image of veil torn in two)

veil torn

  • This could only be done by God and is a sign that the way is now opened for anyone and everyone to enter into the presence of God through the sacrifice of the Messiah.

At the moment of Jesus Death: God Shook the Earth, Split Rocks, and Opened Tombs

“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment…The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened.” Matthew 27:50-51

  • The second miraculous sign was a supernatural earthquake and the splitting of rocks which must have created much devastation around Jerusalem. God was making another statement about Jesus to the world.
  • It reflected the “earth-shaking” revelation that had just taken place with the splitting of the curtain. Through the death of the Son of God, the way had been cleared for sinful man to enter the company of the holy God. Centuries before, when God gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, the earth shook because the Law was meant to shake people up. Here, the earth is shaking again—this time not to shake man up, but to shake him loose. To get him to wake up from his sin and sleep of apathy. We can be free! The sin that enslaves us has be paid for and forgiven. The veil is rent. Redemption’s price has been paid!
  • Because of the earthquake, the tombs were opened and deep fissures were created. The death of the Savior had and is still having a splitting open of tombs impact on mankind. Those dead in their sin can now escape their living death.
  • The splitting of the rocks and the resulting opening of tombs was evidently a preview of the final resurrection, guaranteed by the imminent resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

At the moment of Jesus Death: God Raised Holy People From the Dead

“At that moment…the bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” Matthew 27:51-53

  • These saints appeared to many as confirming witnesses to the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Their appearance in bodily form testified to Christ resurrection and to God’s promise to raise all those who put their trust in Christ.
  • These chosen saints who were resurrected after Jesus arose on Easter Sunday began to walk around the Holy City. What a sight it would have been to see people who had been dead for years walking around Jerusalem.


After seeing all of these things, “The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54)

Paul summed it all up when he wrote the following words about Jesus:

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:6-11

Are you ready to make that decision today?

Decision Time and Song – 

Suggested Song – Chorus of “We Thank You For The Cross”

Offering/Baptisms – 

Closing Song –