Six Steps to Loving Your Church

  • Tony Payne
  • 28 June 2013

Some of us really love our churches, some of us aren’t so positive, and for many of us that feeling can change from week to week. This six-session program is about how to love your church whether you’re feeling enthusiastic about it or not. It’s about the mindset we take with us as we go to church each week, and how that mindset is expressed in a multitude of ways, big and small. In particular, it’s about the part that we all play as God’s people in loving, serving and building each other up, Sunday by Sunday. We all have a ministry—the ministry of the pew. Over the six sessions of the course you will cover subjects such as:

  • your current attitudes towards church, and how they are expressed
  • what the Bible says about the meaning and purpose of church
  • what it means to love your church and the people who go there
  • how all of us can be active encouraging servants before, during and after church, rather than just consumers or spectators.

Each session contains a mix of discussion, Bible study, video input and prayer, along with simple exercises to help you put the ideas into practice on Sunday. Here's the first video section from the first study, as an example:

For those with slow or unreliable internet connections, this video can be downloaded and stored for local playback. Use of this video comes under the same terms and conditions for all downloadable resources on

  Six Steps to Loving Your Church is a course best undertaken in a small group (of 3-8 people). To run the course you will need:

  • the text of each study (printed out or distributed digitally) for each person
  • the leader's notes, which are a separate download
  • a way to show the video content to your group.

About the authors

Colin Marshall is the CEO of Vinegrowers, an organization that equips pastors to inspire a culture of disciple-making within churches. He is the author of The Trellis and the Vine (with Tony Payne), Growth Groups and Passing the Baton.

Tony Payne is the Publishing Director of Matthias Media, and author of many popular books and resources, including Guidance and the Voice of God (with Phillip Jensen), Fatherhood: What it is and what it’s for, and The Course of Your Life.

What need does this course meet?

It is very common for Christians to regard church as a passive, personal or receptive experience—as being about ‘what I get out of it’.

At its best, this attitude tends to focus on the quality of the personal worship experience I am having and the personal lessons and encouragement I am receiving. At its worst, it leads Christians to evaluate church on the basis of whether they find it entertaining, enjoyable or beneficial; to have minimal interaction or participation while they are there; and even to ‘shop around’ for the church that delivers them the best experience.

However, church by its very nature is not a personal experience. It’s a corporate one. And according to the New Testament, the key attitude we should bring with us to church is love: that consistent desire and determination to build up (or ‘edify’) others and seek their welfare. On the basis of love, we should come to church more ready to serve and build than to be entertained or inspired.

Six Steps to Loving Your Church aims to help participants change their whole mindset about church—to learn that ‘loving’ your church doesn’t just mean enjoying it or liking it, but loving the people who are the church by ministering to them in whatever way you can.

The goal is to transform congregation members from passive recipients or spectators to active other-person-centred servants in our Sunday gatherings; to transform your church culture from ‘the ministry of the few’ to ‘the ministry of the pew’.

The course also provides simple practical steps and exercises to equip participants in this ‘ministry of the pew’—before, during and after the main church Sunday gathering.

Six Steps to Loving Your Church is ideal for small home Bible study groups.