Service Planning: What are Your Favorite Tools for Syncing Sunday?

Service Planning: What are Your Favorite Tools for Syncing Sunday?

When we come together for a Service of Worship, we come as one body, and I think the body is better served when the various parts are involved and aware of the direction.

The Bible is my primary tool kit, particularly the pastor's source scripture.

The motto at Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries is, "The best script is Scripture." Besides the sermon passage, inspiration comes from regular scripture reading, whether a long section or a single "Verse of the Day."

Everyone is part of the Service of Worship, not just the singers and speakers.

Many of the scenes I've written, songs my wife has composed, or workshop exercises we've created, were sparked by listening to a sermon or reading related passages.

The pastor's source scripture and vision are my devotional safety check. They allow me to connect with God for personal study, which not only sparks creative ideas, but more importantly, elevates my sense of worship when I'm serving on Sundays. When I don't have that previous Scripture connection, the "busyness" of Sunday the tyranny of the urgent, my pastor calls it can leave the corporate time empty for me, because work supersedes worship.

So, this personal discovery is a reason I recommend that the leaders of all teams involved in the Service of Worship not just the creative, upfront people, but the tech, support and family ministries—be involved in a pastor's initial planning when a new series is being prepared, and read the sermon outline (scripture at least) before the day of corporate celebration.

How to improve the advanced planning process for the weekend

We all have different spiritual gifts, but we serve One Body.

When we come together for a Service of Worship, we come as one body, and I think the body is better served when the various parts are involved and aware of the direction.

When all the workers are pursuing their tasks from a stated common vision and allowed to participate in conversations anchored from a Scriptural perspective, they are more willing to engage in the work, and they will grow spiritually. They're more invested in the week-to-week acts of service, and there's an opportunity for the pastor to learn as well, especially if the leaders represent a cross-section of demographics in the congregation.

Everyone is part of the Service of Worship, not just the singers and speakers.

Here are some ideas.

1) Brainstorm content. Whenever a sermon series is being outlined, the senior teaching pastor should schedule regular devotional sessions with leaders of all ministry teams involved in the Service of Worship platform presenters, tech teams, ushers, marketing, family ministries, facilities support, etc. It's creative brainstorming and spiritual discipling where the pastor can introduce the vision God has given, outline the themes and passages and then let the members of the body toss around ideas.

It's important to remember this brainstorming is a devotional, not a "meeting." Every element of every service need not be decided. In fact, nothing has to be decided. The pastor is developing a worship small group through this devotional. At a devotion you concentrate on prayer, the word, fellowship. Effective devotional small groups have an atmosphere of safe, open, edifying communication. Concentrate on prayer and the selected Scriptures to be communicated.

Fellowship and family conversations are part of the process, but have a minimum of rabbit-trail conversations, and limit the mobile device usage to reading scripture or listening the possible songs. No sneaky peeks at social media; no texting.

If anyone receives a call, it should be from God; and from my reading, God only texted Moses and Daniel.

2) Create a culture of feedback. So, from the brainstorming devotional model, the team leaders should have weekly nuts-and-bolts review with their team members about how the elements on Sunday were executed. This could be a team huddle, conference call, email. Ask what problems were encountered, what tools you need to be better equipped, what conversations or questions they had with people in the congregation. Most importantly, ask how they connected with God. Not just, "did you like the music" or "good message."

Creating this culture of weekly feedback should minimize grumbling, because critiques would be given in relation to the pastor's vision. Suggestions to improve are less likely to be taken personally.

3) Watch your language. Often, when speaking of "worship" we confine the term to "music." You may hear a pastor come to the platform and say to the musicians, "Thank you for leading us in a great time of worship." While I understand what that means, I've found it helpful to expand the perspective. Example, you may have noticed the reference to "Service of Worship" rather than "worship service;" and "devotions" rather than "meetings." Effective synchronization gets everything thinking similarly in sync with the vision.

It's easier to affect change when people understand the vision. Everyone is part of the Service of Worship, not just the singers and speakers. "Worship service" can be viewed as actions (and that's all right). "Service of Worship" creates a feeling of you tell me.

How can a church measure success in the improvement process?

A friend in my small group is a math teacher. During a study about spiritual growth, he wondered how it's measured. His words, "It's not quantifiable," stuck with me. While we have all sorts of data about all sorts of church growth-related stuff, I do believe spiritual growth and success can be quantified.

To wit:

More smiles. Too often the people who serve are so busy serving doing their jobs during the Service, they are not spiritually fed. Over time they can become dry, mechanical and lukewarm. Coming together collectively allows me to connect with God even in the busyness of work, and keeps me accountable.

New attitudes. Think of the corporate worship meeting beyond the timeline of the day. Pastor Rick Warren has said, "Man was made for worship." This means our lives are worship, 24/7. Music is part of worship, but not, the worship. Work is worship. "Work as to the Lord." So, individually, a critical part of advanced planning is for those participants to prepare to serve prior to the day of serving. For example, what is your Saturday night/Sunday morning routine? Are you meditating or rushing? Have you read the Scripture, outline or lyrics, or do you see them the first time when you arrive?

More spiritual growth. My friend is proof. I've seen him grow in relationships and his commitment to serving.

When it comes to growth among Service of Worship participants, you should see more enthusiasm, more commitment, less grumbling. Greater enjoyment serving. More smiles.

You may even see new people.

It comes down to everyone understanding the vision and taking time to study. , "be transformed by the renewal of your minds." And faces.


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