Here is where the rubber hits the road. This is where the vision casting and planning starts taking shape. Here is where you’ll hear my mantra:
“Everything we do for the service we do to impact someone and help open the door to their heart for God to speak into them, no matter if it’s the first time they’ve stepped into church or the 1,000th time”.
It doesn’t matter the vision being cast or the plan, that should be the 100% focus working up to the step of organization. Pin it up in every room used for planning and implementing the worship service. Repeat it as part of the pre-meeting prayers (You do have pre-meeting prayers, don’t you? If not, prepare to fail, because you haven’t invited God to be present and guide you).
Organization of Elements
A great definition of organize is, “to form as or into a whole consisting of interdependent or coordinated parts, to put (oneself) in a state of mental competence to perform a task.” (dictionary.reference.com) How do we organize our ideas and make them a reality?
- We have the vision of what we wish to communicate to the congregation.
- We’ve planned out the service order.
- Time to put that plan into operational sequencing!
Look at the service order with the pastor, worship leader, and technical leader. Everyone has an area of expertise dependent on another. As team leaders, it’s important to bring in other members of the team to get them on board and committed to the vision. Organize each element into logical teams.
For example, if the sanctuary needs to have a certain look and feel, then bring in the folks that will the work. Bring them in early so they get vested and take ownership. If the worship music needs to have a certain look with the lyric presentation then bring in the video techs and have them start finding appropriate backgrounds and transition times. Nothing ruins the mood of worship music faster than having a fast transition between slides for a slow, soulful song.
How should the communion time go? Dim lights, rearrangement of the sanctuary, acoustic music? Keep in mind the mood you are attempting to convey for the service. If you’ve got a somber, introspective service planned you certainly don’t want a lively, comedic video.
Make sure any videos being considered for the service should be screened by all involved.
The Three Part Song Selection Model
Worship music easily determines the mood for service. This comes from song selection and arrangement. There’s no “one recipe” for worship flow but I’ve had the below model work for me. Note, every congregation is different so this might not be ideal for your situation.
- The opening song is usually upbeat. Gets the blood pumping and many times people are still coming in and haven’t prepared themselves in advance to get into worship.
- Next song is a call to worship. This is what starts opening hearts. Select a song accordingly.
- After that it depends on the vision. If the service is meant to have a somber tone I’ll start dialing down the songs, ending with a soulful, cry out to God type song. The one thing you don’t want to do is to have worship mood be different from the sermon mood. Remember, we’re trying to open people’s hearts to receive God.
Technical leaders, get with the worship leader and go through the songs verse by verse, noting the dynamics of the song on your run sheet. You are as much a part of the worship team as any of the members. That knowing the songs and the way the band is going to perform them. You have the ability to affect the dynamics of the song and subsequently can help the band make the song more powerful.
DO NOT do this is you and the worship leader haven’t built the trust that is necessary to do this seamlessly and invisibly. Nothing is worse than a sound tech bringing up or down the levels of the various instruments or vocals at the wrong time, or worse yet doing it out of sequence with the dynamics that the band is doing. If you don’t know when you should adjust the dynamics, don’t do it.
Depending on the church you may have a control over the lighting or none at all. If you have lighting control, both on the stage and overall, you also need to have your light tech as part of the organizational meeting. As with sound, there comes the ability to control the congregation’s mood and receptivity toward worship and the sermon through appropriate lighting.
Don’t get caught up in the must-do-everything-big syndrome. Some of the most effective and impactful moments I’ve experienced, in churches, were when things were kept simple and everything focused on feeling God come into the house. You can plan, organize, practice and implement everything, but when God comes into the house, He takes over.
Keep your heart open to hear His voice and His direction. There will be ministry times when God’s presence has blessed the congregation in a way that is mind-blowing and you just sit there, in tears, feeling His hand heal people in the congregation. That’s when you follow His lead and everything else goes out the window. You change songs, you stop, you listen, you feel and you are blessed.
Next up, tackling the monster in the closet; Practicing.