Planning a Worship Service
My husband and I serve in one of our local nursing homes on Sunday to provide a worship service for the people who live in the home. We mostly served in the area of preaching during the worship service, but we have been taking a more active role in other areas since sometimes we are the only ones who attend from our church. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to plan the worship service. I was excited to be able to plan an order of liturgy, and to use some of the skills I used when I was serving in Yellowstone a few years back. We planned ten services for Sunday in Yellowstone, and organizing and coordinating the liturgy was important for the success and sustainability of the ten services for the whole summer.
Sometimes in the Pentecostal tradition, people will say we are led by the Spirit and we don’t have a planned liturgy or order for worship. Actually, we do have a planned order. In most Pentecostal services I have attended there is a service opener, several songs, announcements and offering, more songs, preaching or exhortations, and altar call. There used to be a time for public testimony and spoken prayer requests, but as the size of churches have grown and as service times have decreased I haven’t seen these as much. I did see a church one time which prerecorded testimonies and shared them during offering time, and it was very creative and effective. Not all Pentecostal churches will have the same order in the service, but usually the three elements of music, prayer, and The Word will be present. Even in the early 1900’s in the Pentecostal house churches, there would be singing, praying, and a message.
Have you ever wondered about service and worship planning? Here is a picture of the worship service I planned for yesterday.
You will notice the service begins with welcome, introductions, and announcements. It is important that these come at the beginning instead of in the middle of a service. When they are in the middle of the service, they interrupt the flow of the service. You will also notice a balance between music and The Word. Instead of allowing the music to be the focus of the service, The Word takes precedence. You will also notice several opportunities planned into the order for response. Response is an important element. Giving people the opportunity to pray bring their requests to God and the people, and expression of emotions is important. Notice how the Bulletin gives the words for the songs, and for the public response of The Lord’s Prayer. Notice, I also included the names of those who wrote the songs and music to give them credit for their work. Churches often give this information on the PowerPoint’s, so they don’t violate copyright laws. This order of service works for the nursing home, but does not have every element of a service. It doesn’t include communion or offering because of the setting of the service.
What are your thoughts? What do you think about service planning?
Notice: The Worship Service is defined as all of the elements of the service, not only the music. Sometimes Pentecostals refer to the worship service as the music only, but actually the worship service is the whole service.
If you are interested in planning and leading worship services, I recommend the book Preaching and Leading Worship by William H. Willimon. It is an excellent book.
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