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As each week passes by we eventually reach a point where we ask what can I do differently this week? How can I keep the congregation engaged? What songs should I pick this week? It becomes a real challenge week in and week out plan a service you feel will be meaningful for people, be edifying for people, serve as outreach for the many different people that are in that room at the time, be fresh, and be relevant. And we have to accomplish all this within the span of 20-30 minutes and a few moments during an altar call.

I’ve compiled a list of suggestions and ideas to help us with service planning and preparation.

1. Pray – Wow! What a concept. But the reality is, how many times have we put together a list of songs and thought of different things we would like to do or say in a service without much or any consultation with God. Unfortunately, more often than not, this has happened in my case. Not that I don’t pray or spend time with God, but when it comes to actual service planning, many times I have not stopped and asked God, “Lord, what you like in your service this coming Sunday?”

…if the service is to God, for God and about God, Wouldn’t be wise of us to begin by asking God what He wants our worship to look like? Well, what things should I ask? God, what do You want the service to look like? God, what songs do You want sung? God, do You want any scripture read?God, do You want anyone to give a testimony of Your grace?

Jim Willams @ Gotworship.net

It makes sense doesn’t it? I want to encourage those of us who do plan services, that those times we do spend in prayer, we ask these questions to God and we meditate upon it and seek a direction from Him. Those that don’t plan services but do participate (musicians, techs, vocalists), I encourage you to ask God questions like, what role do you want me to take this week? What can I do to help the Worship Leader this Sunday? What can I do to ensure that my part in the songs complement the Worship Team and doesn’t bring attention unto me? I truly believe specific prayer for the Worship Team will dramatically improve our service to God.

2. Find Ways to Make The Worship Interactive – What I mean by this is to find different ways to make the congregation feel like they to are a part of the Worship Team and they are not only there to watch the band “perform”. How can we do this?

A. Encouraging lifting of hands, closing of eyes, jumping for joy, etc. During the song inviting the women only to sing a certain part, now let’s hear the men, now just the kids, etc. (Pastor and Bro. Rudy has done this on occasion)
B. The worship leader can ask for the music to completely stop and the singers to back away from their microphones so the congregation can be heard.
C. Make eye contact. We cannot just start the first song close our eyes and forget the congregation. We have to keep them involved. I for one need to work on this.

3. Allow for Spontaneous Moments – I believe this will come with the personal prayer time you have with God and the moments you are meditating on the music for the service. God can lead you to feel that maybe there’s a specific song or moment during the service where you can break away from the program or the set list and do something different. Speak to the music director (he’s the tall handsome guy 😉 ) and tell him you are feeling like you may  ____________ during a song or after a song, but be specific. I know it doesn’t seem like I’m being consistent, be spontaneous but be specific. What I’m saying is be spontaneous in your worship and in your words in the moment, but let’s be specific with the technical aspects such as: during what song, after what part, chord progressions, dynamics, bridges, and any other details we can go ahead and workout for a possible moment of spontaneity.

4. Song Selection – Just because a song has a flashy beat, a cool lyric, a catchy hook, and some energy it doesn’t make it a good selection for Worship. Let’s pick songs that lift up God, talk about what God is, what He’s doing, what He has done, how great He is, how awesome He is, etc. Let’s not pick songs that talk about us. For example, Somos el Pueblo de Dios. This song is great song. It has it’s place and it has it’s time. But the main subject matter of the song is us, and us is not as great as God. Like I said there is a time for everything, but if we are doing Worship let’s make sure we are worshipping the right person. Which leads us to our last point.

5. Remember It’s all About Him – If we can realize that it’s truly all about him and not about the worship leader and not about the band, then it will be a bit easier to create an atmosphere in the room of true worship. That’s when God’s presence will visit us and what could be fresher than a strong wind of God’s spirit and a cool rain of God’s love on his people?