Ministry Spotlight: Music and Worship Ministry
Planning a worship service includes all the details of coordination and management you might expect: scheduling, proofreading slideshows, rehearsals, filing music, equipment maintenance, and so on. These are absolutely essential to the work, of course, but they are the means by which plans are carried out. Planning intentional, cohesive services actually begins with collaboration.
Every week the pastoral team meets to discuss the important details of the upcoming services, with a primary focus on the sermon text and its themes. Through this time of study, conversation, and prayer, the Holy Spirit calls to mind particular themes for the particular people at Hope Church that Sunday. My involvement in that process means our worship is integrated with the preaching, not separate from it. Alongside that, the worship team is also in collaboration on varying elements each week such as song choice, musical transitions, and sharing leadership responsibilities. Considering that liturgy is literally “work for/of the people,” intentional, cohesive services start with intentional, cohesive community. And this is where I see God at work most frequently: he is shaping and equipping us as worshippers by our gathering together in the rhythms of worship.
Next is putting the specifics in place of what we sing and say. Planning these things essentially means putting words in people’s mouths, and that should not be taken lightly! All of our content should be biblical and God-centered, which means the language of our worship is extremely important. I ask questions like:
- What are we saying/singing and why?
- Do these words fit with our theology?
- Are we using “me” or “us” language? Is God addressed as “him” or “you”? What does that communicate and how will it fit into our liturgy?
There is room in corporate worship for a wide variety of expressions and genres, and part of the beauty (and the challenge!) of planning worship is balancing those purposes intentionally. Certainly our worship must focus first on Christ and the glory of God, but that is cultivated most when the congregation is served well too. Vocal range, familiarity, and frequency of use are significant issues to thoughtfully consider so that our worship can be accessible without being either stale or unpredictable.
Perhaps the best part in all of this planning is that I am acutely aware of what was not planned. On a weekly basis I get to watch threads come together that we had not even considered. To make use of the image in Psalm 127, planning worship serves as a beautiful reminder that although we are graciously called to participate in crafting things, it is the Lord who builds the house. And I want to invite you into that. First, please pray for the Holy Spirit to continually guide and inhabit our worship, especially as we turn from a posture of “pivoting” over the last two years to a posture of growing opportunities. Second, if you sing or play an instrument and desire to be involved, there is room for you! I would love to meet with you and talk more about how you can participate. Email me!
It is truly a privilege to join my voice with yours as we “ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name,” and I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday.
Soli Deo Gloria,