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Content about Worship programs -- Planning

June 1, 2010

Early this year I began working on an article for RW on the liturgical use of difficult psalms. Then on January 12 we received the news that an earthquake had struck the island nation of Haiti. By Sunday it was evident that the number of people killed, injured, or homeless would be measured in the hundreds of thousands. That Sunday morning I worshiped with two different congregations. The first congregation offered impassioned prayers for Haiti, but in a liturgical context that did not deviate from the plans laid out earlier in the week.

March 1, 2010

Planning a service that incorporates staff, volunteers, and a congregation can feel like a particularly daunting task. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel—while each church is unique, there are general planning techniques that can be helpful to almost any worship planner. Our church finds the following outline helpful. It is not a detailed map, but it does provide the fundamentals. The trick is for each church to find what works best for its own staff, volunteers, and congregation.

June 1, 2009

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses on the church door at Wittenberg—an action that helped to spark the Protestant Reformation. Protestants of various backgrounds commemorate this act on the Sunday closest to Reformation Day (October 31) each year. In fact, all believers are indebted to the Reformers’ courageous stand for the purity of the gospel over against virtually all the civil and ecclesiastical forces of their day, armed only with an unshakable confidence in God and his Word. Many were persecuted; some paid with their lives.

June 1, 2009

In early September, many churches begin a new season of church education classes and a host of other programs with a special “kick-off” worship service. Most often these services focus on a theme of dedication, and there never seems to be enough songs with words like “Take My Life and Let It Be.” While this is a strong theme, it can also focus a lot of attention on the enormous outpouring of busyness the new year promises.

June 1, 2009

In this article Bob Langlois addresses that critical period of time before the worship service: the sound check. This can often be a frustrating time with too many leaders and not enough followers, and it can turn pretty ugly if someone doesn’t take charge. Langlois suggests that that person needs to be the sound engineer. —JB

June 1, 2009
Week 1

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

Scripture

Mark 1:40-45

June 1, 2009

People often ask, “How can we improve or renew our worship?” My response is that we should restore the central things and practice them robustly, using contemporary forms rooted in the practices of John Calvin, a sixteenth-century pastor and liturgical reformer. Even though Calvin is most widely known as a systematizer (Institutes, 1536-1559) and exegete (Commentaries on almost all the books of the Bible), the twenty-first century church should not ignore his leadership in liturgical renewal.

March 1, 2009

Resources for Planning Worship

When you plan worship services year after year, it’s easy to fall into a rut and start repeating the same phrases and images. Keeping up with new resources can help you resist this temptation. Of course, no resource is a perfect fit for every church, but you can use the following resources to spark new ideas and adapt them to your own situation.

March 1, 2009

Sunday after Sunday, year after year, young people across the country participate in worship. What difference does it make in their lives? Most people believe that worship has a formative influence on the worshiper. But how do we understand that influence? What keeps youth involved in church and bolsters their faith?

December 1, 2008

The Revised Common Lectionary offers a three-year plan of Scripture readings (Years A, B, and C). The Lectionary does this so that once every three years, public worship services can include readings from every book of the Bible.

December 1, 2008

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”
—Jonah 2:8-9

“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” “And now one greater than Jonah is here.”
—Matthew 12:39, 41

December 1, 2008

Every time our worship planning team faces another major season of the church year, the same nagging worry creeps into the back of our minds: Can we come up with any new creative ideas for this season? You’ve probably been there too (which is why you’re cruising this periodical for ideas, right?).

Every year I stick to my guns and assure the team that all we need to do is open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit, listen with curiosity to the pastor’s ideas for the next sermon or series, and be faithful in collaboration.

December 1, 2008

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:
praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance:
praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals:
praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
—Psalm 150:3-5, KJV

December 1, 2007

This sunrise service began with contemplative instrumental music. Because the service was held indoors, a picture of a sunrise was projected on the screen before the service and during each of the prayer/reading segments. Parts for Reader 1 were adapted from an Easter prayer titled “Lord God, Early in the Morning,” from Stages on the Way by John L. Bell and Wild Goose Worship Group © 2000, GIA Publications, Inc. p. 184)

Call to Worship: “Come into His Presence” CH 420, SNC 3, SFL 4, WR 119

December 1, 2007

In RW 85, Corwin Smidt wrote an article on politics and worship from a United States perspective (“Pulpit Politics: Are They Oil and Water?” RW 85). This time we’ve invited a couple of Canadians to give their perspective on the same topic.
—Editors

December 1, 2007

During Lent 2004, our church focused on its furnishings as a way of learning how God uses the ordinary things in our lives to make the common holy.

June 1, 2007

I have been leading worship at my church for about a year and a half. My partners are a talented praise band that includes a number of professional musicians. I am learning how to respond when people tell me they liked the music, and I usually take the opportunity to express my appreciation for the others who make my amateur fiddling and singing seem better than it is. But one Sunday morning, a remark from a member of my congregation really started me thinking.

June 1, 2007

June 1, 2007

At a summer planning meeting on her back porch, Laura Smit, Dean of the Chapel at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, mentioned a Psalm Festival she had done with her church in Boston—all 150 Psalms in one night. That sounded like a great project for Calvin College.

March 1, 2007

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know we’re not always in the “right” frame of mind to plan or lead worship. Much as we might hate to admit it, outside factors do affect our view of worship at a Tuesday night planning meeting or a Sunday morning service. We may be struggling with financial issues, grieving the loss of a friend, or dealing with a family member’s difficult illness. Or we may just be tired and crabby after a long day or a traffic jam.

June 4, 2004

I was struck by a question asked by a California reader in the previous issue of Reformed Worship: “I’m too concerned for the details of the service to really enter into worship. Any advice?” (RW 71, p. 44). That’s one problem.

A deeper problem arises when a worship leader is too burdened—for whatever reason—to be able to worship, and yet is called to lead others. That’s another kind of problem.

March 4, 2004

The Worship Sourcebook stands in a long tradition of worship books in the Christian church. The biblical Psalms may well have functioned as a prayer book for the people of Israel. Some of the earliest Christians compiled their advice about forms and patterns of worship into church order documents, the first of which, the Didache, dates back perhaps into the first century a.d. Over time, especially in the early medieval period, these documents grew very complex, with detailed instructions about every aspect of worship.

June 2, 2002
1/7 Pre-planning

Brian just called with his text and theme for this Sunday’s LOFT. Matt. 6:33—“First Things First.”

March 2, 2002
4/10 Working Group

After another dreadfully distracting prayer at chapel today (of the earnestly meandering sort), we talked about how wonderful it would be if everyone who leads worship on campus—in whatever capacity—could receive some rudimentary worship training. Not a seminar, not even a workshop—just some basics about speaking and singing, and a basic theology of worship too.