10 Ways to Avoid Mishaps in Worship

Excellence is a great goal for our worship services each week. But as part of a local church ministry, we are faced with imperfection—not only with our own fallen nature and limited skills—but also with our volunteers, those who share ministry from the stage with us. Even though we put a premium on excellence, our primary goal is to see lives changed for Christ, and we are charged with the duty and honor of loving, leading and ministering to our team members and congregation.

We cannot avoid the possibility of mishaps during our services. It’s not a question of “if” they will happen, but “when”! Without a game plan of how to handle these intrusions, we can be completely thrown off guard when these distractions raise their ugly little heads.

Here are 10 considerations from my upcoming book, Worship Foundry, to help avoid being derailed during a worship service.


With any performance, things have the potential to go wrong: microphones can stop working; the power can fail—causing silence and darkness; music cues can be missed, etc. Whether it’s human error or just some freak accident, problems will arise.

In any event, our greatest ally is preparation. A thousand mistakes, and an equal number of equipment failures, can potentially be avoided by thinking through every possible technical, musical or transitional weakness that may be lurking in our weekly worship plan. Paranoia about something going wrong during a worship service shouldn’t rule our planning process, though. If we plan far enough out from the performance, with plenty of time to process the program design—while utilizing the talent and wisdom of our planning team—we can anticipate problems and make corrections.

As I have written before, a seamless flow is necessary when leading our congregations on a weekly worship journey, helping to focus their full and active attention on Christ during the song set and while communicating the message of the Gospel. When things go wrong, the congregant’s attention is deflected away from the intended focus and toward the distraction. This destroys that precious state of mind which every skilled communicator works for: the place where the audience is no longer self-aware, time flies and they are fully engaged in the moment.

There are two areas to consider when dealing with things that can go wrong during a performance: the stage and the audience. Here are 10 crucial things to keep in mind that may help avoid the most serious of problems.