Does your congregation have a Philosophy of Worship? I recently came across a very well-written philosophy of worship from ‘The Meeting Place’ church (TMP). If you are developing your own standards for your worship ministry, this is a good place to start.
Key Values for Your Philosophy of Worship
The guiding definition of worship at TMP is: Worship is our appropriate response to God’s self-revelation. An encounter with God involves strong and real emotions and clear thinking. The following values provide a center for your philosophy of worship, and boundaries that allow innovation to occur in a context of creative confidence.
Invitational and Evangelistic
A TMP worship experience creates a place were people can encounter and are invited to believe in Jesus Christ. Guests and regulars alike will know that God is real and reveals his presence among us. Worship must be Christo-centric, filled with joy, portray the gospel and invite specific response.
Assume nothing and Explain everything (little | lots)
Our Sunday morning worship experiences are targeted for those who are “exploring Christ” and “growing in Christ.” To do this effectively, we assume a zero to minimal biblical knowledge or Christian worldview. We recognize that basic Christian vocabulary must be explained often and that people do not have familiarity with even the most basic practices of prayer or public worship. Our aim is to meet people where they are at and move them toward a thriving relationship with Jesus.
We will sing, play, pray and teach in such a way that people’s attention will be drawn to the beauty and truth of the content. We value excellence as a tribute to God who is the source of creativity, and out of respect for those who have gathered. Bringing our absolute best is what we strive for.
Participation and Performance
We encourage and anticipate a strong participation during sung worship at TMP. We value music that is current, singable and expresses a full range of responses to God. Sung worship provides an excellent opportunity to teach how we are able to best relate to our heavenly Father. Performance songs are used to create engagement and help elevate teaching themes.
Creative and Consistent
We foster creativity in the arts as an essential part of our worship. We value creating consistent experiences so that everyone could describe with confidence what a guest would encounter in a worship service should they respond to an invitation to attend.
Honest and Transparent
TMP is a community of broken and restored people. This is valued through personal stories of transformation, illustration of truth using first person experience, and candor that values both grace and truth in the application of scripture.
Christo-centric and Biblical
A TMP worship service does not speak of or address God generically, we name the persons of the trinity specifically: Jesus who saves and reconciles us, the Father who forgives and adopts us as children, and Holy Spirit who indwells us and empowers us for mission. Overall our worship focuses on the person of Jesus Christ. The content of scripture will be woven through all we do in worship, and our singing, praying, poetry, drama, etc. will always conform to the truth of the Bible. We point out how scripture influences these creative ideas.
Prayer and Connection
In worship we model and explicitly teach what prayer is and how people can pray. In prayer we direct our concerns about our circumstance and this world to God, and in prayer we become a caring, repenting and renewed community. Worship gatherings both cultivate corporate prayer and provide opportunity for prayer ministry to those who would seek it.
Audiences we are specifically mindful of in shaping and leading worship:
- Our worship services will engage challenging content appropriate to both teenagers and adults.
- Our worship services are shaped with the knowledge that there are many people who are exploring Christianity who attend and participate.
- Our worship services consider the spiritual life continuum (exploring, growing, close & Christ-centred), and content is intended to engage growth of all by challenging the ‘Growing in Christ’ (the largest part of our community).
- There are many children and students involved in TMP Kids and Transit, and we must respect the time constraints of leaders and participants in these environments.
In addition to your philosophy of worship, it’s critical to have expectations for conduct for your music team.
Vision – We will be people who champion and live out the vision of The Meeting Place: Reordering our lives for the compassionate cause of Jesus in our friendships, city and world.
Rehearsals – Will be held on Thursday nights from 7:00 p.m.– 9:30 p.m. and are mandatory. We do our absolute best to be ready to play by 7 p.m., this honors one another’s time. Music will be made available in the correct keys two weeks prior to the rehearsal.
- We know and understand that we honor and respect one another by coming to rehearsal knowing our parts.
- Guitar players will be in contact with each other to determine parts.
- Vocalists will be in contact with each other to determine parts.
- The Worship Pastor and/or worship leader will make themselves available to address any concerns or answer any questions regarding parts, arrangements, keys, etc.
Sunday – The scheduled band will be at the church ready for sound check/rehearsal at 7a.m. (Times will change for special services and summer schedule.) The band will also attend the pre-service Blue Room meetings at 8:30 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.
Availability – It is our desire that Music Team members are serving once per month to gain ownership of and experience the journey/momentum throughout the year.
Attendance – We understand that our conduct off the stage will speak volumes to our community and that when in the congregation we are partnering with the scheduled team by leading from where we stand. Our aim is for 75 percent attendance; however, we also understand that there are extenuating circumstances.
Lifestyle – As Christ followers we are all called to make disciples. This implies that as worship leaders we are saying, “Do what I do.” We do not look for perfection, rather, we look to be people whose lives are pointing to Jesus and living for His Kingdom.
Disagreements/Conflict – Will be handled appropriately and without gossip or slander. The Worship Pastor will be made available to help resolve conflicts, address concerns and any pastoral needs.
Dress Code – Both men and women will dress in clean, well-fitting and appropriate clothes.