Worship Planning

There seems to be a growing concern for the need of worship planning resources. Ministers of Music and Worship Leaders from across the globe are searching for new ways to plan and lead worship. We feel a deep need to be creative in our worship planning. There seems to be a trend of always needing something new in our worship services. The pursuit of better dramas, special music, the use of various arts in worship are at an all time high. What is behind this never ending searching for something new?

To answer this question we have to look at what we are trying to accomplish in our worship services. Who do we plan for? What is the outcome we are seeking in our worship experiences? We know the answers to these questions. God is who we worship. He is the focus of our worship. We tend to forget that our worship services should be designed to lead people in worshiping God. They should not be designed to be mere entertainment for the people. When we plan, do we ask ourselves, “What would God desire of His people this week?”

The trap of every minister who plans worship is to get caught up in people. We need to move away from trying to please people when our goal is to please the Lord. What a disservice to the Kingdom of God to focus His worship on those who are called to worship Him!

How do we plan our worship? Using all the elements that are acceptable to God, we should plan accordingly. The two goals or focuses of worship planning should be:

1. How can we better glorify God in the service we are planning?

2. How can we help lead and teach His children to better worship Him?

Remember in your planning you must strive to keep the focus true. We get pressure from our pastor, the people, and even our own ministry peers to be more creative. We try to top the week before in our production and musical efforts. These are not bad goals…when kept in proper prospective. The pursuit of perfection is a Biblical one. However, we need to pursue it to please God and not man.

So what can we do to better plan our worship services? First we need to pray. Pray that God will lead us first and foremost. It’s easy to call a friend or get on a web site to get new ideas for worship. It’s better to spend time in prayer, asking God what He desires out of our worship. Prayer, scripture, music, preaching, and teaching are all elements of worship that we have at our disposal. We don’t need to fancy these things up…we need to teach our people what worship is about. It’s not about me. It’s about God and what we give to Him because He is worthy of it. Keep these things in focus and your worship planning will bring on a new freshness. Spend time in prayer over each aspect of the service and watch God move. Teach your people to be worshipers and you will observe them grow hungry for things of the Spirit and not of the world. Plan to create an atmosphere that will draw people to God and you will find little need to seek outside input. Worship is a simple act. Give to God the glory due Him through a life of obedience to His word and will. 

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Steve Newman
Stephen M. Newman is the author of Experiencing Worship, A Study of Biblical Worship, and Founder & Editor of ExperiencingWorship.com. Steve currently serves as Pastor of Worship, McKinney Memorial Bible Church, Fort Worth, Texas. Steve has extensive experience in both traditional and contemporary worship styles and has been serving in music and worship capacities since 1982. Steve earned a Bachelor of Music degree with emphasis in Church Music from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1986. He has also earned Master's of Worship Ministry and Doctorate of Worship Ministry from Christian Leadership Seminary, Elma, New York. Used by permission of ExperiencingWorship.

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