It’s clear in scripture that the purpose of music in the church is to 1) worship God (Psalm 150:3-4) and 2) teach God’s people (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
But when the worship pastor uses the flip-open-the-hymnal-and-point method (or the search-and-click method), just randomly picks songs, he is not adequately accomplishing those goals.
Been there. Done that.
Ok, so most worship pastors don’t just flip open a hymnal and point. But we all could give more attention to the impact of a service as a whole.
You have probably been in a service where not much attention was given to the whole. You probably have led one. And in those services, I’m sure the music impacted you. The songs still have impact when not put together as a cohesive whole.
But, when we have not intentionally looked at the whole, we may have missed an opportunity.
The impact of individual songs in a service is strengthened when there is intentionality.
So, I ask you, how can you intentionally take a few simple steps to deepen this coming Sunday’s service?
I have a few thoughts for you. Simple thoughts.
Here are 3 simple (and not exhaustive) steps you can take today to deepen next Sunday’s service and more effectively accomplish the scriptural goals of worship and education.
(This post assumes you are not already following some form of a liturgical format.)
1. Consider the Flow.
By flow, I’m not just talking about musical aspects, like tempo (begin with a fast song, move toward slower), although that can be a part of it.
I’m also not just talking about theme – again, a good part of the process.
I’m primarily talking about the flow of thought as you progress through the service. How is it all connected? What’s the purpose for singing each song, and how does it all fit together?
Are you moving the congregation through a journey – one of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and service?
If a theme based worship set, do the songs fit together well? Would one song work better before another instead of after?
Sometimes, the song choice is right, and all it takes to strengthen impact is switching the order.
2. Add a scripture transition between songs.
You can move from song to song in a variety of ways. You could have the instruments end the song, and you simply call out the next song. Even better, you could have a keyboard change keys, connecting the song musically to the next.
But the best way to move from one song to the next AND engage the minds of the people (especially before a familiar song when the mind tends to wander) is by choosing a passage of scripture that will lead the people toward the thoughts the hymn addresses.
God has promised to bless his word (Isaiah 55:10). Employ His Word to guide the thoughts of the people.
I think we would all do well to include more well placed scripture in our services.
3. Prepare Your Heart.
The first two steps are pointless if God is not leading you.
It is the Holy Spirit that works in hearts, and as we follow Him in our planning, He guides us to just what the people need for that service.
Pray as you are choosing songs. Pray as you fit them together. Pray when you get up Sunday morning. Pray before you step onto the platform.
And lead by example. The congregation will only be able to follow you where you are going. If you are not worshiping, you are not leading in worship. You are performing at best.
Nothing new. Just some simple reminders.
The music is about worshiping God and teaching the church truth. If you take these three simple steps early in the week, you can deepen the ability of the service to reach those goals.
You may have thoughts about this topic, and I would love to hear them. Share them in the comments section.
- Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice – This book has helped deepen my thinking about how a service’s flow should be shaped by the gospel. It also gives some great historical background on liturgies in various traditions and how they contain aspects of the gospel.