I’m excited for this seminar because I suck at this and really need help. Planning for worship involves spread sheets and sitting in a room and talking about 6 months from now. A lot of detail and I don’t do well with that. I value it and I want to be good at it and I want to use it as a tool to serve the church better. So here we go.
Its lead by some dudes named Jim Donohue and Joseph Stigora. Jim Donahue is an executive pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Philly. An executive pastor oversees the church in it’s executive matters. Imagine that. Things like staffing, planning, organizing etc. I wish we had an executive pastor. Oh well.
He’s going to share with how they do things where he is and how we might use that.
I’m going to give you some statements from his outline and then ask you some things as it relates to Crew:
• “As the service goes, so goes the church”. What do you think of that Crew? I’d love to hear. Is that an overstatement or not?
• Challenge to Leaders: Resist the temptation to not give our best efforts to Sunday. Resist the temptation to do whatever will grow the church size. Resist being lazy about planning Sundays (this might be me).
• Every Sunday is meant to be a great day. Do you anticipate Sunday or is it blah? Do you feel jacked to encounter God through worship on Sundays?
• Don’t aim to be creative, aim to be intentional. He doesn’t mean that creativity is bad, but if our goal is creativity then we’ll distract from the most important issue of worship God. Creativity will be our God. We’ll also develop a culture of expectation of us to continually trying to outdo ourselves or other churches or entertain people. He also mentions that creativity starts out man centered, whereas intentionality starts out God centered.
• The goal of our Sun. morning service is for people to celebrate God’s grace in the gospel, apply God’s Word, pursue mutual edification, and encounter God’s presence.
- Prepare my heart first
- a. Practice spiritual disciplines.
- b. Make my goal the glory of God. Do you feel that this is what we’re about at Crew? Be honest. Tell me if you feel we are seeking another goal.
- c. Prepare for people, not meetings. I really like this point. As we prepare our meetings I need to think specifically of the people who are gathering and what they are facing and what we’re going through.
- d. Pray for each part of the meetings. I do this and will continue to do so. I ask that each ministry team leader however begin to do this if you don’t already. Pray for who’s up on the schedule. Pray for what special announcement is happening. Things like that.
- e. Listen for the Spirit of God
- f. Recognize that things may go wrong. Our goal is not a polished service. We are not professionals.
- Senior Pastor: Actively planning what the ministry year looks like.
- Annual retreat to plan Sunday morning sermon series
- Spend extended time in prayer
- Sunday (creative) team and the extended team (creative laypeople). Be looking for creative ways to better communicate what we’re doing. Get a combination of dreamers and doers. This applies to the sermon series, music, videos, communion. Think out 3-6 months out. Baby dedication, baptisms, etc. Last’s about 4 hours.
- Monthly Sunday team meeting
- Intentionality is a responsible goal for every public meeting.
- The best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas.
- Watch your Sunday planning message by Josh Harris and Bob Kauflin , 2007 Sovereign Grace Leaders Conference.
- Pastors with Sunday morning responsibilities.
- Weekly planning meeting on Tues. mornings.
- Bring evaluation and review.
- a. They talk about ½ an hour and review the different elements of the previous week. Don’t go too long in this process. And don’t be nitpicky. Some things can be critiqued personally rather than called out in this meeting. Do this with grace.
- b. Focus evaluation on the preaching. This is the most important aspect that it be right.
A. Corporate Singing
- Remember that pastors are the primary worship leaders. I personally leaned over and told Sean that I have failed in this area and that I’m going to do better. I have essentially given our song leaders the theme and then asked them to take the music and the transitions etc and thought “Ok, they’ve got that”. I need to be more active even though I may delegate that aspect to their leadership. We are going to be working closer and more actively together in the future. This will serve you well Crew.
- Choose songs that emphasize the character and nature of God and that are rich in the gospel themes.
- Pray for and expect God’s active presence.
a. Be ready to respond to spontaneous direction God may bring through prayer or impressions
b. Our time together expressing worship to God should be characterized by God’s active presence with us, evidenced through varied spiritual gifts.
- Consider spreading singing throughout the meeting or singing at the end. Our music leaders do a very good job at this. Good work!
This is a great slot for communicating values, demonstrating grace at work in the church, and using creative elements. You want this to feel like a family moment. I like that line. Also, there is probably a whole blog worth of what I’ve learned about announcements from this conference. They do it very well. It is a worship event and it’s fun and you learn about the personality of these people and what’s important and they do it right in the middle of the service and they equip folks and on and on and on. Look for a blog on that later next week. Hold me to that too please.
- Be intentional and biblical
- An opportunity to equip the church in priorities and faith.
- Prepare your message to serve and apply, not impress.
- Recognize the relentless presence of the fear of man which tempts us to use preaching as an invitation for people to stroke our egos and idols.
- See 2008 Sovereign Grace preaching conference.
E. The Lord’s Supper and Baptism
- Purpose to make these meaningful and intentional
- These are pastoral and grace filled events, not rituals.
- Target the “points of life” during the message—what points had a noticeable impactd on the people.
- Move quickly to identify ministry targets or bring application
- Resist the temptation to recap the message
- Use worship songs to help people focus on God’s grace and gospel
- When calling for repentance, reinforce God’s activity within them.
- Consistent how you can reinforce values in closing.
- Don’t forget the guests.
Out of this I’m realizing and being affirmed here with Sean that this is really a role for me. I should be ending our services.
This has been most helpful to me practically and spiritually. I needed some serious direction in this area and I have a head full of ideas and hands full of tools with which to improve. Thanks so so much guys. You know what, I’m emotionally charged right now, so forgive me if I go overboard, but this has been the best conference I’ve ever been to. It is so well balanced between the glory of God in the cross of Christ (THE MAIN POINT), but we’re not left without practical tools to help us make much of Christ within our church at a street level.