I’m spending time planning worship today. There are times when this becomes a task, but usually I am very blessed during the process. One important thing that I’ve learned over the years is how the Holy Spirit is very much a part of this. People often ask me “how do you decide what songs to sing?” …that’s a great question. There are so many influences and pieces to the puzzle each time I sit down to plan. Sometimes a complete worship order will be done in as little as 10 minutes, other times it will sit for a few days and I get frustrated that it’s not coming together…it’s much like writing a song or coming up with creative content for a blog, etc.
Songs come together for a variety of reasons. It could be the key, the style, or the lyrics. Sometimes there’s a specific theological component, sometimes there’s just a simple need for celebration, or maybe reflection and repentance. Then there are times when all of the elements seems to magically come together — that’s the Holy Spirit part! When that happens it’s very powerful. I can plan weeks in advance knowing, with confidence, that the Holy Spirit was guiding my task. This Sunday is one of the Holy Spirit-moving planning sessions for me and I’m looking forward to seeing the church blessed.
I take worship planning very seriously, it’s much like preparing a sermon. Most people understand and expect their preaching pastor to study and practice the sermon each week, to deliver it with good facts and a compassionate heart. Worship should be no different. Hours of planning, investigating, playing, singing, trying different keys, studying lyrics and themes, being mindful of the musical makeup of the worship team, knowing the heartbeat of your congregation, and more — these are the things that go into a well-planned worship planning session.
I love it when a plan comes together, and when the Holy Spirit makes his presence known (he’s always there) it’s a huge bonus…like a “bring a tear to my eye” bonus. And to top it off, there are times when my task was done and I didn’t necessary feel that bonus during the planning, but on game day it was clear how the Holy Spirit planned everything. A theme pops out that I didn’t see during the planning, or a lyric matches the content of the sermon, etc.
At the end of the day it’s comforting to know that doing kingdom work is worth the effort and sacrifice. Whatever your gift is to the church (Read Ephesian 4:11-12) make sure you invite the Holy Spirit into your task!