In this video I break down what our service order typically is like at Newhope Church where I lead worship. It’s not always like this (often we will move things like the welcome/announcements, offering, etc around), but this is an order that we will use quite often. I used an actual service where I led worship (from May 22, 2016) as the template for this video.
The video is a bit long (20 mins), but I go into a bit of detail explaining the reasoning behind the choices we make, but here are a few tips when planning a service:
First, every church is different
I’ve been involved in many churches over the years, and every church does things a bit differently, and that’s a good thing. The order of service plays a huge roll in the culture of a church. This is not my opinion on how all churches should go about an order of service, but just what it’s like at my own church.
Peaks and valleys
Our pastor (Pastor Benji Kelley) often says that great worship experience is full of highs and lows. Plan high energy elements. Plan serious elements. Plan humorous elements. Plan deep/slow/worshipful elements. Another thing Pastor Benji says (and I 100% agree with) is that it is basically a sin to make church boring. And how many worship services have you attended that were boring? (Most of them is probably the right answer).
Be extremely intentional
Nothing (and I will say again – nothing) (one more time – NOTHING) should be left up to chance in your worship service. Plan it all out with as much detail as you possibly can.
Who is leading which songs? What keys are they in? Exactly how are you getting from the first song to the second song? Exactly how are you getting from the second song to the welcome/announcement time? Who is speaking during that time? How much time do they have? Exactly what are they going to say? What audio/video/lighting elements are happening at any given point of the service? How are you getting from the message to the song right after?
If you do not spell these things out exactly as they should go, things will absolutely go wrong, and if they don’t you just got lucky. You won’t get lucky every time :).
Everything you do should point toward vision
Don’t know what the vision of your church is? Then work on that. But once you have a clear vision, literally everything your church does should fulfill that vision. If you’re doing something that doesn’t directly tie into vision, then stop doing it.
Transitions are probably one of the biggest make-or-break elements of a service. Plan them out, practice them, and then execute.
I’ve heard people talk about approaching a service with this level of planning and execution before, and inevitably I’ve heard the response…
You are manipulating people… You are not allowing the Holy Spirit to move…, etc.
I’m sure you’ve heard it too. You may be thinking it right now. I would respectfully disagree.
In the Bible we see a God who is full of order. Over and over again He brings order to chaos. He specifically spells out things for His people (check out how specific His plans for the Ark or the Temple were). I believe we should approach a worship service with the same level of order, planning, excellence, and execution. I believe it honors God, because it reflects Him. When we enter into a service with this level of planning and thought, I believe it encourages the movement of the Holy Spirit rather than stifles it.
One of the reasons I believe this is because of the illustration of the God of order, but maybe the biggest reason I believe this is because of personal experience. I’ve been in countless services where we just ‘winged it’ for a lot of service elements. When I compare and contrast those services with the services where we have been extremely planned out and detailed, the latter have almost always been far more powerful.
Download my typical order of serviceTypical order of service at my church (PDF)
Share your experiences
How are your services different? How are they similar? Disagree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below.