Worship Service Planning 101: Preacher MIA But Manuscript Is Gold

by Bobby Gilles

in Church Communications

A church campus, built in 1915 as an elementary school, rests at the corner of Silver and Ekin. It’s only 8:30am, but Mother Nature has already brought the community to its knees in an August heatwave. It’s just another morning in Anytown, USA. Inside, a church creative team prepares for the coming Sunday’s worship service.

They’re in the final week of a sermon series on the book of Daniel called Stand: Staying Strong In A World Of Chaos. Pastor Travis McGowan will preach Daniel 6 (see the various ways this church creates pieces of communication that come out of these weekly meetings here). Travis, a non-staff pastor, is unable to attend this meeting but has sent his sermon manuscript to the gang.

This Week’s Players (in alphabetical order)

  • Lindsey Blair – Women’s Director
  • Bobby Gilles – Associate Pastor
  • Jonah Sage – Lead Pastor
  • Justin Shaffer – Worship Director

Bobby: Travis couldn’t make it. Let’s go over some procedural things and then maybe we can pass through his sermon, and talk about the liturgy.

First, we need to raise up more volunteer slide operators. It’s killing me back there when I have to fill in on slides as well as operate the live stream and recordings, answer questions, and whatever else. I felt bad that I was late with several slides this Sunday but I literally couldn’t juggle it all.

Jonah: You should not be doing all of that.

Lindsey: How many volunteers do we have?

Justin: It’s dwindled down to just a few.

Bobby: I’ll cast vision for it in this week’s eNewsletter. I’m basically going to say, ‘Hey ya’ll — personal request. I need help. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why was the slide guy so slow to click over to the chorus,’ maybe this is the job for you.”

Justin: Right on. We’ve been so thin on the soundboard team that the slides haven’t been on my radar very much.

Bobby: Speaking of sound: since this week’s sermon is Daniel and the Lion’s Den, it would be fun to play the Veggie Tales songs on the speakers right after the service.

Jonah: I don’t know any Veggie Tales songs.

Bobby: (sings) “Oh, no, what we gonna do / the king likes Daniel more than me and you.”

Lindsey and Justin laugh, politely.

Lindsey: So I’m doing the announcements and the scripture reading. The big announcements are the Bake-off and the new Marriage series?

Bobby: Yes. I’ll send the script by tomorrow. You already know what you want to say about the Great Baptist Bake-off, right?

Lindsey: Yeah … that I don’t bake. I want to reassure women that they can come and fellowship, without having to participate in the bake-off.

Justin: Right on. Looks at Pastor Travis’s sermon manuscript. I can’t explain how endearing some of Travis’s turns of phrase are (the direction in his manuscript: “I will conclude with the Lord’s Supper and an appeal to the lost”).

Bobby: His whole way of doing a manuscript is so robust. All those margin notes to indicate what he’s doing: Need. Textual Idea. Sermon Idea. Transition. Reading. Division Statement 1. Explanation. Illustration. Argumentation. Application

Jonah: Those subpoints he’s got are so good  — A) faithfulness is marked by longevity. B) Faithfulness is marked by consistency. C) Faithfulness is marked by doxology.

Justin: Yeah, I can’t wait to hear it.

With the liturgy, we’re kicking off with “Daniel Prayed” (the bluegrass standard). The gang watches a Youtube performance by Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless.

For the Call To Worship, we’ll pray through Habakkuk 3:2-4. The we’ll continue in Habakkuk for the Confession (either 3:16-19 or 17-19). If I go with the shorter section I was thinking of using Peterson’s The Message. Maybe we’ll follow that with “Good, Good Father” or Cosper’s “Faithful.”

Then we may go back to John 3:16 for the Assurance (following the appearance of that text in last week’s sermon), before leading up to the Passing of the Peace and sermon with “Grace Upon Grace.”

We’ll do “God’s Highway” as the Communion song but I’m not sure on a song for the sending yet. We’ll say a benediction Psalm 121:7-8.

Pastor Jonah plays “Old Town Road” again, like last week. And, once again, the meeting breaks down.

Did they sing “Good, Good Father” or “Faithful” after the Call To Worship … or something else entirely? What about the sending song? Did they read John 3:16 as the Assurance? For answers to these and other questions, see yesterday’s Christian Liturgy 101: How One Church Worshiped post.

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