Worship Service Planning 101: You (Don’t) Complete Me, Preacher In Hiding, etc

by Bobby Gilles

in Church Communications

A church campus, built in 1915 as an elementary school, rests at the corner of Silver and Ekin. A squirrel menaces a nut. The sun also rises. It’s just another day in Anytown, USA. Inside, a church creative team prepares for the coming Sunday’s worship service.

They’re in the second week of a sermon series called Bliss Or Miss: Marriage In God’s Kingdom. Pastor Jonah is away on retreat, but will be back in time to preach. He has emailed his manuscript to the gang (see the various ways this church creates pieces of communication that come out of these weekly meetings here). 

This Week’s Players (in alphabetical order)

  • Lindsey Blair – Women’s Director
  • Bobby Gilles – Associate Pastor
  • Stephen Pierce — Family Pastor
  • Justin Shaffer – Worship Director

Lindsey: Is Jonah back?

Bobby: Jonah is supposedly away on a retreat this week, but he could be hiding somewhere in this room. Not a lot of people know this, but Jonah is the master of disguise.We can talk through some procedural things and then reflect on his manuscript (based on Acts 2:44-47) and Justin’s liturgy.

Justin: Now that we’ve got a team of new Pro Presenter slide operators, I’m going to get 12 weeks ahead on scheduling them.

Bobby: This would be a good week to train new ones at each service, since I’m out of the pulpit and I don’t have any classes or other things to attend to.

Lindsey: Are we still going to do the training for the new ladies on the Announcements & Scripture reading team?

Bobby: Yeah, we’ll do that ten minutes before each service. It’s simple and most of them have been on stage before. I’ll have a handout, and we’ll walk through the basics of when to go up, which mic to take, and stuff like that.

Justin: Who will be this week’s Reader?

Bobby: Allison. Should be fun to have a wife-husband team doing the reading-to-sermon transition, because Jonah is preaching on marriage.

Justin: Jonah’s manuscript is very helpful. (Pastor Jonah will be preaching on the need for married couples to be in community). It’s easy to be to insulated within marriage, but on the other hand, hard to know what boundaries to put in place. I’m a “yes and amen” to this sermon. The “you’re my everything” mentality in marriages typically shows itself in other dysfunctions in the long run.

Stephen: We’re trying to sync our student talks with the series. I asked the kids what they are looking for in a relationship. A lot of the comments were along the lines of, “They’ve gotta be my best friend, someone I completely trust … But not someone who is super clingy.” That whole “I want it all, and they have to be perfect for me in every way.”

Bobby: This is the sermon that has been on Jonah’s heart. When we were planning the three-week series, and knew that he would be out except for the middle sermon, he had a number of options but this — an answer to the “you complete me” fallacy — is what has been stirring within him.

Lindsey: He does a good job of describing co-dependency and independency, and then showing what an interdependence in Christ is like, within the context of community.

Bobby: Yeppirs. Want to look at the liturgy?

Justin: I want to go to Ephesians 3:2-6 for the Call To Worship, but I’m afraid it’s just a bit too much to jump into right away.

Stephen: What if you summarized verses 2-5 -and then just read verse 6? So, something like, “This morning we get to celebrate that we’ve been made one body through the work of Jesus Christ” and then the reading?

Lindsey: That sounds really good.

Justin: I agree. We’ll do that.  We’re doing a robust Giving liturgical reading this week, along with Psalm 5 for Confession and Ephesians 3:14-19 for the Celebration of Assurance.

Also, I’m taking the Sunday off from leading, to recharge. Bobby, your parent-in-laws are going to lead for me. Mindy is leading more than she’s ever led before in a service, so I’m putting in songs that she’s familiar with like “What A Beautiful Name” and “Your Great Name.”

Bobby: I love it when a plan comes together.

How did Stephen’s suggestion for the Call To Worship go? How did Jonah preach Acts 2:44-47 as a marriage text? What changes did they make between this Tuesday morning meeting and the Sunday service? For answers to these and other questions, see yesterday’s Christian Liturgy 101: How One Church Worshiped post.

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