The Worship Planner: Team Ministries

Themes: Biblical, Scholar, Worship Planning

As an introduction to the planning and evaluation chart that follows, this entry gives guidelines for developing a team of worship ministers, each charged with a specific duty in bringing about worship renewal.

The worship planner that follows is designed for use by a team of worship ministers. It is specifically designed to help the team (1) brainstorm; (2) develop the order of worship; and (3) evaluate worship.

The worship planner may be used by a pastor, minister of music, or worship leader without the help of a larger committee of worship ministers. However, it is best to use the worship planner with a group of people who are serving the church as worship ministers.

A worship ministry is a group of people from the staff and congregation who encourage the continual improvement of worship through prayerful planning, thoughtful evaluation, and constant attention to the process whereby a worshiping community is formed. Follow the steps below to establish a planning ministry in the local church.

Step One: Establish a Core Group of People Committed to Worship Renewal.

A church that is seeking renewal needs a core of godly people deeply committed to seeing worship come alive. The kind of worship we want in our church grows out of the spiritual life of the congregation and feeds back into that life. If many of the people in the church are spiritually dead, unconverted, or indifferent to the gospel, the task of worship renewal will be more difficult. Still, a small core of committed people who begin to pray for worship renewal, talk about it, and plan for it can have a significant effect on an entire congregation. This group should meet on a regular basis, weekly if possible, and certainly not less than once a month.

Step Two: Identify One Person Who Has the Calling for Worship Renewal.

There needs to be one person in a leadership position who is committed to bringing the renewal of worship about. Worship renewal is not finding a few new gimmicks that will give people a religious high. Rather, worship renewal is a matter of content and spirit that requires considerate understanding and sensitive, wise leadership. In terms of understanding, worship renewal is rooted in a grasp of Old and New Testament teaching, understanding of historical development and theology, and a grasp of the arts (art, architecture, drama, liturgical dance, and especially music). No one person can know everything about all of these subjects, yet to make worship renewal a reality, there has to be one person who has some sensitivity to all these fields of study from which worship draws. This person may be the pastor, the music director, or a layperson. Whoever emerges as this leader must have a sense of calling to this ministry and the respect and cooperation of those who work for him or her on the worship committee.

Step Three: Establish a Team of Worship Ministers.

A team of worship ministers has two basic responsibilities. The first is to plan everything related to worship—and the planning of worship is not limited to the order of worship itself. While that is certainly a central task of the worship ministers, other responsibilities include such matters as the worship environment, hospitality, music, drama, table matters, and technical concerns.

The second responsibility of the worship ministers is weekly evaluation. Each service must be evaluated, preferably within twenty-four hours. Planning worship is only half of the cycle. If worship is not evaluated on a regular basis, it will soon fall back into the old pattern, or else the new pattern will become established and lose its vitality. The committee must pay constant attention to worship through regular critical evaluation of all its parts.

Planning Team Size

The size of the committee of worship ministers will differ depending on the size and preferences of the congregation. Generally, in the smaller but growing church, a three-person ministry team is sufficient. In larger churches, the worship planning team may consist of four persons who administer four groups of people related to the ministry of worship (see below). The two configurations below are not absolute. A congregation should feel free to experiment with the development of a team of worship ministers to find a configuration that works for it. In any case, the worship planner remains effective in whatever shape is given to the worship ministry team.

The team of worship ministers in the growing church. In the smaller but growing church, the makeup of the team of worship ministers is generally no more than three persons. The minister of oversight, the minister of music and the arts, and the minister of housekeeping:

Minister of Oversight

Generally the pastor. Responsibilities include teaching worship, planning worship (with the other two ministers), and leading worship (or designating leadership).

Minister of Music and the Arts

Generally the person in charge of music. Responsibilities include oversight of all choirs and musical groups, the lay reader’s group (Scripture readers, dramatists, dancers), and environmental art (seating, banners, flowers, etc.).

Minister of Housekeeping

Generally a person gifted in organizational skills. Responsibilities include supervision of the church bulletin, hospitality, preparation for the Communion, and technical matters.

The team of worship ministers in the larger church. In the larger church, the team of worship ministers is an expanded version of the same ministry in the smaller church. It includes a minister of oversight, a minister of leadership, a minister of music and the arts, and a minister of housekeeping in a capacity of leadership over the various ministries involved in worship.

Minister of Oversight

This person coordinates the work of all the ministers of worship.

Minister of Leadership

This person coordinates all the work of the ministers of leadership. The minister of leadership may also fulfill the work of one or more of the following three ministries:

Teacher of Worship

Assumes responsibility to study worship, to teach a worship class, and provide educational input and resources for the other ministries listed below.

Planner of Worship

Actually plans the worship service, drawing on the input, expertise, and talent of the other ministries listed below.

Leader of Worship

Actually leads the congregation in worship.

Minister of Music and the Arts

This person coordinates music, drama, dance, and environmental art.

The Music Minister

Oversees all the musical groups in the church, such as choirs, soloists, cantors, and instrumental groups, and integrates their contributions to worship with the other ministries.

The Drama Minister

Oversees all groups related to communication, such as Scripture readers’ group and drama group, and integrates their ministry into worship.

The Environment Minister

Oversees the setting of worship, such as the seating arrangement; the use of flowers, plants, and symbols of worship; and especially the visual symbols used during the seasons of the church year: banners, cloths, vestments. These matters are carefully related to the other ministries.

Minister of Housekeeping

This person coordinates all the ministries that surround and support the ministry of worship.

Bulletin Minister

Collects all the material necessary for the bulletin and coordinates the publication of the material.

Hospitality Minister

Provides directions for those who are called to create a hospitable environment for the worshiper through the work of greeting, ushering, coffee fellowship, and follow-up contacts.

Table Minister

Assumes responsibility for the demands related to the Table of the Lord, such as Communion ware, bread, wine, and tablecloths, as well as preparation and clean-up duties.

Technical Minister

Oversees the purchase, care, and use of microphones, recording equipment, and other technical matters related to worship.

Step Four: Evaluate Worship Weekly.

The weekly evaluation of worship is indispensable to the process whereby a committee of worship ministers is enabled to bring about prayerful improvement of the spiritual impact of worship on the worshiping community. Each of the ministry areas may be evaluated by the entire committee of ministers in the beginning of each meeting of the worship ministers.

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