Our interim pastor has completely revamped the services in our church. I was a bit spoiled by our previous pastor because he gave me a great deal of freedom in how to structure the worship service. As a result I would vary the format from week to week as I felt led. Now I have to stick to a set format that is designated for me. Personally, I’m struggling a little within the confines of this structure because it feels a little stale to me. I will probably learn to adapt eventually (or at least that’s what I’m praying for) but it got me thinking about how others structure their worship.
Do you group songs together in sets or split them up with other elements of the service in between the songs? How does a typical worship service flow from one element to the next and what elements are usually included in your service? It would be interesting to know what others are doing within their services. Also does the pastor set this up, do you set it up or is it a corroboration?
I would love to know also why the structure works or doesn't work and what you would do to improve it.
As far as what works or what doesn't is totally different for every church in every area you live and serve, thats one you will have to seek God on for your church.
I'm probably not the best one to answer this because I am the Senior Pastor also but I do set up the whole service as a outline then give plenty of time to be lead by the Holy Spirit. We have put all our announcements in the bulitin and on the powerpoint before service during prayer time and after worship during transition so that the flow will go from praise and worship and prayer right into the Word, all flowing together to try not to break the spirit of what is taking place. We usually do 4-5 songs but with prophetic worship and prayer mixed in as the Lord leads, so anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour then the same for the Word so total service can be 1 1/2 -2 hours long.
The thing to do would be to have a good talk with your Pastor and see what he is willing to do. I've found some that fear things going wrong or some that just want control or many other reasons such as time limits because of multiple services, so if you can have that talk and find out his heart and tell him yours maybe things can change, I'll be praying for you!
I wish I could have that talk. I’m praying I will be able to at some point. One of my goals for looking at how others structure their service is to hopefully give me insight into the various possibilities and elements that can be present within a service. Right now I feel more like a song leader than a worship leader but I’m trying to keep an open mind. The changes are still a bit new so I want to give it time before I rush to make a decision.
I am a little frustrated in that I have repeatedly asked to sit down with him to discuss the structure. He is clearly uncomfortable with me and finds reasons why he can’t meet with me. I’m trying to be respectful of his pastoral position as well as obedient but it is wearing me down.
As an interim Pastor he is probably having a time of adjustment himself but should be open to the way things were done before unless he is going to take the position and lead the church in a new direction. Interim pastoring is tough but must be handled with care as to not disrupt what God is doing in a church if he is not planing on staying, otherwise the congregation has to go through more changes when a new Pastor comes and change can be very hard on a congregation if it's done to fast or often. So if you fast, I would fast and pray for God to open the dore for you to have a good Godly talk with him about this or you will just get more frustrated and that will be cought by the rest of the congregation.
God Bless you and give you His wisdom!!!
David, what you are saying is pretty much what I am thinking and feeling. He was brought on as an interim pastor while we search for a new pastor. It has been made clear to him that if he is interested in becoming the pastor, he needs to declare his intent because it impacts the pastor search process. He has not made any declarations. He does however, talk about where he wants to lead the church and where he wants the church to go and that is more of an intentional interim capacity than an interim. I’m a bit fearful of what he is trying to do with the church, simply because the church has already gone through transition with the loss of our pastor. The interim is making all these changes and then we are going to have to shift gears once again when our new pastor comes in. I’m not a big fan of the status quo. I actually like changes if they are fresh but in this case I think it would be healthier for the church if we just maintained for a bit until the new pastor came in and allow him to make any changes he feels need to be made.
As for fasting and prayer… I’ve been spending a great deal of time in the word and prayerfully seeking God’s council. I have yet to fast but it is a good suggestion. It has been very difficult to talk to this man. I don’t want to make it about gender but I sense that it might be a factor. In addition, I tend to be very honest and up front. I say what is on my heart and on my mind. I’m very passionate about Jesus and as such my ministry. Our former pastor encouraged me. In fact he is the person who asked me to assume the worship responsibilities. I think it makes the interim a little uncomfortable both because I am a woman and also because I bring an element of emotion to the worship. The way he has structured the service takes a bit of the momentum out of it and he has assumed more control over it.
I totally understand that people are different and their beliefs and comfort levels are different as well. As an ordained pastor, he is well within his rights to make the changes. Out of obedience, I am willing to follow. It is the way he has gone about it that is bothersome to me.
I don't know your denomination or church statis, but in some depending on church statis the people have a say in who their Pastor is and if most of the people do not like the style of the interim pastor they can ask the district for someone who is a better fit for the church. I have seen where perfectly good Godly Pastors are just not a good fit for a church or area. The thing is, is it just you seeing this or most of the congregation?
We need to be obedient to our leaders but also be sensitive to what God wants for the Local church.
My opinion is if he has no intention of staying he should leave it run as it has untill a new Pastor with a new vision comes in, otherwise it just causes too much confussion for everyone involved and we all know where confusion comes from.
So if you have someone higher up to go to I would pray then go and speak to them and explain that you have tryed to talk to the Pastor and it has not worked, maybe they can help or find a better fit.
As far as gender goes I would hope that is not an issue, there are enough scriptures that show women in leadership positions and unfortunatly some scriptures taken out of context to say they shouldn't be.
God Bless and I will keep praying for you
Sounds like a learning time for the both of you and others in the church. Be loving and patient, no matter how you feel; try to understand the other point of view. Some churches only work that way ( usually more traditional ones) and he may have just been serving there and believe that what he has set out will work in his current posting.
I am trying very hard to be patient and to understand where he is coming from. He is more traditional and his home church is much more traditional. One of the things I've been praying for is endurance because I almost threw in the towel last week.
It does vary from church to church. At my previous church in London, things were in some ways quite freeform. We would have half an hour of worship, led by the worship leader of the day, followed by an hour or so which was mainly filled with the sermon but would also probably contain some prayers, notices and a closing song, mainly led by the pastor. Freeform... although following the same basic pattern almost every week.
Since moving to Oxford, my present church is more liturgical. We have a range of different services. The morning service will typically have a block of three songs somewhere near the beginning and then other songs interspersed throughout. The worship leader takes a lead on choosing songs but works with the person leading the service to make the final choice, evaluate any requests and create a final running order.
I think I do tend to prefer the first pattern but this second one has got some advantages. In particular, it is more about co-operation ("this seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit" - Acts 15:28) and also gives all those involved more chance to prepare. It does help that there is a genuine desire on all sides to bring out the best in each other. I have to accept reins which I might not have had in the same way before but I also recognise that I get a lot of leeway; I am not blocked at every turn but instead encouraged to serve the whole congregation rather than just those who like my particular style.
Wulf, the idea of cooperation is great! I agree that there is potential for that with the second structure. We have basically gone from the 2 part service, the first part being free worship and the second part being the message to this service with the a song thrown in here and there to accent what is being said. Your point about the desire to bring out the best in each other is key. That requires collaboration and dialog which is exactly what I have been asking for. I don't get the sense for whatever reason he is not comfortable with collaboration and dialog. I'm totally willing to accept reigns that are well thought out and meaningful. I could respect if he sat me down and gave me his views on worship, liturgy and women in ministry, but he hasn't. Instead he pats me on the head like a child (OK I know I'm short) and says "oh don't you worry your little head about that".
Your point about serving the whole congregation instead of just those who are in line with my style of worship is also a great point. All of these things are valid. If this is what he thinks and feels then I would love to learn from him. I would love to be mentored. Currently, that is not happening however.
We are Messianic Jewish (MJ) and as such are probably more liturgical than most here. So we flow back and forth between contemporary MJ music and traditional liturgy, some spoken and some chanted.
The overall flow of the service is determined by the rabbi and elders and our primary songleader is one of the elders. (I am the second in line) It has changed somewhat over time.
Our current line up is this:
Chant 2 prayers
4-6 up tempo or mid tempo songs
3-4 more liturgical prayers and chants, including the Our Father
2-3 slower more worshipful songs
Time for prophetic words and testimonies
Liturgical prayer called Amidah - ending with uptempo song Sim Shalom (grant us peace)
Torah procession (take the scroll as symbolic of the entire Word of God) and march around the sanctuary. One song (or more) while that is done.
Read from the Torah, the OT prophets and the New Testament
Kaddish (liturgical prayer for those in mourning)
The lines in bold are what the worship leader gets to choose. The liturgical elements are led by a variety of people with most of it thru the Amidah done by the worship leader.