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?
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.
Wow David, what a neat service! There are some really interesting elements.
Our pastoral staff, elders and worship leaders work together. Recently, we have changed the service for most weeks to be pretty much like this: Opening song -> Welcome, Annoucements, Prayer, Offering w/generally instrumental music, [we say WAPO] (usually an elder/pastor/one who is not delivering the message) -> short bit to introduce communion (a pastor) -> We start the praise/worship while people come to take communion -> play/sing 3-4 songs -> MESSAGE -> ending song (usually partial) -> dismissal (we continue to play/sing). This has been working nicely. All songs and manner of music during the service is left entirely up to me or the other worship leader. We have been given the green light completely, and so far in the 3 + years I've been leading here, there has been no big issue with what we've been doing. Sometimes we tie in the songs to the message, but most of the time we simply praise and worship God together, although the final song usually does fit in. We also really like to have the songs that are together have a nice flow to them. Anyhoo, hope this is useful.
Yes it is helpful. Thanks!
My pastor was a worship leader for 25 years, and he was music major at SNU so I am spoiled now. He has taught me how arrange our set, and how to flow from one song to the next. It's easy since he is my keyboard player, and mentor as well. Last week we discussed my order for this Sunday and he sugested that I flip two songs, but he said it's up to you brother.
You mention something important... a mentor. The previous pastor valued my contributions enough to take me under his wing. I could come to him with theological questions and go to him when I needed advice. He pushed me to use my gifts and step out and follow what God was placing on my heart. I feel just the opposite now. I'm not even being brought in on the discussion relating to worship and the of order of worship. It is being e-mailed to me. the interim and the youth director sit down and discuss it and then it is sent to me. I have asked to join the discussions but they have been clear that it is their time to meet.
How did it go today? I pray better. Keep us informed so we know how to pray for you and your situation.
Please keep me in prayer as well. I have posted my prayer request below.
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much for checking and asking. Please keep praying! It was a tough morning and I can't really go into detail because it is not something I'm comfortable posting on the internet. Anyway please pray that I do what is right and good in the eyes of God. Pray that whatever I do, it is done with integrity and selflessness and God makes that clear not matter what the consequences are for me.
Please keep praying and I will keep you posted and let you know how it is going.
You're welcome, God will lead you, just seek Him!!!!