Planning for Impossible Worship Services

Sunday evening, I felt led to share how God has challenging me concerning North Side’s upcoming worship change.  It was undeniable that the Holy Spirit was leading me to share, and I pray it was a blessing.  I’ll try to summarize my thoughts from that evening.

North Side has decided to unite their worship services.  We have done traditional and contemporary well, but we desire unity more giving people options.  We are not going to a blended service (I’ll post on that later concerning why I hate the terminology and approach).  It will be united.  Here’s been our steps as of late:

  • We gathered 100 leaders to look at the area of church unity.
  • We concluded that God would be more honored if we united together in worship rather than separated according to preferences.
  • Our church voted to affirm that decision by the elders and the One Initiative team.
  • God provided 447 volunteers to pull this mammoth new schedule off and he did it in 3 weeks!
  • We decided that the day of the new schedule would be September 4th.
  • Our elders gathered to discuss worship values concerning what we wanted in our services and what we wanted to guard from our services.
  • The elders instilled trust in me to carry out the specifics under the agreed upon direction.
  • I have planned the next worship series in a united approach (while the schedule doesn’t change until Sept. 4th, I have started moving that direction this coming Sunday).

As I sat down with my Bible, some instruments, a whiteboard, and Planning Center matrix, I was deeply challenged concerning what I put into those services.  At first, I started making sure certain elements were in each service to make this crowd happy without losing that crowd.  I would then try to make sure that crowd would like another element without isolating this crowd.

You know what the problem was?  Man was becoming my audience.  I was trying to please people – and a very diverse people at that.  I was trying to plan impossible worship services.  I was hoping that one flowsheet would make each person, from the youngest to the oldest, and considering each preference represented, would walk away thinking that was the best thing in the world.  It is simply impossible.  We got our elders to come up with a united worship service for the first Sunday and there was not one repeated song on all of our 16 pages!  If we couldn’t come up with one service, how could 1700 members all rally around one plan?

Then I remembered something I have taught numerous times – when did worship ever become about what we got out of it?  This Sunday, I am not interested in making any man or woman happy.  I want to make God smile.  When Sunday’s services are complete, I want to drop to my knees, and ask my God, “Were you pleased with what I just offered you?”

And if he says yes, then what more could I ask for?  I was planning on asking you to pray for me as I plan these impossible worship services.  Please pray for me, but not for that.  Because these services aren’t impossible, in fact, they are pretty easy.  I am designing worship services that focus on God’s truth and gives believers a chance to tell God how great he is.

And that, my friends, is very easy for me to do.  See you Sunday.