Don’t Set Your Worship On Autopilot


Are you doing the same thing you’ve always done? Are the same people dealing with the same issues? Is there a stressor that could easily be resolved but hasn’t been yet?

You may be on autopilot in your worship planning and style.

Do you find yourself saying the same things when you pray each week? Is the music becoming too commonplace for your worship team? Are you trying so hard to streamline things for simplicity’s sake that you’ve lost steam?

Planning creative, inspiring, engaging and uplifting worship is hard work. It takes time. And if you go into autopilot, you’re robbing your congregation of alive worship!

There are times when I’ve been known to say, “I may go into autopilot singing this song…” I revert to the way I’ve always done if I’m not careful. I am also aware that if I don’t write out or plan for an intro, story or transition, I wind up reverting to the things I’ve said before.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, there are some times when you hit the gas pedal and other times you coast for a while. There may be a bit of autopilot happening in those times, and that’s ok for a couple of Sundays – doing simple stuff really well.

One other word before I get to some suggestions: There are some places in your ministry where autopilot is handy! There are some habits you want to create and instill to make sure you do certain things each day! You want to be praying, seeking God, reading his word, tithing, and other spiritual and physical disciplines each day! That’s a great place for getting the autopilot mindset working for you!

So here are some ideas for turning off autopilot:

Write Prayers

Prayer is talking to God. Public prayer, aloud with the congregation, is praying on behalf of others. When we write out prayers it can help us to better articulate our prayers on behalf of others.

Coach Leaders

Who is serving as a leader in your ministry? Help take them to the next level. Meet with them, give them opportunities, provide any kind of training you can and they will help move your ministry out of status quo. Teach values more than skill and watch God use people around you to make a big difference.

Recruit New People

Involving new people in your ministry will indeed change the make up of your group – even if it’s a guest. I have found that churches and worship teams will often act the way they want to be when they are around guests. It’s a new audience to try out their shared belief about themselves. As you add new people, you’re forced to reiterate the values of the team, the expectations, the dress code, the flow, and that helps everyone!

Add New Songs

New songs will add a level of urgency to your musicians and vocalists! It will keep things fresh for you and the worshipping congregation.

New Transitions

There’s a chance you can describe the order of every Sunday in a few words. For example, you might say, “We open with a song, welcome folks, sing two more, read scripture, offering, preaching and closing song.” One way to mix things up is to change the flow, even slightly. What if the message came a little earlier or you invited someone else to pray at the beginning? What if you started with Scripture reading this week?

Bring In Students

Students are learning and by nature not on autopilot! There are great benefits to involving students in your worship ministry, a help to the future church, a help to the student and a fresh perspective on the music, structure, and leadership within your adult worship team!

There is a comfort level that comes with autopilot, but don’t give in to the temptation to stay there too long! Shake things up, bring in something new, and keep your people inspiring by keeping them guessing what will come next!


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