For anyone who is gifted and spirit-filled, getting up and singing some songs isn’t too difficult.
However, planning creative, inspiring, engaging, and uplifting worship is hard work. It takes some intentional planning and requires thinking and effort.
Here are four components that require some work in planning for worship:
CREATIVE: involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work.
INSPIRING: encouraging, or making you feel you want to do something.
ENGAGING: pleasant, interesting, and entertaining.
UPLIFTING: inspiring happiness, optimism, or hope.
Let’s take a moment to talk about what is required of each.
Why does creativity require some work? For starters, you have to schedule creativity. You have to take time to force yourself to think creatively. Often, the act of brainstorming works best with a couple of other people, and that requires finding time to meet and discuss. Creative components aren’t usually cut and dried – they are innovative, different than the norm and, as a result, take time to implement. There are various degrees of this. Maybe creativity is a new song that you or your group has written. You’ve got a few steps in that process to get that song to the stage and into the hearts of your congregation. Maybe your creative component involves video, drama, or something similar – it’s going to take getting people the resources and the time to bring those components to fruition.
Inspiration in worship is about inviting people into the story. Work to create a flow and components that call people to action and make them want to do something! There is an element of inspiration that is hard to pinpoint and part of the process (really for each of these components) is to pray! We need to pray that the songs, the planning, the flow, the components, and the words we share will inspire people to be closer to Jesus and to take action in their lives! To desire holiness and love for God!
In a practical sense, there are some ingredients to inspiration. One of those is to stop being predictable. The more predictable your worship is, the less likely people will be inspired by it! If you can include something they didn’t expect, it’s likely to cause them to pay more attention. Something new almost always inspires. Stories inspire people! Victories and testimonies inspire us to desire to live for God. Great videos can be inspiring. Children’s involvement in worship can bring inspiration to the church. The hard work comes as we are constantly planning for these components to fit into any given Sunday.
Engagement in worship means keeping barriers to a minimum and bringing a pleasant, personal, and natural sense to the worship time. As we’ve mentioned, part of this comes from being bathed in prayer and the leading of the Spirit. Additionally, it means putting a focus on the congregation as you are planning songs and worship in general. Some of the engagement happens as anyone with a mic is able to articulate well, knows what they are asking/telling the congregation, and brings a level of warmth. Leaders can help engage with the congregation by offering stories and backgrounds to worship songs or components. These must be well crafted and thought out. Engagement comes as you effectively encourage and teach your church to sing and participate in worship.
Start each worship service with joy! There’s a reason the first song is often peppy and a proclamation of God’s goodness and might. Being uplifting is always about offering hope and staying focused on lifting up the name of Jesus! There is a connection here and that’s why Christians gather for 60-90 minutes each Sunday – to give God praise, hear the word, and encourage others around us in faith. How can you be uplifting this week? Include a short call to worship, include a scripture intro to a song, invite a worship team member to share a victory or story, invite some from your congregation to share a great testimony. Other ways might be in the physical space – make it brighter or include a design somewhere. You can give people something as they come in or as they leave. Offer hope in the name of Jesus!
Just because it requires some work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do these things! It just means you have to bite the bullet and invest the time. After a while of investing energy in these things, they begin to become a part of your culture, and momentum from each new thing will grow!