Well, everyone. I know we have some worship leaders on here. So I thought I would take you through my planning for this past Sunday. Maybe it will help a little. Maybe it won’t.
So I got an email from our teaching pastor. It said, “The title and most likely the driving point is this, “Weak Faith In A Strong Savior”. The text is Mark 9:14-29.
I think this text will be both encouraging and challenging for our church. Encouraging because the model of faith is the father crying out to Jesus with doubts alongside his faith, and Jesus still responds to weak faith. But also challenging because the disciples were publicly humbled because they lacked prayer. Their lack of prayer revealed their lack of faith. It wasn’t that their prayers weren’t long enough or bold enough, they just simply weren’t praying.”
Now, if you don’t know, this is one of my favorite Scripture passages. I love that the father comes to Jesus and says if you can help, please do. And Jesus responds, “IF YOU CAN?! (caps and exclamation point mine) All things are possible for one who believes.” But my favorite is the father’s response in verse 24, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” That is my Christianity right there. I do believe, I don’t believe. Help. So I was excited for this week.
We started with Your Great Name, a wonderful song by my friend Michael Neale and Krissy Nordhoff. I wanted to start focused on Christ, who He is and what He’s done. Before we get into our response, we declare who He is. The verses were perfect, “Lost are saved, find their way,” “Every fear has no place,” “All the weak find their strength,” “The sick are healed, the dead are raised at the sound of Your great name.”
Then we moved into 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I’ve always been intrigued by David’s opening to Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” The psalmist recognized the need to instruct himself to worship God. He must pull his own attention towards God and His worthiness. So we took the same path. We declared who He is, and then directed ourselves to focus on that and worship Him.
Next came God I Look To You by Jenn Johnson and Ian McIntosh from Bethel Church. I wrote a couple of blogs on this song a couple of weeks ago. We had made a statement of fact in who He is, then a call to focus. Now we move into recognizing that He is the one filling the needs in our lives. “You’re where my help comes from.” We are admitting that we are in need, and that He is the answer.
And we finished with Healer by Michael Guglielmucci from Planetshakers. I have always loved this song, and it wrapped up our set perfectly. It is the finishing touch of our journey, declaring who He is, and now declaring that He has been and is being those things for me. “I believe You’re my Healer. I believe You are all I need. I believe You’re my portion. I believe You’re more that enough for me. Jesus, You’re all I need.” We are confessing our belief, confessing our need, confessing His abundance. Before we move into Mark, we are saying we believe. And the bridge is so powerful: “Nothing is impossible for You. You hold my world in Your hand.” It is a pre-cursor to Jesus’s statement, “All things are possible for one who believes.”
And then Tyler brought it. What a great sermon. If you’d like to hear it, you can find it here. It’s called Weak Faith in a Strong Savior.
Well, I don’t know if that was helpful at all, but it was good for me to write it all down. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them. Or you can share your own thought process in planning this week. Looking forward to hearing from you.
3 thoughts on “Worship Planning Thought Process”
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Todd, I’m curious about your “time pondering” process. After you received the e-mail, you probably had some initial thoughts. Did you run with those, or wait to pray or meditate first? Did you spend time in the Word with the ‘theme’ in mind? Did you know pretty immediately which songs you’d go with, or did those come throughout the week? And of course, one week can be one way, and another week it plays out totally differently, but just curious. I know with me sometimes the songs are immediately evident, and other times they come throughout the week, and then other times I think I know what they are going to be only to have something come up in the course of life that changes some or everything. Sometimes the team practices and one song is a bust – or another song is so powerful that it changes things too. I had an experience at one church (for about two and a half years) where I did not know the sermon or theme or anything at all, and I prayed for guidance, and it was so powerful how the songs always fit the sermon perfectly – the pastor sometimes said he had planned to preach one thing and then at the last minute changed it, [he prayed about it too] and the music always fit what he preached (but would have been not as perfect a fit for the other sermon he had planned). It stretched my faith to be so outside my comfort zone (I’m a little OCD and as an accountant I like my ducks-in-a-row, which spills over into my musical, creative side when it comes to a structured gathering) to see us be so in sync through prayer alone. So what are your experiences in this process? Thanks! 🙂
Oh how I wish more worship leaders had a similar thought process in choosing songs. The depth of the process and time it takes is not lost on me. That’s the same process I used when choosing prelude and postlude piano music, even though most people didn’t realize how all the songs fit together. It’s so frustrating to see worship leaders treat this process lightly by choosing songs based on audience popularity, previous set list, or by what the band plays best. By using this process, you have engaged in worship prior to leading others so your heart has been tuned to sing his praise. Thanks for explaining it so clearly.