Seedlings: Passionate Worship "Listen, a sower went out to sow . . ." (Mark 4:3)
Simple, Easy, Safe Ideas Provide excellent, safe, reliable childcare for all services * Serve coffee in several places before and after services * Update your sound system so that it is absolutely trouble-free and crystal clear * Invite guest musicians, instrumentalists, vocalists, and groups to enhance quality and variety of musical leadership * Hold an usher/greeter training to express appreciation and to review hospitality issues from the guest’s point of view * Make the bulletin/worship order reader-friendly, attractive, and easy to follow * Remove or reword all insider language, abbreviations, or acronyms * Give special care to every element of Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday services, with an eye to quality and visitor-friendliness * Express appreciation to worship leaders, music leaders, choir members, ushers, greeters, and others who help lead services * Develop a system to keep the worship area clean, inviting, fresh, and attractive * Try a procession, banner, altar decoration, special instrumental piece. Listen for feedback * Develop a prayer ministry that supports the pastor and worship leaders for every service * Encourage worship leaders to attend learning opportunities, seminars, and workshops to improve worship * Develop an acolyte program for children that is interesting, cool, and helpful to learning about worship * For seasons, or sermon series, form a team for altar designs, banners, posters, bulletin covers, etc. * See that all signs, websites, newsletters, newspaper announcements have correct and helpful information about worship times, descriptions * “Escort, don’t point” when people ask for locations * Offer worship in alternative places – nursing homes, mobile home parks, college campuses * Invite young adults to lead worship, give them freedom to try new things * Involve all the children from vacation Bible school (including visitors!) in worship * Put fresh flowers in the sanctuary at every service * Mark parking for the handicapped, moms with babies, or visitors * Upgrade the nursery with paint, new curtains, safety features * Use banners, art, symbols, graphics for worship, bulletin covers * Use children’s art for bulletin covers * Have a children’s basket with crayons, coloring books, and puzzles for children to take into worship * Take Communion to shut-ins, retirement homes, hospital patients * Make all decisions about planning, preparation, and spiritual readiness as if worship is the most important hour of the week * Model, encourage, motivate, and teach welcoming behaviors and practices throughout the church * Adopt or create daily devotional readings booklets for every household at least once a year with a particular theme * Begin and end all gatherings, meetings, activities with prayer * Teach people to pray * Hold 24-hour prayer vigils for focused prayer for important events * Prepare high quality, widely announced special services, studies, musicals, concerts, ministries during Advent, Lent, and Holy Week * Preach a Lenten sermon series * Prepare and publicize at least two or three sermon series per year on relevant topics * Offer age-appropriate worship services and learning activities for children and youth * Have youth plan and lead worship
Riskier, MoreChallenging Ideas Hold a day-long “retreat” with all who lead worship, and talk through every service element asking about how and why you do it and how to do it better * Modernize lighting, microphones, and sound systems; suggest changes to improve quality * Send the pastor, staff, and worship team to seminars and workshops. Go as a team * Provide comfortable seating for senior adults (who need chair arms for leverage) * Use websites with worship ideas like www.worshipconnection.com, www.gbod.org/worship, and others * Add rocking chairs for moms with infants * Put changing tables in restrooms for parents with babies * Make the entryway bright, attractive, inviting, with signs clearly directing people to the worship center, restrooms, nursery, and office * Hold a children’s weeklong music camp, like VBS, with cool activities to learn about worship * Prepare a children’s musical to present during Sunday services * Remove or shorten a pew to make room for wheelchairs, but not just at the back! * Read books about worship, even styles that may not fit your own congregation. Check out authors like Dan Kimball, Marva Dawn, Sally Morgenthaler, and Dottie Escobedo-Frank * Visit other congregation’s worship services together as a team to learn
Big,Bold, Audacious, Scary Ideas Launch an alternative worship service that reaches a different range of interests. Plan for excellence * Launch a serious survey with members and visitors about preferences on worship, times, settings. Are the right services at the right time? * Evaluate multi-media resources for worship, including video projection * Remodel the foyer/entryway with furnishings/bulletin boards/information centers that serve your current purposes, replacing furnishings no longer used * Offer regular worship services in prison, jail, or juvenile detention center complete with excellent music. Pray and learn constantly as a worship team.