Service Planning: 8 Practices of Synchronizing Sundays
We must confess an occasional ache for the simplicity of an acoustically perfect preaching arena as Jesus had for His Sermon on the Mount.
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When speaking of the concept of “Synchronizing Sundays,” two types of planning for Services of Worship must be taken into account: the nuts and bolts, and the heart and mind.
Of the two, the former is the easier to address and attain.
Of the two, the latter is most essential to achieve.
For without synchronizing the heart and mind in the planning of worship, learning the mechanics of production or assembly the resources of presentation can make a weekend worship experience no different than 9-to-5s or other experiences that during the 167 hours of the week between church services with all the stress and other emotions the flesh is heir to.
As technology has improved and provided greater options for how the gospel of Christ is presented during corporate worship, even the most adept of operators must admit the pressure of perfection often intervenes and emerges in the midst of a “love one another” message.
Even the most engaging of pastors must admit times of frustration and doublemindedness when approaching the pulpit as the clock ticks and suddenly as the two-minute warning breaks through the blinding theater lights to disclose there are two points remaining in the prepared five-point sermon. Does the pastor edit on the fly? Apologize that the message will delay the exit for kickoff? Indulge the short-attention-span audience, by saying, “I’m almost done,” or “I’m closing,” for the third time?
It’s almost unnecessary to bring up the musicians’ angst— Too loud, too soft; too fast, too long; “holely” jeans, untucked shirts; shallow lyrics, antiquated hymns (What’s a ‘bulwark’? Who is Ebenezeer?).
And what’s with those folks in the media booth, from PowerPoint typos, to slow panel changes; can you say, “Feedback?”
These illustrations beg these questions:
• How can anybody worship in this atmosphere?
• How can anybody serve in this atmosphere?
Yes, and most significantly:
• How can anybody who serves, worship in this atmosphere?
Answer: You can’t.
How: Romans 12:2 – “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”
To be complete, this reference of Paul’s letter to the Roman church needs the context of verse 1 wherein he tells the readers, “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
For our modern context, the idea of synchronizing corporate worship planning (Sundays, weekend, anytime) must begin with the individual worshipper, individual server grasping and wrestling with Paul’s assertion to not conform to the worldly (human) challenges of worship, but to transform our worship by renewing how we think about worship and utilize the resources that God provides each congregation.
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