In his book, Soul Keeping, author John Ortberg tells of his mentor, Dallas Willard, encouraging him to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from his life. I love the term “ruthlessly eliminate” because it’s so needed and because it’s so difficult to do. Pastors and creative teams often come up with new and exciting elements to add to worship services without giving equal attention to what to subtract. A key strategy in creating an amazing worship service is not what’s added, but what’s eliminated. Here are five things to ruthlessly eliminate from your worship services.
I’ve visited churches where awkward pauses seemed to be the norm. They’d wait for the scripture reader to get on stage, or the choir director to get the choir on and off the platform. Often people would look to the back of the Worship Center to try to figure who was supposed to be on stage and why they weren’t there.
Make sure you have a plan. A typical Order of Service is only the first step. Prepare and follow a detailed Service Planning Sheet to eliminate awkward pauses. Make certain the key players in the service know where they’re to be, what they’re to do, and when they’re to do it.
The biggest offender here is the “stand and greet your neighbor” time. Churches have been using this service element in an effort to feel like they have a “friendly” church. If your service runs over 500 attendees, it’s very uncomfortable, especially for introverted and new people. When the Pastor or Worship Leader stands up and says, “Ok everyone, please turn to your neighbor, introduce yourself and say ‘You look great today,’” he might as well say, “Stand up, turn to a complete stranger and say something awkward.”
If you’re currently using the “greet your neighbor” time, please consider new people who probably want to go unnoticed, and introverted people who like to keep to themselves. The negative aspects of this element far out-weigh the positive. Continue reading