Worship Planning Is a Team Effort

The church staff meets weekly to flesh out the details of that Sunday’s service, but the Worship, Prayer and Spirituality Ministry also meets periodically to plan worship for the upcoming season of the church year. Cindi Veldheer DeYoung chairs the ministry which currently consists of the pastors, music director, organist, two artists and two choir members.

On a Wednesday evening in January these nine people sat around a table in Commons II. We had all read the upcoming lectionary passages and were now gathered to plan worship for the season of Lent. For opening devotions we listened to Mendelssohn’s “If with all your hearts you seek me,” and then the conversation began.

As the group talked about the passages, we began to build consensus in the following areas:

  • Themes – what struck us in individual passages? What overarching themes emerged as we looked at all the passages? How could those themes be developed in worship from week to week? This year, we decided that part of our mission statement – provisions for the journey – formed a nice structure for the discipleship themes we identified in the passages.
  • Music – The group relies on our church musicians with their knowledge of applicable music, but others also suggest songs or anthems. We discuss service music that could be used throughout the season as well as music related to the specific passages for a given Sunday.
  • Environment – Here we rely on the artists in the group who suggest visuals which would work well with the themes, from banners or other art forms to bulletin covers.
  • Mid-week Services – Hope Church will offer Wednesday evening worship from Ash Wednesday on Feb. 13 through Mar. 13. We decided to focus on the lectionary Psalms at those worship times and suggested names of people who would be asked to lead short devotionals.

We closed our meeting by watching a beautiful multi-media presentation on the “Flight into Egypt” used by Rachelle Oppenhuizen in an adult education presentation.

As the congregation continues to affirm worship as an important part of Hope Church’s overall ministry, these planning sessions are one way to help design meaningful worship experiences.  We welcome your comments and suggestions.

-Judith Boogaart for the Worship, Prayer and Spirituality Ministry