I recently received this question from one of our readers:
“I wanted to know if you’ve written anything on “order of worship”. I struggle with this all the time. I feel like calling for tithes and offerings never is placed in the right spot, the children’s story become a sermon for adults, etc. How many times do people stand up and for what, etc. any thoughts on this?”
I’d like to take a moment to share what we’re doing in our church, but I’d like to give an opportunity to bring it to the entire group, here, so you all can share your thoughts as well on how you order your worship service.
So let me get the ball rolling.
1. Opening Song. This is usually an uptempo song that’s used to bring everyone together. In a sense, it’s an ice-breaker that helps everyone to get focused on God and come together.
2. Welcome and announcements. During this time I get up and have everyone greet each other while music plays in the background. After a few moments, I ask them to take a seat. I introduce myself and then call the people’s attention to the program and I encourage everyone to begin filling out our response card. In this post, I share a little more about what I actually say during this time.
3. Continued worship set. We then sing about 3 songs. The last song in this set is what we call the “prayer” song. So at some moment in this last song, we invite people to come forward if they have a special prayer request that they want to bring to God.
4. Prayer. We then ask everyone to kneel, as far as possible, and then there’s the main prayer.
5. Sermon. I then get up and speak. During the appeal time I pull out the connection card (our response card), and challenge them to take some next step.
6. Receive tithes and offerings. After the close of my sermon I have a short prayer. We then have someone come forward to call for the tithes and offerings. He/she has a short prayer for all those that will give and for all the decisions that have been made. The ushers then come forward and receive the tithes and offerings, as well as the connection cards.
Most churches receive the tithes and offerings before the sermon somewhere, but we do it afterwards so that we can receive the completed connection cars as well as the tithes and offerings at the same time. This way everyone has something to put in the buckets as they come around.
7. Closing song. After the closing song, I get up one more time and give a short final blessing. I’ll quote from Numbers 6:
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
And that’s it! You’ll notice that there’re a few things missing that many churches have. We don’t have a children’s story because we have children’s church. As to when people are standing, they stand whenever we’re singing. I’ve found that this helps people to sing better and to be more excited in their singing. During the other times, they’re sitting down.
At the end, we have some snacks and refreshments in the lobby as people walk out.
So what about you all? If you can, please take a moment to share what you do in your worship service in your church. I’m curious and I’d love to hear about it for myself as well. What do you do and why?
[image by Daniel Pipitone]