Bringing Worship to Sunday
During this strange time of virtual worship, I am thankful that Shalimar UMC has a team to help each week make worship possible. As I reflect on how much I appreciate my worship partners during COVID-19, I want to honor all our team does. I also wanted to share with you the process, from start to finish, how we bring a Sunday service to execution.
The first step is our long-term planning, specifically sermon planning. We sit down to talk about preaching anywhere from 1-3 months out. The preaching pastors bring ideas and we put onto the preaching calendar decisions about teaching. These are subject to change based on God's leading. This plan becomes the framework for how worship is planned.
Once we layout scriptures, topics, or church seasons to spend time with, we set time aside to look at the next 1-3 sermon series to talk about how we can engage people in the sermons. Philip expresses the big idea of the series that he has created which launches the conversation. This meeting helps us talk about:
- Sermon illustrations
- Connecting the concepts within the congregation
- Connecting with future church attenders
- Reaching non-Christians
We talk about series titles, sermon titles, scripture passages, how long we'll preach this series, how it might be received, what questions might be asked, how we will advertise it, how it can engage others, and so forth. This meeting is where the sermon series takes form. The only time we use outside resources for these series is when we share with the congregation that we are using a book to guide us (i.e. The Circle Maker or The Red Sea Rules).
The Week Of
Each week, the preaching pastors gather to collaborate and help deepen that week's message. This meeting usually takes place on Tuesday. They take the notes from the previous conversations, review what has been planned for the coming Sunday, determine if there are any changes, and collaborate on how God is leading.
Everyone on the staff that helps make the worship service possible gathers on Tuesday to talk about the next Sunday service. We look at:
- All the details
- Coordinate any changes
- Ensure that the music and any liturgical elements connect with the sermon
- Coordinate all things happening.
We also go over creative features, Church Life announcements, and look towards the weeks to come.
Worship Team Practices
From here, our different worship groups practice for Sunday. We have practices throughout the week for all the services, and teams to ensure all services have time to prepare.
Technology is Loaded
Thursday, our technology is loaded into the system for Sunday. We have volunteers that work on their training, and we button up as much as we can for Sunday.
On Sunday morning, we ensure that everything is ready to go.
- Do service run-throughs
- Check all service cues
- Ensure each piece of technology
- Verify speaking scripts
- Ensure each volunteer has what they need
Not every week looks the same. Some weeks we have more services and some are dramatically different. As a whole, our process is consistent. Even with our services online, this process continues. It helps us to maintain when things are unpredictable.
I am proud to work with the preaching pastors. They create powerful sermons from their own spiritual lives and congregational input. I love our creative team. This team helps enhance our worship by designing graphics, video clips, and even sermon illustrations used Sunday morning.
Most importantly, I am thankful for all of our volunteers making the plan possible and our congregation making the efforts worth it.