Creating an effective service flow is one of the many topics I see questions about. Pastors, music directors, or worship leaders often want to know what’s working for the next church or they are looking for a way to change things up in their services.
I’m going to share a couple templates and my personal favorite service flow, along with the reasons why it’s my favorite, but I wanted to cover a couple of things first.
Having a schedule and plan for your church service is a good thing! It’s important for the church to present itself with excellence. Not only does it show God that we care about His business enough to put our time and effort into it, but it also makes an impact on the visitors that are hopefully walking through your doors each week!
I recently heard it put like this, everything we do for the church, cutting the grass, cleaning toilets, greeting visitors, getting promo material, making the lyrics accessible during the service, being friendly, preparing a worship set or message, etc. should all be with done the intention of reaching the lost! We should always do our best at whatever we’re doing, including being timely and creating a great presentation of our church and our God, so that hopefully someone will want to walk through those doors and be changed by the powerful presence of God without being hindered by distractions or disorganization.
You can read more about why I choose to prepare here.
That being said, we should always understand that God is free change the direction of a service and we should always take off after Him.
Here is what I like to do!
I’ve found that it’s important to have a time of uninterrupted worship.
I’m one of those people that is easily distracted (ironically, I’m writing this while currently being distracted by a guy in a kilt walking down the street outside of my Seattle apartment…).
So, yeah… back on topic!
Having one song, then offering, then another song, then prayer, then another song, then announcements, etc., etc., you get the point!
I have a hard time focusing on worship and getting into the presence of the Lord when my attention is constantly be diverted, so I prefer to group 2-3 songs together for an uninterrupted time of focus on worship.
I also like to start with something upbeat and gradually move to something slow/deep by the end of the worship set. I’ve found it’s great to get everyone up, moving, and engaged from the beginning and then get to a place where we are really connecting with God on a more intimate level.
Remember, this is just a part of the template! There have been times when we’ve come in from the prayer room and started with a slow song because of the power of God that was already moving in that direction. There have been other times that we sang all fast songs! Sometimes the worship set was planned that way and other times God redirected the service.
This is what a typical worship service would look like for me.
Opening Song (Medium to Fast)
Worship Song (Medium to Fast)
Worship Song (Medium to Slow)
Worship Song (Slow)
I like to use about 4 songs in one service (5 if we are having a choir or special) and my goal is always to prepare the way for the preached Word of God and never to take over the service.
If we don’t have any preaching in a service, it’s because God did it! I also never equate a great service to a service where the preacher didn’t get to preach. The Bible let’s us know that it’s preaching that saves them that believe (1 Corinthians 1:21) and those who don’t know Him can’t call on Him or believe with a preacher (Romans 10-13-15).
I prefer to go straight from worship into the preaching because I believe that the people are a perfect place spiritually to receive the Word God has for the church. If you choose that time to take up the offering or do announcements, the level of engagement decreases as the congregation begins to dig through wallets, grab calendars, start thinking about next week or month, etc.
After all of that being said, if you’re a music director or worship leader, you have to connect with your pastor or department leader and find out what the vision for the service in your church is!
You also have to find out what works best in your church!
This service flow has proven to work for me and our church, but you may have to do something else in order to effectively minister to your congregation.
If you’re interested in trying this template out, then you can download these 2 options and fill in the blanks!
If you have a service flow that has proven to work great in your church, I’d love to hear what you do! Please share with us in the comments below!