Puzzled Worship Planning
Every Sunday, worship pastors and leaders are charged with a task. The task that we have is quite overwhelming to be honest. This task is to lead God’s people in worship of Him. For most, though, in these positions, it is more than just leading the service. Typically it involves planning and developing the service.
Being called to lead God’s people in worship of Himself is a large task that can be overwhelming, but to be honest, over time, if one is not careful, the worship pastor or leader can begin to develop different ideas over time that “work,” and before too long, a worship pastor or leader will begin to put puzzle pieces together each week that seemingly create a good worship service; however, the pieces of the puzzle were never developed through the necessary channels of prayer and guidance from God. The potential of monotony in planning worship services week in and week out can overcome a person, but the reality is, most of the time when this occurs, we have truly lost our vision and purpose for why we plan and lead worship services weekly.
If you have found yourself just going through the motions and developing weekly services that are puzzle pieces put together based upon what you know will work, let me encourage you today: You are not alone. Leading worship each and every week places a worship pastor or leader on the frontlines of spiritual battle. I believe the lack of true spiritual discernment and spiritual zeal in leading God’s people in worship are always ways in which worship pastors and leaders are attacked. It’s a very subtle way in which the Evil One can wear down a man or woman of God, and most people do not realize that it is taking place until it is too late. Every worship pastor or leader has found him or herself in this spot before; however, let me encourage you again: Don’t continue this practice. You don’t have to stay there.
When I find myself in this position, I’m reminded of Isaiah 29:13 in which God says, “Because these people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men” (ESV). To go through the motions with God is sinful. When we are putting pieces of the worship puzzle together weekly with no thought, we are pleasing people, because we know to show up on a Sunday with nothing would cost us our jobs; however, we are not pleasing God, because He knows our hearts. He knows our motives and our desires. To lead worship in this manner is a sin before God. If you are reading this and recognizing this to be true of you, repent. Ask God to forgive you of your lack of desire for Him and the things of Him. Know that He is a loving God. Know that He desires your worship. Seek Him and His grace. Go to His Word.
One of the greatest pitfalls that we, as worship pastors and leaders, can have is allowing God to become a duty and not our delight. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” God was never intended to be a duty for any of us, and at any moment that He becomes a duty, we must reset our hearts to be reminded that He is our delight, and there is one way to do this.
Remember who He is—Almighty God, Righteous Judge, Everlasting Father, Creator of All Things, Redeemer, and the beautiful list goes on and on. This very God is your God. How does God become your delight? You have to know Him. You have to know who He is, and this knowledge leads to worship. There are times in our lives that we have to remind ourselves who God is. We can stand on stage and tell people who He is, all while not hearing ourselves. You will only find your delight in Him when you know who He is, and frankly, this is something that needs to take place daily in our lives. When the truths of God are central in our lives, we can’t allow worship planning and leading to become monotonous. We need to remember daily how incredibly glorious our holy triune God truly is. Pray to Him. Dig deep into His Word. Allow those truths to overflow into your worship planning and leading.
There are times in our lives that we must repent and remember. There is no greater calling in this world than to lead the people of God in worshiping Him weekly. Guard your heart. Don’t take this opportunity for granted. Put the puzzle together weekly, but allow God to steer your heart as you seek to lead people to Him.
Landon Reynolds is a Christ-follower, husband, father, and pastor. Currently, Landon is an associate pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Florence, SC, where he oversees music and worship. He holds degrees from Anderson University, SC, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently, Landon is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Anderson University, SC.