Whatever your worship "style," it takes a lot of work to make sure that our worship services are consistently engaging and life-giving.
We are planning two retreats this summer (one new, one time-tested) that can help pastors and church leaders lay the groundwork for great worship this fall and winter.
We preachers and worship leaders see the ways the Holy Spirit is active while worship is happening - touching hearts, empowering the worship leaders, and weaving connections between the elements of worship (often connections we didn't expect!)
And of course, if we're honest, there are times when we enter the pulpit by the seat of our pants, because the other demands of ministry left us without enough time to prepare for worship.
In either case, we trust that Holy Spirit is at work in our worship services. We know that God speaks through and in spite of us.
Planning worship months in advance may not feel particularly Spirit-led, but doing long-range worship planning really is a spirit-led process.
In co-leading the Creative Worship Design Retreat, Rev. Alan Jones often says, "I love a Holy Spirit that works 6 months in advance."
He and Rev. Kari Jones describe in the retreat how their long-range planning of worship themes and scriptures gives them time to work with a team to plan creative and engaging worship.
Of course, sometimes things will come up and worship plans will need to change. That being said, I never cease to be amazed at how lectionary texts and sermon series planned months in advance can match up so perfectly with current events or needs that pop up in the community.
Advance worship planning sets the stage for the Holy Spirit to work as we meditate on scripture, plan sermons, choose songs, and prepare other creative elements of worship.
It also means that when all of our other ministry responsibilities pile up, we know we have a plan for worship. It takes the pressure off a little, so that we can focus on the pieces that need our attention most.
I know how much work goes into worship planning and sermon preparation, which is why Pecometh is offering two worship planning retreats this summer.
Whether you've never planned worship more than a week or two out before, or you've been taking sermon planning retreats for years, I think you'll find something of value here.
These retreats are an opportunity for pastors and worship teams to:
Spend time praying and being inspired by God
Get some work done - lay out worship themes and scriptures for the next few months (or as long as you want)
Put some new tools in your worship-planning toolboxes
Brainstorm with other people, and hear what other churches are doing