Thursday, July 17, 2008

Planning and Leading Worship as a Pastoral Task:

I have had the luxury of using our reader for almost a full year, I guess you can call it a benefit of being on the team for two years. Both times, one of my favorite article is this one. After 6 years of being involved in planning, leading and running worship-I understand how sometimes it just seems to be a task that must get done.

I have a quote written on a piece of masking tape in my bible from Dr. Kalas from last years NSO chapel.

“Becoming familiar with sacred things can hurt us-because the sacred becomes normal.”

Everytime I read this quote it jumps out at me. It really speaks to the situation we have as worship designers. The article outlines four self-images of the worship planner, and I think the last one of “Spiritual Engineer” is the most dangerous. We feel the need to always “out-bling” ourselves at every service. How often have we thought that we can get enough of a holy frenzy going on for the Holy Spirit to come down (I have blogged about this before, you can read the post here). As the article states we sometimes think we have the task of “turning an ordinary moment into a holy moment”, and that is something the church has been facing for thousands of years. But we can’t do that, and this idea always reminds me of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, screaming and cutting themselves in an attempt to call down fire.

In our attempt to make a moment holy we have to daily be stepping back and remembering that we serve the Holy One, and a moment is not just Holy to him, but His entire makeup screams holiness, it is the output that shapes all other outputs of God.

We have to understand our task of “worship”. It is not just music filler before the sermon. And the sermon is not the apex of our worship. We have the goal of completely integrating the entire service as a unitive whole. When we design a service that is fully integrated together and shows the journey through the Biblical Story of a Triune God who desperately loves this world we have accomplished designing worship. Then we are truly focused on God in our entire service, through the announcements to the benediction.

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