Planning Worship with Intentionality in Mind
We live in a culture where just about everything is bold and in our face. Going down streets, even in small towns, businesses have put up “casino” LED signs designed to draw our attention. With so many, more often than not, they just fade together in a proverbial noise that builds with the constant bombardment of advertisements constantly hitting our consciousness.
I ask the question, does our worship have to be this way?
As a church media planner, I understand the tension of wanting to make sure your church receives the “razzle dazzle” every week but also be worshipful at the same time.
Here are some thoughts on being intentional with leading your congregation in worship through media.
There is beauty in media silence.
One specific instance I can remember was when I attended a conference that had been very media driven with very powerful visuals and flashy lights (all done worshipfully). While I was on dinner break, the media team did something so very unexpected.
When I came back for the evening session the only media in the room were white paper sacks with LED candles that were set up to look like paper bag lanterns; the rest of the room was dark. The whole service was done with this lighting, not one stage light, and the only audio was a vocal and guitar which was barely reinforced through the sound system. I remember the release of self-pressure to not be constantly showing off what I could do with media to point people to Jesus. I just had to invite people to Him and make space for Jesus to do the work.
There is beauty in media boldness.
As much as there is room for subtly, there is also room for bold moments. Making much of Jesus and proclaiming His name loud enough to shake the rafters is Biblical, and strongly encouraged. Beginning a service with high energy invites people to lift up the name of Jesus for what He has done and what He is continuing to do. This serves to unify the church body as the service progresses; prepares hearts to meet with Jesus. After all, we all have one thing in common: Jesus has changed our lives and it needs to be loudly proclaimed.
There is beauty in being intentional.
Leading worship through media, whether bold or subtle or both, is a position that should not be taken lightly. By curating things like lighting and screen visuals you are a part of creating an environment that can help break down people’s preconceived notions about what they are about to experience. It is important to create spaces that allow God to break down mental walls that people have fortified themselves behind to feel the freedom to meet with God.
One way to do this in your worship space that may be overlooked is the use scents. At Christmas time I actually put out a few of the scented melting bricks that smelled like pine. While this can be effective I equally caution not to have it be too strong because that can have an adverse effect, trying before service day is strongly encouraged.
Another idea is to have designated spaces for people to personally meet with Jesus that are not at the front of the room. There may be people that need to meet with Jesus privately and do not feel comfortable doing so at the front of the room.
I know that every church is different from both culture and demographics, but I encourage you to be intentional, whether bold or subtle. Be confident in what you are doing, but do not let the pressure of showing off what you and/or your church can do with technology take priority of the Gospel message.
It all comes down to serving the church and inviting people into a relationship with Christ.