It has become somewhat of a comical dialog between the band members as they discuss what we rehearse and what really happens during the service. My description of how we do worship is ‘planned spontaneity.” As a worship staff we take seriously the task of planning our services and in the process ask hard questions that dictate what actually makes it into the plan. We also rehearse the setlist as planned and from all this planning and rehearsing comes the opportunity to vary from the plan. Very rarely does the final presentation of the service follow the exact plan. The planning makes the spontaneity possible.
As worship leaders our job is to plan and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit during this process. Our job and responsibility is to also be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit during the service. I believe this is something we need to teach the teams we lead. Teach them that we are open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we plan and as we lead.
It is not about changing the plan because we can, because the teams can adjust the course or because it might be cool to do so. We are open to change because we sense the Holy Spirit speaking to the congregation.
Last Sunday I witnessed a great example of a leader being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As is the case in many of our services, we intentionally plan a ‘welcome/fellowship time’ somewhere during the first part of the service. Just before the ‘welcome/fellowship’ the congregation was really focused on God and engaged in the conversation of worship. Our senior pastor was to lead the congregation in the welcome, however he sensed the connection God was making in the worship, so he came to the stage and gently talked to the congregation about keeping the service about the vertical conversation and not changing the direction to the horizontal between worshippers.
Because the pastor was willing to make a change on this Sunday, we were able to move on through the next elements and keep our focus on God.
What are your thoughts on planning and rehearsing with the intent to carry out the service as planned but with the willingness to make changes as you feel God leads?
Our Setlist for November 7, 2010
Glory To God Forever by Steve Fee
Song Set 1
The Highest and the Greatest by Tim Hughes and Nick Herbert
We Fall Down by Chris Tomlin
Holy Says It All by Maranda Roberson and Shane Facchinello
Song Set 2
Mighty to Save by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan
For Your Glory by T.W. Hale and Michael H Smith