I don't know if they understand what we are trying to tell...but...it is still our responsibility as the worship planning team and leaders to know and follow our core values and goals. It seems there are always people wanting us to introduce the latest song they have heard on the recently released worship CD. Then there are others who want us to bring back a song or hymn from days past.
The best way I know to respond to any request is to
- listen with an open heart and mind
- say thank you for that suggestion and
- evaluate the suggestion against our church's core values and supporting core values of the worship ministry.
The suggestions that come from a wide age range of sources are often a personal preference. But as a worship team we must be careful not to dismiss a suggestion with a personal evaluation. Doing so we may miss a great idea or a song that we didn't know about or one we have forgotten about.
When our planning team uses this simple three step process we are open to new ideas and are true to what we believe is the mission and responsibility of the worship ministry.
Once we have listened to the idea with an open heart and mind we can then really begin the evaluation process to see if the suggestion meets the criteria of our worship core values. For our team we have determined that all materials (songs, readings, videos) we use in worship must:
- be theologically sound
- fit into a retelling of the God's Story (the Gospel)
- accessible to the congregation (they can participate)
- connect culturally with the congregation
- be used in a dialog of worship
- that allows God to be spoken of as His characteristics reflect
- allows the congregation to speak to God in a response of praise, adoration, confession and surrender.
As long as there are churches and people, worship leaders will be given suggestions. Some of them will be great and others not so much...but we should never use personal preference as our main criteria for choosing elements in our worship services.
Worship Leaders: What are the criteria that you use to determine the content of your worship services?
Congregations: Do you feel that your worship teams are open to suggestions?