Worship Planning Today

Each week the worship planning team gets together to plan for the upcoming weeks, series and events. I have to admit that for many years this meeting was about the business of worship music: what songs, how long, what arrangement, and what things do we add to the service this week…all very necessary stuff.

Worship planning today looks much different. One change is that it isn’t just me and one other in the room, now there is a larger staff and we discuss multiple services and venues. The most important change is that we spend a significant amount of our time in study of God’s Word and in prayer. The study can be specific to the up-coming sermons or it can be, as it was today, about passage.

Today’s topic we examined was found in the book of 2 Chronicles Chapters 29-31, centering in on the call to ministry, specifically leading others in worship.

2 Chronicles 29: 11 states: “My dear Levites, do not neglect your duties any longer! The Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to minister to Him, and to lead the people in worship and make offerings to Him”

I believe the team I lead has been called to do just that…called to lead.

2 Chronicles 29:15: “These men called together their fellow Levites and they purified themselves. Then they began to purify the Temple of the Lord, just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the Lord’s instructions in their work.”

This is why we spend time in God’s Word and prayer each week; praying for each other, praying for ClearView, praying that as we lead we follow God’s instructions.

2 Chronicles 29:27: “Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be placed on the altar. As the burnt offering was presented, songs of praise to the Lord were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, king of Israel.”

Burnt offerings = prayers…they lifted up prayers before they could ever minister. The worship team at ClearView wants to do just that; then when worship leaders, and all other worshipers join together, we celebrate the very presence of God, with joy.

2 Chronicles 31:21
: “In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow the law and the commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.”

We know that we can never be successful if we do not seek God with our whole heart.
Worship planning is so much better when it is not about the things that fill our worship services but about the One we worship and what we can learn about who we should be from His Word.

Public Worship Needs

"If there is
one characteristic more than others that contemporary public worship needs to
recapture, it is this awe before the surpassingly great and gracious God."

Henry Sloane Coffin

Worship this Sunday: 2 plus 1 = 2020

This Sunday at ClearView Church
in Franklin, Tennessee, we begin a new journey: one that
gives us the opportunity to accommodate more people in worship. Here are the
descriptions of the service options on the ClearView campus:


9:30 AM

Venue 1 – The
(Building A)
Worship Center

A blended service that includes a variety of elements (songs
of worship, prayer, hymns), focusing on connecting people with the presence of
God.  The service is led by a vocal team, choir, band and on a regular
basis orchestra.  The message is delivered by our pastor.


Venue 2 – The Chapel (Building C)

The service is described as 'more traditional' taking most
of its elements of worship from the hymnal. The music elements will be
accompanied by piano and led by a worship leader and supporting team.  In
this venue the sermon will be presented on video screen delivered from
"The Worship Center."


11:00 AM

Venue 1 – The Worship Center
(Building A)

The worship service at this hour in the worship center is
presented in the same format as the 9:30 AM time. The sermon is delivered live by
our pastor.


How does 2 + 1
= 2020. The “Worship Center
” has the
capability of seating 810 at one time and the “Chapel” can seat 400…so 810 +
810 + 400 = 2020.


On this Thursday here is how you can prepare and pray for

Pray for the new leadership in “The Chapel”: Alexis Cruz, worship leader; John
Duval, venue pastor and other leaders in ‘venue 2.” Another
prayer would be for the team that leads the service in ‘venue 1.” Pray for our
pastor as he puts the final touches on the sermon he will share with us. And
finally pray that the people of ClearView will come expecting to meet God.  (If you were not part of the services last
week it might be good to listen to the podcast of last week’s sermon. He talked
specifically about how we should come into a worship venue each week.)


This week our pastor finishes leading us on a journey
through the book of Nehemiah.  You can
prepare for hearing God’s Word by reading Nehemiah Chapter 13.


Here are some other scriptures that also might help you
prepare for worship this week at ClearView:

John 1:16,17

Psalm 68:19,20 


Psalm 146:1,2

I Corinthians 3:10,11

Worship wherever you are

do we limit the action to a Sunday morning event?  I hope not because that is not what worship
is.  It is about being a follower of
Christ and letting Christ show us how each day to be a better follower. 


Below is
an email I just received from one of my choir members who has recently been
deployed to Kuwait
.  He shares his heart about meeting God in
worship, his hunger to be closer to God and his observations about person’s
willingness to use the gifts they have to help others worship.  It is a little long but it is worth the read.




Sunday I went to the post chapel for morning service.  I had seen a poster
in the barracks that advertised “ChapelNext” a contemporary worship
service.  Most of my experience in military chapels has been a bit lack
luster to say the least.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some great
chaplains who do a real work for God in the military.  But with the
constant change of personnel and in a “desert place” many times there is no
music or musicians, etc.


this past Sunday I really met with God in an unusual way.  I feel like I
really worshiped with my focus on God and God alone.  It wasn’t one of
those things you can plan or prepare for.  It wasn’t a result of what
anybody did to “make it happen,” or the result of a certain style of music that
can “create worship” any better than any other.


service began with group (congregational) singing.  There was a praise
team of five voices, a rhythm guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and drummer. 
None of these musicians would be “good enough” to play or sing from the
platform of our church back in
Further, the sound system was a bit inferior, and I am used to fantastic sound
and even the latest in special effects lighting in my church.  The five
singers consisted of a female soprano, a female alto, two men who sang the
melody, and one man who sang the melody an octave low.  The group was
racially mixed.  Nobody had on the latest “cutting edge” clothing. 
Shoot, they all had on combat uniforms.  They introduced a young fellow
named Mike who, for the first time, was running the computer PowerPoint which
had the words projected on the wall.  Poor Mike had trouble keeping the
words on the wall that they were singing, but he gave it a good effort. 
Finally, the group of singers did not stand out on the stage in front. 
They stood along the back wall beside the band, very unnoticed.


As we
began singing, I was introduced to a new song.  Then we sang a familiar
song.  We sang, “Open the eyes of my heart Lord,” and I began to feel like
God and I were having a one-on-one moment together.  Nothing like I had
ever had before.  We sang “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  I just closed my eyes
and lifted my voice upward.  The tears began to flow.  I wanted to
reach upward to God.  I have never been a hand-raiser.  I don’t even
clap a lot to the songs.  But Sunday I wanted to reach to the heavens and
touch God.  I never saw the musicians, never analyzed the chord
structures, never gave it a thought that the harmonies weren’t even
there.  I just got in touch with God.  I really didn’t want to
stop.  We sang several songs.  When I would look at the singers, they
had such a servant’s spirit.  I didn’t get the feeling they wanted to be
the “sage on the stage.”  They were just humble soldiers, black and white,
who would never get the chance to sing in most of our American evangelical
churches because they weren’t “good enough.”  But they were engaged in
worship and somehow I got there too.  I can’t explain it.  I didn’t
feel the least bit of a critic, even when the wrong words were projected. 
It was just alright.

sermon was great.  It was about Holy Spirit Power…
.  I don’t know how to describe what happened, but I met
with God in an unusual way…

Tuesday night, I attended a group Bible Study.  There were
nine of us in attendance.  The group was racially mixed, two females,
seven males, officers and enlisted.  Everybody was from different parts of
the country.  I and one other were the only southerners there.  The
study was lead by a layman/soldier from New York. He was well versed in the scripture and did a great job leading us through Matthew 14. It was obvious that (1) many of the attendees were young in faith and in the
Word, and (2) hungry to learn more about God’s word.   At the end, we
had a chance to share our joys, praises, and prayer requests.

Remember Mike, the
young soldier who worked the PowerPoint for the music?  Well he was
there.  He spoke and said something like this, “I have been saved six
years and I’ve always wanted to give something in the service.  I’ve
always wanted to participate somehow.”  Then with tears in his eyes he
said, “Last Sunday they let me run the computer and the words to the
songs.  It was the greatest thing I have ever done.  I didn’t think
God would ever let me do something like that.”  WOW!  What a
ministry.  This young soldier, far from home, was overjoyed that he got to
run the computer during the time of praise and worship.  Isn’t God
great?!  When I think about this group, the word “humble” comes to the
front.  Nobody gets paid, nobody gets fame.

 If my
deployment over here does nothing more for me than to have a new and refreshing
walk with God, then this deployment is worth it…

 I really
don’t know how to conclude this except to ask you to pray for this little band
of believers.  Every week there are new people and every week people
re-deploy back to the states.  They are literally spread all over the
world before it is over.

 It’s an
honor to serve my country and my God,


will be praying for Rodney

The End is Just the Beginning

Sunday January 25 was the end of
a six year journey for the church I serve, ClearView Baptist Church Franklin
…no not the end of my job but the end to a building project which
included a new master plan and getting the whole project approved by the City.  The most recent phase that we completed
included: 16 preschool classrooms, indoor playground for preschoolers,
children’s worship space for 250, youth space for 350 and a second worship
venue that will seat 450.

ClearView now has two worship
venues, the original seats 810 and now the new one 450.  The plan starting this week is to continue
two worship services in ‘venue 1’ at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and then add a service
in ‘venue 2’ at 9:30.  I never dreamed 27
years ago, when I started full-time ministry that we could have simultaneous
services happening on the same campus and send the sermon from one to the other
by video…times they are a changing.


“Venue 1” 
the original is really
a gym that was designed so that it could be a very effective worship center
each week.  The great part about this
space is that it is used seven days a week for a multitude of activities:
sports, worship, dinner, housing homeless during the winter and many other
things.  I believe ClearView is being
good stewards of this space.



“Venue 2” even though it was
designed to look like a traditional ‘chapel’ with stage, vaulted ceilings and
windows with inlaid crosses, it also was designed to be flexible space.  The intent is to use it many different ways
and fill it up as often as possible. 
Just this past week ‘venue 2’ was able to be the meeting place for our
DNOW weekend for middle school and high school students.  With just some minor effort and some added
lights, the room looked totally ‘cool’ for the students.  This coming Sunday ‘venue 2’ will be the
meeting place for our first ever ‘more traditional’ service.  Now that is flexibility!!! With this
flexibility we are striving to be good stewards of this new space.  It is my prayer that we will be open to
whatever God wants to take place in this room.



One campus, two worship venues,
three services = more space for people to meet God in the conversation of