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Ok... so our church has been through a big season of change this past year, with so much of our church leaders leaving, and we are trying to rebuild our worship services. 

 

Previously, our services (especially our contemporary one) was incredibly choppy.  We sang a song, stoppped, clapped, sang another song, stopped, clapped, etc.  Since leadership has changed, we have inserted prayer into the worship sets, along with scripture readings.  We are trying to have smooth transitions between all of the elements of worship.

 

Having said that, it seems as if our corporate prayer is in an odd place.  We have our praise and worship, then we stop, have our mission moment, offertory, THEN prayer... and it seems too segmented.  I feel that praise and worship music should be helping our congregation enter that season of prayer, and instead, we put the brakes on, stop whatever ground we've gained, ask our congregation to go a different direction, and then come back. 

 

We are getting ready to have a new pastor, and it's an exciting time.  A season of change is coming, and I am looking for structural ideas from everybody out there!

 

~Angela

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A quick reply ...

I would suggest trying to place prayer between two of the songs of praise. This usually flows well and makes prayer more praiseful and praise more prayerful ...

Phil
I am so encouraged by this discussion of placing prayer in a suitable place in the church meetings. So thank you Angela for bringing this up ! And thanks to Phil for a great reply.
Perhaps it is possible to hand over to the worship leader a list of prayer requests before the meeting and then share the various prayers between praise ?
T.Leigre.
Yes ...

Or, have the worship(music) leader partner with a prayer facilitator (also worship) ... the worship leader can hand-off to the prayer leader to facilitate a moment of praying, who then hands-back to the worship leader who uses the next song to draw the congregation from their praying back to singing ...


Perhaps it is possible to hand over to the worship leader a list of prayer requests before the meeting and then share the various prayers between praise ?
T.Leigre.
Thanks to all for the suggestions so far... they are all outstanding. Let me throw another wrench into your thinking.

I AM the worship leader.. lol. If our new pastor is open to this, I would open with 2 praise songs, continue playing while the pastor or another comes invites the congregation into a season of prayer, continue worship through a song while people come forward to the altar to pray, and connect that to one or two more worship songs that lead immediately into the sermon. Our struggle is then, WHERE, oh WHERE do you put the OFFERING? I don't want to interrupt the flow of worship for the mission moment and the offering. I also don't want to do two fast songs, sit the congregation down, have offering, then stand them back up because it treats your people like popcorn, and still breaks the mood and feels awkward. And it seems as if once you have reached the end of the sermon, the overall disposition of the body is that worship is over, and we are about to be dismissed... so I know that putting the offering there would be equally odd.

This is essentially my struggle.... if I did not have offering and mission moment to worry about, I know exactly how I would structure it weekly. I gotta figure this out.. lol.
why not have offering mission moments, or anything that fits in with those two right away everyone knows they are part of the service than the singing and prayer can go as you outined above and that way also the hearts that received the message and what the Holy Spirit spoke to them won't be diverted back to offerings and other things that are sometimes at the end and totally divert theimpact the message had Norm
Angela,

You're right. Congregational Prayer belongs at the heart of worship. That's why God placed the Altar of Incense directly in front of the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Chopping up worship with less important things is like answering your cell phone in the throne room of God.

I agree with Phil that congregational prayer should be in the 'midst' of worship, not a bookend to it. When making the transition from music to prayer; try to have less than two seconds of dead time. To do this the person leading prayer needs to have a 'cue' that the end of the song is at hand. A few seconds before the end of the song; the worship leader should give the cue so the prayer leader can move into place.

Folks have to be educated to the importance of this. They seem to feel it's disrespectful to move onto the pulpit area while the worship leader is still leading. Try to help them see how inappropriate it is for them to become the center of attention as they parade to the podium with the congregation and God waiting.

Here's a link to a file titled Quick Guide to Planning a God-centered Worship Service. It has several suggestions including using silent guided prayer so everyone can participate.

http://lowellsnow.com/Assets/first%20pages%20of%20Prayer%20Guide_fi...

Hope that helps.

Do you have a position of responsibility in your congregation? I'm wondering how you hope to influence worship during the interim and more importantly how you hope to influence future staff.
What is the size of the congregation?


WHERE, oh WHERE do you put the OFFERING? I don't want to interrupt the flow of worship for the mission moment and the offering. I also don't want to do two fast songs, sit the congregation down, have offering, then stand them back up because it treats your people like popcorn, and still breaks the mood and feels awkward.
Hi Phil,
Thanks for alerting me to this web site. It's exactly what I've been looking for.

In my experience, a mission moment is often more consistent with the announcement part of the service. Not because of its content but because of the way it's done. It's often read from a book by a layman who then says a monolog prayer. The congregation has little or no participation. If that's the way it's done; it should be moved to the beginning or end of the service.

However, praying for missionaries does belong at the heart of worship but should be part of the prayer time. If you condense the same information and incorporate it into guided silent prayer during the congregational prayer time; it's wonderful.

About the offering. Again, the key is how it's done. It belongs at the heart of worship but needs to be led as worship. Putting my tithe in the offering plate is a very significant part of worship for me. It actually aggravates me when pastors and worship leaders treat it as a necessary inconvenience.

I think most worship leaders can think of ways to make the offering an act of worship if they give it some attention. The problem is that it's just a ritual in many churches that's done the same way every week. I personally think music is still a perfect companion to the offering and I like instrumental music. I realize I’m not everyone, but I am someone and there’s probably a few others out there like me.

Phil Miglioratti said:
What is the size of the congregation?


WHERE, oh WHERE do you put the OFFERING? I don't want to interrupt the flow of worship for the mission moment and the offering. I also don't want to do two fast songs, sit the congregation down, have offering, then stand them back up because it treats your people like popcorn, and still breaks the mood and feels awkward.
The reason I asked about the size -- When I pastored a small (85 or so) congregation, we were able to place a large basket in a central place, hold it high for all to see during a prayer for the offering during worship, then we encouraged people to place their tithes and offerings in at anytime during the celebration.
Angela,
I'm kind of new to this blogging stuff so my last post was out of sink with what you're asking because I didn't see this post.
Anyway, some churches put offering chests at the entrance so people can give their offering as they enter worship. This is what they did in the temple of Jesus day. I don't really like this idea because it separates the offering from the worship service too much. It would also be a change that might create some conflict. However, it would solve your problem so I thought I'd mention it.


Angela Marshall said:
Thanks to all for the suggestions so far... they are all outstanding. Let me throw another wrench into your thinking.

I AM the worship leader.. lol. If our new pastor is open to this, I would open with 2 praise songs, continue playing while the pastor or another comes invites the congregation into a season of prayer, continue worship through a song while people come forward to the altar to pray, and connect that to one or two more worship songs that lead immediately into the sermon. Our struggle is then, WHERE, oh WHERE do you put the OFFERING? I don't want to interrupt the flow of worship for the mission moment and the offering. I also don't want to do two fast songs, sit the congregation down, have offering, then stand them back up because it treats your people like popcorn, and still breaks the mood and feels awkward. And it seems as if once you have reached the end of the sermon, the overall disposition of the body is that worship is over, and we are about to be dismissed... so I know that putting the offering there would be equally odd.

This is essentially my struggle.... if I did not have offering and mission moment to worry about, I know exactly how I would structure it weekly. I gotta figure this out.. lol.
Angela, you have received good advice here. As a pastor, I appreciate your willingness to work with your new pastor. We are experimenting with receiving the offering at the end of the service as part of our response to God's Word. We also receive Communication Cards at this time as well -- expressing responses to the message as well as information on newcomers. Perhaps this will work for you.
Angela -- I feel your pain! :-) The offering, to me, is the most difficult thing to place in worship in terms of flow. Because of that, and with many ambivelant feelings, we take offering after the welcome moments, as the 1st of a 3 song set. Then comes prayer, with the praise team playing quietly, followed by a short prayer song - then the message.

It isn't perfect, but better than what we had before.

Scott

Angela Marshall said:
Thanks to all for the suggestions so far... they are all outstanding. Let me throw another wrench into your thinking.

I AM the worship leader.. lol. If our new pastor is open to this, I would open with 2 praise songs, continue playing while the pastor or another comes invites the congregation into a season of prayer, continue worship through a song while people come forward to the altar to pray, and connect that to one or two more worship songs that lead immediately into the sermon. Our struggle is then, WHERE, oh WHERE do you put the OFFERING? I don't want to interrupt the flow of worship for the mission moment and the offering. I also don't want to do two fast songs, sit the congregation down, have offering, then stand them back up because it treats your people like popcorn, and still breaks the mood and feels awkward. And it seems as if once you have reached the end of the sermon, the overall disposition of the body is that worship is over, and we are about to be dismissed... so I know that putting the offering there would be equally odd.

This is essentially my struggle.... if I did not have offering and mission moment to worry about, I know exactly how I would structure it weekly. I gotta figure this out.. lol.

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