How to Find Powerful Moments in Your Worship Set

“Don’t just sing songs . . . create moments!” That’s the advice that I received several years ago while attending a Tom Jackson’s Expressive Worship Conference.

I couldn’t agree more. In fact one of our core values here at The Journey has always been to not just ‘execute the service’, but to create moments of life-transformation in our worship services. It’s not enough to just play good music or teach a good message. We need to plan our services so that there are intentional moments where people can connect with God and experience life transformation.

This idea — creating moments — is central to the third question that you want to ask in preparing your music plan each week.

Here’s the question:

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Ask these 3 Questions to Create a Dynamic Worship Service Flow

Have you been there before?

After leading a powerful worship set, you come to the end of the final song. It’s a quiet moment of worship and the congregation fully engaged and focused on God, when . . .

. . . the “announcements guy” comes out with a big laugh and smile, and sets a completely different tone from the one you just created.

On their own, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about either of these worship service elements. But back to back in your worship service, the light and fun announcement time quickly jerks the congregation out of the moment like going from 1st gear to 3rd gear without pushing in the clutch.

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Ask this Question Before You Finalize Your Worship Set for Sunday

Developing a Music Plan is one of your most important roles each week.  I’m not just talking about selecting the set list. That’s only part of it.

I’m talking about creating a plan for how the music that you have selected is going to fit into the overall flow of the worship order, help create moments of life transformation, empower members of your team to step up to new levels of leading, and engage your congregation in passionate worship. You know… the easy stuff – ha!

The songs are important, but it’s your Music Plan that will pull all the pieces together and make for a powerful worship set each week.

At The Journey, we ask Five Questions each week to help us develop our plan, and over the next few weeks we’ll dive into each of these (and the system and purpose behind them).

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When I Disagree with My Pastor

It happens! For some of us more than we care to admit. We don’t mean for it to happen. And it’s nothing personal, but sometimes we just…

…Disagree with our pastors!

Maybe it’s a decision about the worship service for Sunday, or a project that we just see differently. But disagreements will arise between pastor and worship pastor. So how do you handle it?

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Three Ways to Show You Care at Rehearsal this Week

Every week you have an opportunity to invest in your team and show them you care at your weekly rehearsal.

Yet too many times we let the constraint of time and the demands of music override our pastoral position in the rehearsal room.

Remember: You are a pastor first and a musician second.

And rehearsal can be an important time of encouraging and ministering to your team members… of reminding them that we care more about them than what they can do for us.

Rehearsal is a “built-in” opportunity for you to invest in your team members every week… IF you know how to make the most of the opportunity.

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Three “Must Do’s” for Your 2015 Ministry Calendar

2015 is not even 2 weeks old and chances are your ministry calendar is already filling up!

Planning Meetings… Rehearsals… Mission Trips… Mid-week [insert your commitments here].

Faster than you realize, ministry “life as we know it” happens!

And if your calendar for 2015 isn’t planned, then 2015 will be a year of reacting to the demands of the day and playing catch up. Not the place to be if you want to make a difference for God’s Kingdom this year.

So, to help you plan your year before your year plans you, let me encourage you to break out your calendar and plan your entire ministry year (and personal life) for 2015.

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3 Worship Ministry Fundamentals You Can’t Afford to Ignore

It’s the first night of practice for my daughter’s basketball team.

Among the nonstop bouncing of basketballs and the laughs of 3rd and 4th grade girls I’m reminded of one of the most important principles for any worship leader, Pastor or musician heading into the start of the New Year.

Do you remember when you first learned your instrument?

My guitar teacher spent time those first weeks teaching me how to hold a pick, how to count, how to take care of my instrument and more.

Like me, you probably learned scales. You practiced and practiced and practiced. It was exciting because it was new.

But the longer we play, sing, Pastor, and lead worship the more we tend to think, “I got this.” And the more we think that we don’t need to keep returning to the fundamentals of ministry that we learned so long ago.

The key to becoming a better worship leader tomorrow is working on the fundamentals today.

As we approach Christmas and the start of a New Year, here are three fundamentals worth reviewing in your ministry:

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Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it (Part 4)

I admit it… I may be the most un-hip worship leader on the planet.

This became immediately clear when I stopped by a local high school recently and I saw up-close what pop-culture looks like. If that’s hip, then I’m not!

Hip is a hot topic in worship circles these days and must of the new music coming out for churches reflects it. Worship Leaders are wrestling with the question of whether certain styles of music for congregational worship are just keeping with the times, or creating a culture of congregational onlookers and worship team performers?

Recently I kicked off this new series about what has become one of the major issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

Let’s face it… more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

This new series is about identifying what’s keep YOUR congregation from singing and helping you remove the roadblocks to genuine worship engagement in your services. We’ve already talked about music being to high and too hard. And today we’re going to look at the third reason your congregation isn’t singing…


Recently in the Worship Leader Gold Network Monthly Leadership and Strategy Call I talked about this topic of congregational singing and taught 7 important lessons from John Wesley for how to encourage your congregation to sing.

Gain access to that Leadership Session and instantly receive $813.20 in FREE Bonus resources when you join Worship Leader Gold TODAY! Plus, receive additional coaching sessions, dozens of Ministry and Leadership Book summaries, and much, much more in your personalized Worship Leader Gold Hub. I’ve put the complete details in the PS below, so keep reading to learn more!

REASON #3: THE MUSIC IS TOO HIP I grew up in the 80’s, so that puts me on the back side of thirty-something. I’m married with two kids who roll their eyes at my jokes. I have a full-time job, a yard to mow and a shaven head by necessity rather than stylistic choice.

And while I am a musician, and desperately trying to hold on to some of the “cool” I think I once had, I find more and more that I’ve become… normal. And guess what… so are most of the people in my congregation. I would venture to say that’s the case for most worship leaders. There’s nothing wrong with being hip… I wish I was more hip.
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What You Can (and Can’t) Do to Help Your Team Members Grow

Summer can be a dangerous time for spiritual growth! 

Summer brings with it a tendency to glide, to take it easy and not work too hard at anything. Unfortunately – that can be true for the spiritual growth of our worship team members as well. 

As worship leaders the spiritual care of our worship teams is central to our calling, and to the health of our worship team members.

Let’s face it . . . We all want to see the members of our team walking closely with God, making wise decisions at all times, never falling into sin, and overall just being 100% holy in all they do this summer. 

Want? Yes.  Possible? Of course not!

I can’t do that, you can’t do that, and neither can our team members. 

Sometimes as Worship Pastors, however, we live with a burden of guilt because we feel those expectations should be met and it’s up to us to make our team members meet them. 

Let me share with you one of the most powerful secrets of Spiritual Growth. 

Ready? You can’t force anyone to grow spiritually.  It’s true.  By God’s design it’s up to each person to decide to grow. 

So take that weight off your shoulders and let’s talk about what we can do to help your team grow spiritually this summer.

Here’s my Top 3: 

#1 – Demonstrate your own pursuit of God.  Just as Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ”, your team needs an example of what it means to grow spiritually.  They need you to lead in this area. So – let your team in on what God is doing in your life this summer.  Share with them your Bible study plan and what books you’re reading.  Remember, we don’t reproduce what we want; we reproduce what we are. 

#2 – Teach spiritual disciplines.  At The Journey I take time to teach on expectations for spiritual formation to our team as a whole twice a year in our New Season Kickoff.  But that’s hardly enough.  Look for opportunities (especially this summer) to invest in their spiritual growth. Send an article for your team to read.  Raise the value backstage on Sunday. During one-on-one’s ask how things are going in their spiritual life.  Look for ongoing ways to challenge them. 

#3 – Ensure they sign up for a Small Group Bible Study.  This is one of the expectations of serving on our Worship Arts Team at The Journey.  I know I can’t personally mentor the spiritual lives of everyone on our team, so by making sure they are in a Small Group Bible study I know that they are making their spiritual lives a priority.

BONUS – Ensure they are attending services, even on the Sunday’s they aren’t serving.  And make sure that they don’t just hang out backstage, but that they hear the message on Sundays when they are serving. Remind them — “God doesn’t just want to work through you.  He wants to work in you!”

There are a lot of things you can’t do to make your worship team grow spiritually.  But by working on these areas, you can create an environment for growth, and inspire your team to deepen their commitment to Christ this summer.

Your partner in ministry,


PS – What is your plan for growth this summer? Register for the new Worship Leader Gold membership network, let me serve as your coach this Summer, and receive your FIRST MONTH FREE as a reader of the WLI Blog. Just go here to learn more and register today (LIMITED TIME ONLY):

How to Beat the Summer Slump

A worship leader told me once that the summer was the worst time of year for him and his team to grow. He explained that because of this, he took it easy during the summer, didn’t challenge his team (or himself) to grow and just coasted through until fall arrived.

He called it the “Summer Slump”.

What I told him next was hard for him to swallow, but absolutely true.

Because he “took the summer off” from focusing on the growth and health of his team, he stumbled into the fall with the same team, the same challenges, and unfortunately, a full 25% of the year wasted!

A “Summer Slump” indeed. Read more