This order is different than anything I’ve seen before. (In fact, in my 30+ years of planning and leading worship, I have never seen or heard of this approach.) But I can testify that this simple but deliberately planned time of spontenaity helped teach our people a valuable lesson about personal worship and praise.
Our pastor, Randy Norris, and the worship planning team at our church were brain-storming about how to flow the service with his message theme about the importance of having a quiet time with God.
Here was our Order of Worship we used in our church:
The praise team and band did not play to start the service. Instead all the musicians took a seat with the congregation….
Opener — While seated near the front right side, a soloist sang "Word of God Speak" acapella. Interspersed within the song were Scriptures read by pre-assigned and pre-instructed quality readers. (Download the song and scripture script by clicking here.)
Pastor – Then our pastor came up and briefly explained, "There will be no band and singers up front to lead us at first today. As when we have personal quiet times at home, today we must lead ourselves and let the true worship leader, Jesus, lead us during these next few moments."
Acapella praise – For the next 10-15 minutes, we had no specific songs or other elements planned. Rather, our entire congregation spontaneously sang simple and common acapella choruses and hymns. (I had asked the praise team ahead of time to lead out on some of the songs as they felt led.) It was a holy and intense time of intimate worship. (Several of our people said so after the service!)
Welcome — When Randy sensed it time (after about 15 minutes of impromtu acapella singing, as it turned out), he came up and welcomed the guests, reinterating the purpose and uniqueness of our service. Then he led us in a prayer.
Band songs — After Randy’s prayer, our praise team and band came and played 2 upbeat and celebrative praise songs: Awesome Is the Lord Most High (Chris Tomlin) followed by Grace Like Rain (Todd Agnew).
Message — Randy then came back up for his message. He began his message by pointing out how much better our public praise was because we first met with God personally and intimately… Of course, the KEY to the success of this — and any — service is not our clever planning, but God’s holy power on it. Thus, we must always pray, pray, pray!
NOTE: For you whose churches are planning to do 30 Days of Renewal, this service order would work tremendously well for the Week 5 worship service of 30 Days of Renewal!