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4 Stages of Worship in a Church Service.

This is for you worship leaders! God is Worthy of our praise. We have a lot to be thankful for. Expressing Love and gratitude to God is a wholesome thing to do. There are some rules to a good Worship Service which will help people express their love to God.

A guy I knew in bible college was asked to start a church in Oshawa. He asked me if I would play the piano to help him out. I lived in Toronto at the time and eventually moved to Oshawa to make it easier to help. Thats how I ended up here in Oshawa.

James 2:14 (KJV) 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

Moving to do Gods work is also a form of worship. Can people tell you worship God without you singing. Can they see your love for God by your sacrificial life.

Since I am not that good as a Piano player, I got to pick the music each week so I could handle the job. At least that way, I could practice songs I found easier. With a small or non-existent group of people, the pressure and expectations was lower, Still I felt it. I applied what I learned in the past and studied what others did so i could survive. It was an on the job training. Its not as easy as it looks. I used to stay up Saturday night just going over the songs till everything was just right for Sunday. We played/Sang a lot of the same songs.

People are a funny bunch. People need to do things a certain way or they are grumpy. They not only want the songs to be perfect they want it to be pleasing. They also like to know the songs. Who knew! A Church service can be great if you know what your doing. It turns out its far more complex than I previously thought. I realized It wasn’t just playing the Piano and picking a few fast and slow songs, I was guiding hearts and minds.

I realized, it was a process of getting the focus off of you, (the worshipper), and getting people to focus on God. So lets get right into how to structure a good worship service.

There are 4 main stages and a few sub-stages to the song service if you’re doing it right. Once you get it, you can craft how things turn out in the service.

Stage 1) Focus. Entry music is important. People are frazzled when they first enter the church. You want them to become attentive and focused. People are coming from the horange of the world. Its an effort just getting to the church, getting the kids ready and dodging traffic. If you do it wrong, half the service will go by and they will still be talking with each other; They will be attending but not participating. You need to capture their attention with some songs that are more important than what they are doing. Some songs are Loud and proud. You want to engage them so they will focus. Why? Not because you are the up beat crowd in your church, but so people will get into the mood of Church and off the world buzz. Old songs like,” this is the day that the lord has made” or “I will enter his courts with thanksgiving in my heart” and big statements of Praise are what you want. (Come into his presence with thanksgiving in your heart and give him praise… ) They are not only upbeat but tell the basics of why they came to church. To a degree people listen to instructions even if its in a song. But Absolutely avoid slow worship or surrender music at the start. no Majesty or I surrender all or just as I am. Just start with a couple engaging songs. Gods got an army marching through the land. etc. Something with Joy. Oh when the saints come marching in.

Stage 2) Theology. People need to remember why they are there. Who is it that they worship, what this service is about. Early on is a great time to get into theology. My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and Righteousness, Or What a Friend we have in Jesus. Or Deeper Deeper in the love of Jesus daily let me go. Usually any song fast or slow typically the fast ones to the slow ones like exhaling. These should be intentionally thought provoking with details where people have to think, they have to grasp a statement. Its like lining up at school it focuses the mind. This takes them deeper into the presence of God. This draws people to realize who it is God is. What it is to be a Christian. What it is God is calling on them to do. This makes it feel like church. This is more of a Learning and Teaching section which shifts the heart toward reverence and respect. ( even if your minster does not talk about the cross, the blood, salvation you should have one song at least on those type of topics.) Sing about, Faith, Love and Salvation. Other topics could be Hope and the topic of Heaven or Christian stewardship and service. Its Church. Its a meeting about Someone? We must point out, Jesus Christ is salvation and why. We are here about him, not to dance or sing or hear stories they all can be part of it but should not be a focus. Jesus should be the focus. its a worship service.. Love is also a topic. How you treat others and are obedient to a changed heart for Christ. That kind-a stuff. IF all your songs talk about he or him but Jesus is not mentioned it might be you are picking bad songs.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 King James Version (KJV)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

Stage 3) Praise and worship. Songs in stage one and two had some talk of praise and worship but this is part of the service is focused on praise and worship. These songs are generally not about Theology but on God. This is the time to actually emotionally worship God, one on one. The previous part was more theory and thinking, this section is about The Wow.

Be careful not to pick dumb songs. There is this song that says, ‘Now is the time to worship’. that is to talk about we will worship. Its not worship. That is sort of cheep and stupid. If you need to bluntly tell someone do this, you will invoke a power and control thing. Some may say, I will do what I want. Don’t tell me when to worship. Half to Preachers and worship leaders are controlling, People reject it. no one wants to be controlled and subjugated. Still some leaders in church take the servants roll and turn it into a power trip. You will have ruined their time of worship by being pushy and forceful and rude. Songs should not interfere with people. They can lead people to surrender or worship but they should not blame people to surrender. No one likes a minister telling people to say this or say that making people into puppets. Still at the right time you can sing. I will give you all my worship. I will give you all my praise, You alone are worthy of our praise. But its done because you are there emotionally wanting to sing that song. Singing it out of context wrecks that wonderful song. Its important to just do it, Just praise, rather than talk about the Idea of doing it. Singing a song out of context is clunky and will not help people really express their heart. It would be like me talking about toilets now and the need for using a brush. Its out of context and breaks the conversation.

Worship is tied to stage 2. above. We don’t just blindly worship. We worship the God we talked about in stage 2. You worship because of who he is, and Who is that? What is He to you. Picking that out in songs will help people Identify. You hope they feel that and if they don’t they will question why. A worship leader can do a lot of preaching without saying a word. You can call people into a deeper relationship with God by putting them into this situation. They may be feeling they haven’t grasped what other people have around them. Pick songs that are not empty rhetoric. There is a lot of stupid Christian song that are worthless not only because they have bad theology but they are self centred and disjointed. The Me generation loves these garbage songs. Avoid them. They destroy the actual act of worship. They are worthy of the trash bucket. If your worship ties to theology the mind ties the service together and they don’t feel they are being forced to sing a list of Songs but find themselves expressing freely in total agreement.

Psalm 63:1-4 (KJV)  O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Help people let go of self. Once they are paying attention and involved in the thoughts of the service, its not about whats around them. Then you can be encouraging people to appreciate God and call them to takes a step into Gods throne room. Only then if they are with you can you call out his name and express Love to him. Its huge, and you can take people there. People who came in frazled can end up blind to the world and totally focused on God.

People who do not understand the 4 stages harm their own service and worse, the people suffer. Some worship leaders think they can just plunk in worship songs right up front and play music out of character. Its like listening to spaghetti. What I mean is, they will sing songs, dumb songs that have wrong music with the wrong beat with the wrong conversation going on. Bad stuff. Jesus died on the cross today Do da, Do dah all the live long day. that sort of goofy music matched with wrong words is sacrilege. What on earth are they thinking? There is one band on the radio and they attempt to make everything hip destroying every worship song and hymn. Stuff like this can destroy this moment special moment in the service. Good Worship is clear headed, It doesn’t need a drum solo or a crazy piano move. People need a reasonable speed so they don’t have to rush to think. The more strait forward and simple the better. Some wordy songs can destroy worship. If you have a wordy song that happens to fit your theme, keep it closer to the front of the service so you can drive away from the train wreck of that song toward a clear headed and well stated worship song.

Picking songs like like My Jesus, My Savior, Lord their is none like you.. Mountains fall down at sound of your name. Put songs like that in the right place, in this section, and you can take people farther than you thought you could in a Sunday Morning.

Obviously you need to deal with timing and key changes, so things are smooth and they match. Don’t over stretch peoples voices. Make it about Worship not about your ability to sing up in the rafters. Singing should be about worship; Smooth and focused. Doing the work to play songs in a better key is worth it for everyone.

Stage 4). Surrender. By this stage you have made claims about who God is, You did a bit of theology, You praised him, You worshipped Him, but now while you may have done a bit of surrender, this is the time for exclusively ‘Bowing you knee’ in reverence to Almighty God. The rest of the service prepared people for this moment. This is a time to consecrate yourself to his service. This is about surrender, repentance, renewing your commitment to live for him. You can change peoples lives in the week from moments right in this section. Their choices in song to give themselves to God. In a lot of christian songs there can be a bit of everything but here, its about a focus on, abandoning your self. Its a change of direction from having your hands in the air to having your face on the carpet. This is a whole body posture change. But you cant get here from there if you do not use the process. Not easily. Not every service needs a stage 4 but even one song in that direction can help the preacher crack the nut.

Jeremiah 10:21-23 (KJV) 21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. 22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons. 23 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Church leaders who do alter calls in the service, calling people to Prayer some times mess up the service by putting their family alter call in the wrong place. You can put it before worship and keep it light about people and their needs, Or you can put it just before the surrender stage to keep it up beat. This is for a lighter time of Prayer giving thanksgiving. It can change how people pray.

An Alter call can be move into stage 4. Your whole service could be geared to this section making it larger than the worship part. Stage 4 can get real serious. To call out to God to change you. God change me. God forgive us. God, I want more of you in my life, every day, in devotions in the morning, help me to pray more, witness to my lost family etc. It can be a realization of how distant we are from him and our need, to run to him.

So the 4 stages can take you through several experiences. You will feel like heaven has poured out on you. But why? Is it emotion? No actually. What people do not realize is what happened in History. Jews bastardized the temple. They made it about control, they made it about Law, they ripped people off and bullied people to give more and treated them like garbage. So going to temple was no fun. Priests interfered with a persons good will to sort their life out with God. The noise of bitterness was to much. Interference, that is what it was. People could not meet with their God without crap being dealt out. no one needs strife when trying to sort out their lives with God. Its a bull in a china shop issue. Its one big reason Jesus came. God is not afraid of those special moments. He encourages people to meet with him. Its a very special emotional moment.

So, when you give people a chance to enter the presence of God. People respect that. They look for a chance to meet with God. Jesus took the keys of the kingdom from the Jewish leadership and gave them to the Layman, Peter. Now we have direct access to the throne of God. A worship service is all about walking through that door. The Holy of Holies. Its a scary place. Back then apparently priests died for sins not confessed. The Holy of Holies wasn’t a place entered by everyone but now it is open to us. We are there when we pray. A 4th stage can bring people to that place of connect.

What you are doing in a worship service is, you are doing a type of Lords prayer in song. You are getting people to communicate with God and take them into the throne room of God. The spiritual atmosphere actually changes. You want people to get there. This is where they can meet with God. This is serious business.

STAGE 5) Scripture. I have a sheet with the 4 stages on it but it could use some work on other components like the use of Scripture. So this is not really a stage. But, this is another crucial part of a worship service. A church that doesn’t focus on scripture does not grasp the value of the words of Christ. The saved person reverences Jesus Christ so much that when his words are spoken, He or she will take notice. Still putting in the wrong scripture in the wrong place tells people you do not know what you are doing.

You don’t want people to see the church as a dollar store service rather than a worship time. You can clutter things up. Don’t take people out of the mood and bungle the direction of thought. This is why the pastor and the Music director should have some coordination. You cant just toss in random scriptures cause they are your favourites. You should avoid clashes and clunky worship where people almost feel sick, like riding on a bus with bad shocks. Nothing worse than a disjointed worship service.

Isaiah 25:1 (KJV) 25 O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

If you do not have some scripture for the sermon topic or on your mind you can always google hundreds of worship type scriptures and use one or two in the service. You can line them up with the time of year, with the songs you will sing and find those that lift up Jesus.

Stage 6). The closing hymn or song can make an impact as well. Its almost useless unless it can address what was said in the sermon without adding new content. Otherwise if you want impact say a prayer and leave out the last song. If there is a song on subject, the minister should know what that song is and pick it. the wrong song leaves people thinking about something else rather than the pastors sermon. after all that work! You want them to think about it, at least for a minute. keep things about what we are talking about.

Stage 6 B.) The Alter Call. The Pastor should tell you if there is a plan to do an alter call and tell you the topic of the sermon or the main scripture he will study. If you know, you can anticipate the mood of the moment and can pick a few songs that fit. You don’t want to introduce wordy songs or complex Ideas into that moment. People are praying in their minds to God asking for direction as to how to move forward with God after hearing what they heard in the sermon. Grabbing their focus away is sinful. Some people actually have to be told to stay to be quiet because the distraction will break a person out of that conversation with God. Its most likely someone is praying, telling God about what is in their live, what their issue is, or asking God to forgive them. A wrong song, Even Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance or What a Friend we have in Jesus can be wrong song if put in the wrong place. Just As I am is not the go to. Chose songs very familiar even tempered surrender songs that work with the sermon. But better yet, don’t grab the attention and cause them to hear a memorable song causing them to be distracted. Let them pray.

People need to take the job of leadership seriously. People deserve as much. If God has given you a chance to lead worship do it respecting God and respecting people.

Stage 7) Announcements and the collection of money. Don’t put business after worship or after Consecration. Yes, some times the offering can go there, but the announcements disrupt good worship and surrender. Its better to do them after the first stage or some time early on.

Malachi 3:10 (KJV) 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Finally, the only other thing I can think of for now is to try and line up keys so that songs flow together. You might be able to play them all in the same key if its not affecting the high or low notes. Once you start getting over C or below lower C any significant amount it becomes a vocal exercise and not a Church Service. If you must play a very high pitched song, do it early so people can forget it. Its sort of like a train wreck unless the song has the right words and smoothness so that you are singing full throat-ed on the high note. I exalt thee might be one of them that if sung too low wrecks it but just right and high enough will cause people to bellow it out and express themselves.

Stage 8). Spiritual Diet. This is the last thing really! Create for yourself a spiritual diet you can use to check your song lay out.. What do people need to know about God. This way you can go over your services and see if you are providing content. What subjects are you covering. What attributes of God are you talking about. What theological fact are you preaching in song. What descriptive are you using. Mountains, Sunshine, trees , dark, light, salt, coins, kingdoms etc. Worship can flow better and be better if you use a check list.

2 Timothy 2:15-16 (KJV) 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

In conclusion:

God is worthy of our praise. Every breath we breath. God, We thank you for giving us life and the chance to joint your family. Jesus Christ is Salvation. its a big deal. Breath Oh God, Breath on me and make us more like you. And whatever it takes, that I will do. And may your face shine on us as we glorify your name.

May you make your own statement of faith by how you worship. God bless you.

Numbers 6:24-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord [a]lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’

*(feel free to comment below and give some feedback.) Click on some of the links I put them there so people will get into their bible and find some context.

Published by Evolution is a Hoax

I am a born again Christian. John 3:16 1 John 4:7-8

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