It seems that every church is doing this differently these days and has a different name for it which is not bad it just means it’s hard to write about. Some churches have worship committees that function as worship planning teams planning either every service or providing ideas and suggestions that get incorporated into worship as desired by a worship director or pastor. Some churches have committees that look after the budget, policies and procedures, making decisions about when special services happen and where, and overseeing the general ethos and character of worship at that particular church. And there are many variations and permutations based on those two functions, planning and oversight. Whatever your committee’s or team’s name or function it is easy to get in a rut, to do things a particular way because that’s the way it has always been done (even if it’s only the second year you have been doing it). So how do you get out of a liturgical rut? How do you discern when a once helpful practice has become unhelpful or when a 100 year old practice needs to be retained? How do you lead your congregation to grow in the area of worship? I’d like to suggest two options though I am sure there are many more: first, attend services outside of your own, second, learn and study together.
Attending a church service other than your own seems like a strange idea for a worship committee but it is extremely helpful. It allows you to clarify what is good and right about your worship service. Often the things you take for granted gain meaning and significance when it is left out of a service. Other things that are left out you find that they aren’t missed and recognize that it is possible to worship without them. It can be a huge source of encouragement when you recognize how much of worship is the same between churches of two differing denominations revealing further the truth of the communion of the saints and the body of Christ. Having a service rather than your own to discuss can also provide an opportunity to enter into conversations that if directed at your own worship would be like walking through a minefield. If you do visit worship at another church and discuss it together try to move the conversation beyond likes and dislikes to something deeper, where did you see/feel the Holy Spirit at work, what gestures, movements were most helpful, what took away from the message, what supported the message, how was technology used or not used and how did that help the communication process, who was involved in the service and what did that say about the community? If you can’t find a time to physically visit a church on a Sunday (particularly difficult if you are needed to lead your own) an alternative would be to find a video of a service on the web.
My second suggestion is to reserve some time in each of your meetings for some learning and studying together. In what area related to worship do you sense your church ready to grow in? Or, what is an area that you would like to reaffirm your direction on? Based on that reflection chose a book or several articles or even simply develop some questions for your group to grapple with. This time doesn’t need to be long but if you can reserve just 10 minutes of each meeting for some guided reflection you will benefit greatly.
Many churches already do one or more of these things. If you are a part of one of them what practice have you found most helpful to help your committee/team to dig deeper?