Every week as worship planners, we look for the perfect songs, prayers, litanies, artwork, etc, that match or enhance the scripture text or sermon theme. But is that always necessary? Do we work too hard at being thematic?
Sometimes, during the worship service I think that sometimes I missed the opportunity for the congregation to sing a different song, because of a circumstance in the congregation, or something someone had said in a prayer. So do we focus too much on themes? Should we think about more of the congregation and what is happening? Or should allow them to "forget themselves" and focus on God in worship?
May I suggest there are times for both. Some attenders come to worship because they had a bad week and want to focus on the week ahead by coming to God and focus on what is being transcribed in the sermon, the music, the prayers, etc. There are also times where we might think about those who are coming because they the surrounding of fellowship of other Christians.
And we shouldn't forget those who come weekly and want to experience those who come to worship looking for and an emotional shot in the arm that one hopes to feel closer to God regardless of their lot in life. Or those who come because they are broken emotionally, phyically, or spiritually? What about them?
In all, we need to think of all of these needs. Maybe not at the same time, but at different times, even in a worship service, there might be a time to focus on various circumstances in the congregation, and ultimately allow them to give their petitions, thanksgivings, praise, and supplications through music, prayer, art, dance, and hearing God's Word spoken.
How do we encourage a loving and pastoral community in worship and not let our themes and theologies get in the way of the congregation we serve?