Decisions for Lenten Worship Planning

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By Howard Vanderwell and Norma de Waal Malefyt

Your Lenten season will likely involve special worship efforts. Therefore, your worship planning will certainly require many decisions that involve advance planning and preparation. In an effort to help you anticipate these decisions, we list a number of questions and issues here. Other material in this archive of resources will also provide helpful material to you.

  1. What will be our theme and emphasis in Lent this year? As worship planners work together to express and identify this theme in a carefully worded sentence for use in worship planning.
  2. Will we observe Ash Wednesday with a devotional service? (If so, you will find a suggested service below.)
  3. Shall we include a standard service of confession/renewal for the entire Lenten season?
  4. What visuals should we be preparing for the sanctuary space? Who will prepare them?
  5. Will we observe Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter Vigil?
  6. During which services in this season will we include the Lord's Supper?
  7. Will we include other special styles during this season, such as Taize or Tenebrae, and what preparation will that require?
  8. How will we provide for continuity of our seasonal worship from Lent into Easter, Eastertide and Pentecost?
  9. How will our choirs, praise teams, ensembles and other participants be meaningfully incorporated into our worship during this season? Who needs to be consulted so that all communication is clear and complete?
  10. Using a variety of accessible hymnals and music resources, construct a full repertoire of congregational songs for your Lenten worship. This will become your list from which to make your choices for each service. You may want to use this season as a time to teach the congregation some new hymnody. Make preparation for how to teach them meaningfully.
  11. How can children be included in full and active participation in worship during this season? Who will lead those efforts, and what resources will be necessary?
  12. Who else will be needed for worship leadership? Readers? Instrumentalists? Prayer leaders? Children? How can they be prepared to lead well?
  13. Who will take responsibility to keep others fully informed, such as secretaries, ushers, sound operators, projectionists, custodians, those who provide visuals, etc.?
  14. What efforts are needed to issue an invitation to the community to join in worship during this season? How can we best make connections with our neighbors?
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