I like New Year’s resolutions, I guess for the same reason I like the first day of the week, the first hours of the morning, and the opening song of a worship service. I’ve also learned to appreciate the value of “re-booting” my computer, even if it is a pain to do at times.
In that spirit, I want to share a few resolutions that would help any worship planner who wants their congregation to sing more enthusiastically in 2018.
- Sing more familiar songs – less new ones.
I’m hearing about more and more leaders who are figuring this out. You would be wise to follow suit – stop singing all new songs. Develop a repertoire for your congregation that includes a pattern of new material, but make the over-whelming majority of what you sing be familiar.
- Develop more leaders in the worship ministry, instead of involving a small circle of the favored few.
You could probably even put a number on this, like, “ I want to develop three new people to bring into worship leadership ministry.” Sure, it’s easier to build a small team that you rely on for everything, but is it best? Your congregation will be enhanced if you broaden out the responsibilities of leadership across generations and people groups. And, your church will be blessed for years to come if you will reach into the younger age groups and give opportunity to future leaders.
- Spend more time studying God’s Word than learning new songs.
Not much to add to this, except to say, the more I learn about God and spend time with Him in His word, the more clearly I can think about planning worship for His people. I know I’m going to learn new songs and I won’t have to remind myself to do that. What if I went to the Word more often than I go to the places I look for songs?
- Find more ways to serve the body of Christ outside the ministry I lead.
Worship ministry can be so consuming that often there is little time for anything else. But, if you want to impact the whole church and inspire them to follow your leadership, identify new ways you can serve outside of the worship ministry.
- Make the congregation a higher priority than my artistry.
I watched a worship service recently where the leader was leading a congregation in singing a song that apparently was meant just for him – that must have been the case, because he was the only one singing. As a worship planner, develop the discipline of putting the worship of the people ahead of your expression of artistry. It’s a game changer once you figure that out.
Next year, who knows what my resolutions might be?
I think I’ll head to the gym now.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.