I recently wrote an article on my blog titled Making Sure Everyone Gets Fed In Worship.
In it I describe how it is important to cater for the whole congregation during times of worship and not leaving anyone feeling hungry after a worship set.
This is something we apply at our own church and it has had a huge impact.
This idea came out of a prayer meeting we had regarding our worship team.
I hope it is useful to some of you.
That's a clever way to think of things. For me, the first priority is to avoid doing songs too many times in a year. After that, I tend to do the same thing as you mentioned - mixing it up between old/new/slow/fast.
Hi Stevo - yes, it doesn't always work but we're still learning every day.
Thanks for the feedback.
I am inclined to think that it may help to have multiple meetings with different levels of worship.
We have a Sunday service which has an unwritten liturgy requiring 1 start song, 3 following songs and a final song to wind up: pretty hard to get really deeply involved in worship in such a short space, but there it is possible bounce a bit. Thursday night we'll have a period of open worship for over an hour, sometimes with breaks and no fixed pattern. Here it's possible to provide a variety of food types to satisfy the hungry.
However the thing is that Thursday nights was re-done in this manner (it used to be like an extended Sunday) because it provided an opportunity to give something back to God instead of just doing the meeting for us. So there is an emphasis on trying to bless God and seeing if He wants to talk to us, rather than coming to get fed and watered and built up. Of course, God being who He is, we do get built up, but that's a bi-product rather than objective.
This is not snarky, but it's my observation that church meeting are usually all about us, rather than all about God, and it's very hard to turn things on their head in our thinking.
"This is not snarky, but it's my observation that church meeting are usually all about us, rather than all about God, and it's very hard to turn things on their head in our thinking."
Agreed. If we are sheep in God's pasture we should be able to feed wherever we are. Sheep are hardy little things and, except in the harshest of winters, a shepherd doesn't need to do much to feed them other than ensure they are led to a suitable environment. I wonder if we have become too used to an agricultural model where sheep are kept away from pasture and fed by artificial pellets dropped down metal chutes into their concrete pens?
Perhaps a more pressing responsibility than trying to ensure people come out of congregational services with a "full belly" is teaching them that they need to feed themselves from the richness God has placed around them?
I used to believe the same way, thinking that we had to try to meet everyone's needs; that is I believed it until God opened my eyes to His truth. He wants us to worship Him and allow His spirit to draw others in. He is the only one that knows what the real heart needs are. We only see the needs that are evident which are not always the ones preventing them from a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Only He can open blind eyes, soften hardened hearts, and draw all to Himself.
In any congregation, each person is going to be in a different place spiritually. So I think it is important to mix up the music, including some hymns, new songs, slow and fast. But saying that, I do limit the hymns because the wording usually contains antiquated english, and the wording is usually talking about God instead of talking to God. Sometimes I have to pull out the dictionary to figure out what is being said in the song. I, personally, find it a little difficult to really worship God in the old hymns, but others may not agree with that, so I think we do need to include some of them in our worship services to accomodate the people who are from a more traditional background. But, I think the use of hymns should be limited because I think the majority of people want to sing the newer songs.
The important thing is that there is no right or wrong way to do this. The song choices are not as important as praying and asking the Holy Spirit to move in peoples' lives as we sing them.
That's what we do as well. The point about songs that talk about God vs. to God is a good one to consider. I think there is a place to have hymns or modern songs that are somewhat "teaching" in their content - there are several in the Psalms. It's a good way to stir each other up "by way of remembrance. But not all can be like that. And hymns tend to be so dense that sometimes I spend more time reading the words and contemplating what's being said than I do singing.