Worship Service Planning 101

Worship service planning can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Especially if you know how to B.U.I.L.D. a great service.


One of the biggest misconceptions about our worship services today is that the worship time is the part of the service when the music is happening.

But, the truth is, our worship services aren’t as much about the songs in a set list as it is about the song of the entire experience for attenders. Great worship services result when each individual contributor realizes that their individual “thing” is only as effective as each supporting component of the service.

With that said, the biggest aspect of worship service planning is knowing how to B.U.I.L.D. a great service. Here’s what that acrostic means:

B. Bring Together Your Team

This isn’t just bringing together the worship team. We mean everyone who has a hand in the worship service. There are two aspects to doing this.

First, identify the key roles needed for your worship experience. Some examples of key roles are:

  • Parking
  • Sound engineer
  • Lighting people
  • Propresenter and lyrics
  • Baptism Coordinator
  • Worship Pastor
  • Lead Pastor
  • Service Programming Director

Once you’ve identified the stakeholders in a weekly service, your next step is to prioritize a meeting time. It’s imperative that this meeting occurs on a regular basis and is on everyone’s calendar. Don’t meet one week on a Tuesday, the next week on a Thursday, and then miss the next week. Consistency is key.

A worship service doesn’t involve only one person, and neither should worship service planning.

U. Unite Behind The Vision

If you’re a senior pastor, you—more than likely—have a vision for your church. Does everyone involved in your weekly worship service know what it is? For everyone to make the weekly service the best it can be, they have to know the vision.

If you don’t have a vision for your church yet, pray firstly and then discover the vision together.

Once you’ve done this, your worship service planning will go a lot more smoothly.

I. Invest In Your People

People are like bank accounts. Without consistent deposits we operate at a deficit. What does that look like? Do something fun outside the walls of your church like a sporting event or some other fun activity in your town, to invest in the group.

To invest in people individually, you can grab coffee or a meal, or simply check in via a phone call. REMEMBER: Never spend time alone with team members of the opposite sex—that’s a safeguard. Always have a third-part present if you do.

Remember people’s birthdays, listen to people, and send thank you cards.

L. Learn

You may not be a big reader, but it’s SO important to always be learning. If you’re not a reader, meet with other pastors and worship leaders to glean insight from each other.

Why does that matter? If we’re not learning, we’re getting stagnant and we can’t make things better. When your team is united and is committed to making things better than they currently are, improvement is inevitable!

D. Deliver

It’s game time!

We want to deliver the service in power and with excellence, remembering that it’s Christ in us who fulfills each of our roles.

  • Pastor, your sermon is ready and you’re prepared.
  • Worship leader, the music is ready and the worship team is nailing it.
  • Transitions are clear and everyone knows what to do. No dead space exists.
  • Sound team is ready and has the sound dialed in.
  • Lyrics and computer graphics team has everything ready
  • Lighting is ready
  • You’ve met and talked through the transitions from one element of the service to another
  • Parking team is ready to greet people with joy and a smile. If it’s raining do they have umbrellas?

Remember, the whole service is a song and everyone on the team is a note in the melody. Follow this acrostic and your worship service planning will go a lot more smoothly.

[Photo By Artful Magpie-Creative Commons License]