A well-planned worship service is a tremendous blessing to those who participate in it. A well-planned service is not necessarily one in which the projector never flickers and the microphones never buzz, or one in which the transitions are smooth and the sermon doesn’t go long. Rather, a well-planned service is one whose elements have been carefully planned to fulfill God’s purposes for the public gatherings of his church.
How, then, do we plan our services? What elements should a service have? There are many ways to answer the question, but at minimum, the service needs to have singing, praying, Scripture-reading, and preaching. On a regular basis, if not every week, it should also have the Lord’s Supper. Each of these elements is demanded or displayed in the New Testament.
But I want to look at it from another angle that I believe can be helpful in planning our services. It’s unfortunate but realistic to assume that many people come to church on Sunday having given little thought to their faith the previous week. Many people worship on Sunday, then get busy living their lives and neglect the disciplines of the Christian life. They mean to pray, but don’t discipline themselves to actually pray; they intend to read the Bible, but allow laziness or the tyranny of the urgent to keep them away. Then a new Sunday approaches and they come to church feeling weak and needy and probably a little bit guilty.
Such people are genuine believers, but immature ones or ones who are going through those tough periods of spiritual stagnation. Perhaps they are in a difficult time in life or are deeply grieving. And in their apathy or their torment they ease off in their pursuit of the Lord, they falter in their Christian walk.
How can we best serve these people? We can best serve them by giving them the whole Christian life on a Sunday morning. We can give them the whole Christian life in miniature. Read More
This is particularly true for small-membership churches in which Sunday morning is typically the only time that the congregation gathers together for worship, instruction, prayer, the sacraments, and fellowship.