The Perfect Worship Service? 10 Elements for an Amazing SundayJan 17, 2024
The perfect worship service doesn’t exi…
or maybe it does?
Think about it… What would make for a perfect worship service? A perfect Sunday?
What would happen? What wouldn’t happen?
If there’s a conversation you and your leadership team should have within the next few weeks, it’s this. Let this article be the conversation starter and then create your own list as a team.
Because it’s often in a worship service that:
- Lost people surrender to Jesus
- New people decide if they’ll come back
- Discouraged people are given courage to stand up straight and honor God throughout the upcoming week
- Souls are ministered to through song, prayer, word, and response
- Struggling couples are given hope
- Single parents are given strength
- Teenagers are given perspective
- Seasoned life veterans are reminded of their continued worth in the body
- And so much more
Now, admittedly, I don’t have the ingredients for a literal perfect worship service but if you include these ten elements in every worship service, you’ll have amazing Sunday after amazing Sunday (or Saturday or Thursday… you get the idea).
The Perfect Worship Service? 10 Elements for an Amazing Sunday
1. Prayer precedes it, weaves within it, and succeeds it.
The perfect worship service begins, includes, and ends with prayer. An amazing Sunday has people praying ahead of time for those who are far from God to take a step toward Him in surrender.
A powerful Sunday has people praying for church members to receive hope and courage by the power of the Spirit. And when the service begins and throughout, there are moments of prayer, both from the stage and in the pew.
2. Genuine hospitality.
A lot of people say that they attend a friendly church. But all of us have been to some churches that were friendly to each other… so friendly, in fact, that they had a hard time noticing us (first-time guests) when we walked into the door.
The perfect worship service is full of people in the foyer, in the halls, at the doors, and in the sanctuary who are genuinely hospitable — both to new people and those who have been around for a while. Genuine hospitality is a culture thing. And when it is in full bloom, it makes for an amazing worship service.
3. Energy from the stage and from the pew.
The perfect worship service has a worship team, those speaking on stage, the preacher, etc. bringing joyful energy to the room. AND — this one can’t be missed — the perfect worship service includes people in the pew bringing that same energy too. Joyful energy.
People are singing out in worship. People are engaged with what’s happening in the room. Call and response is encouraged but not overdone (a delicate balance). An amazing Sunday has energy! It starts with those in front. But it can’t end there.
4. Intentional transitions.
The perfect worship service has been thought out. It’s not structured like instructions for Ikea furniture where if one thing is missed, it all falls apart. But those who planned the service gave it plenty of thought and intention.
And the best indicator of whether or not a worship service is well thought out is the quality of the transitions. Someone who knows where they’re going on the road, knows what turn they’re taking before they’re at the intersection. They turn the turn signal on, slow down, and make the turn. The perfect worship service is like that — it has intentional transitions from one part to the next.
5. Moments of celebration.
This could be in response to a song. This could be in response to an answered prayer that was shared. It could be in response to a ministry initiative. Whatever it is, though, the perfect worship service has moments of celebration. Where everyone can join together and praise God for something in a moment of celebration. But in order for this to happen, the leaders must lead the people toward celebration.
Look for stories and tell those stories. And then prompt people to celebrate by celebrating (and inviting them to join).
6. The sermon talks and walks.
You and I have heard (and probably even preached) sermons that might’ve “talked good” but didn’t “walk good.” (Forgive me for the bad use of grammar there, but you get what I’m saying.) It’s one thing to preach a message that is true. But that sermon must also have legs on it. It must compel people to tangibly respond in some way.
Because the best sermons? They don’t end with amen. They continue on through people’s responses to them. Make the sermon theological. And call people to make the sermon live through their decisions and actions.
No qualifier here: the perfect worship service has a sense of humor. Laughter is powerful. It can lower stress, build trust, and open people’s hearts to hear truth. For some traditions, it used to be (and for some, it still is) a no-no to include humor in the church service. I disagree. And you might disagree with me. And that’s fine.
But just remember… God has a sense of humor. After all, He uses you and me to do work on His behalf in this world.
8. Moments of reflection.
The perfect worship service makes space for people to have an encounter with the Lord. A time when people can focus their attention on what the Lord is doing in them, around them, and what He is saying to them right here, right now. This could be at the table for communion. This could be at the end of the sermon. This could be in the middle of a song.
Whatever the case, an amazing Sunday includes space for people to reflect on their own lives and the Lord’s love, kindness, discipline, and desires for them.
9. Calls to repentance.
What is transformation? It’s change, right? The perfect worship service includes some loving gospel confrontation. The sermon. The entire service. Should have the goal of discipleship. And discipleship always includes repentance.
This could be initial repentance by someone surrendering to Jesus for the first time. It could also be on-going repentance by church members who need to re-calibrate their heart toward the Lord.
10. Celebration of life-change.
Remember, we’re talking about the perfect worship service. Not only do we want to have moments of celebration about things that have already happened, but the perfect worship service embeds a celebration of life-change in the service.
The most obvious occasion, in my mind, is seeing someone be baptized and the church joining together in celebration of that person’s faith. This could also be someone sharing a testimony and the congregation responding in celebration at what God has done or is doing in their life.
What about you? What makes the perfect worship service?
If you want to take this article and put some legs on it, bring this question up with your staff team and/or your leadership team.
And then consider what you can do to improve your worship services.
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