Is your church’s worship in a rut? Are you basically choosing a few songs that you like and hitting play on Sunday mornings? It should be SO MUCH MORE than that.

Too often, we, as worship leaders, can get into a rut in our worship planning. In this series of posts, I want us to evaluate our methods and thought processes as we design our times of worship. Our church’s corporate worship times are the primary means by which the church can disciple the majority of our people, and we must be intentional in our planning and leading in a way that truly transforms lives.

I describe playlist worship as a method of planning and implementation where we: 

    • choose a few songs we like (perhaps today’s “hottest” songs or those we think would sound great with our worship teams),
    • add them to our worship plan (which probably does not change from week to week),
    • rehearse the songs,
    • and then, on Sunday morning, hit PLAY and run through the songs one by one.

There is no real consideration of direction or flow. There is no thought about profoundly engaging the minds and hearts during the service. There is no obsessing over the content. There is no consideration of the inclusion of prayers, scripture readings, creeds, confessions, or other gospel-centered worship components. There is no room to flex when there is a need to go off the plan.

In today’s modern worship practices that are most common, we welcome the folks, run a playlist of 3-4 songs, have a sermon and then sing a closing song. Even within this format, we can make our services much more effective.

I confess that a form of playlist worship has been around for decades. It is not uncommon in more traditional practices, in the planning of a worship service, to merely delete the hymn numbers from last week’s bulletin and then pick four more hymns out of the hat (figuratively speaking) and substitute the selections for last week’s fare. Again, there is little thought in direction or discipleship.

So, join me as we unpack all of this in the coming weeks.

For now, consider your worship planning process. Evaluate the last several weeks of services. On a scale from 1 to 10, where do you find yourself guilty of playlist worship?