If congregations would gather prepared for corporate worship each week, our times would be much more meaningful. Private times of daily worship are so important to corporate worship, i.e. personal worship is a prerequisite to corporate worship. Many churches are publishing materials to help their congregations prepare personally and as a family for worship each week. I think this idea deserves consideration of every church worship leader/pastor.
This is your opportunity to pour into the lives of your church members in helping prepare them for worship each week. There are many components that can be helpful in your distribution piece. Be careful not to make it too complex as to make people feel it will take too much time to engage. Worship is a key element of the discipleship process. Include components such as these in your distribution piece:
- Sermon prep. Give the scripture passage and some information to help people prepare for what will be presented in the sermon.
- Prayer points. Give specific prayer points that will help people prepare their hearts for worship and lift up those planning and leading the times of worship.
- Songs of worship. You may include YouTube links to the songs, especially those that show the lyrics so your congregation can worship with the songs during the week. Perhaps target the songs that may be lesser known. You might include a brief devotional related to the text of one of the songs as well. You could also include links to Amazon or iTunes for members to download songs they want to put on their media players.
- Follow up. You may include questions and additional commentary for people to consider after the morning worship service to continue their engagement with God’s Word for the day.
- Family worship cues. Create some family worship encounters that bring all generations together around the same truths. If your church uses a Sunday School curriculum such as the Gospel Project, that will provide material for this section. Otherwise, you can create material especially for family worship times related to the weekly emphasis.
Your prep piece can be distributed several ways. You may find one or more of these will serve your congregation best. I find a multi-faceted approach to be most effective.
- Online content. Prepare a web page with the weekly information that is readily accessible to various online platforms.
- Downloadable/printable PDF. Prepare a nice looking one or two page prep sheet for families to print out or view online.
- Email. Consider weekly and/or daily emails with content for the week.
- Social Media. Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media avenues to connect the content with your people during the week.
- Printed handout. Distribute the material at your corporate worship service for the coming week’s content. (This method alone, of course misses out on all who do not attend that week.)
I came across a church in Texas that I thought was going a great job with one format of this–MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving Texas. They publish a weekly PDF online for their church that contains:
Preparing for Worship
The Bible passage(s) to be preached the coming Sunday are offered for individuals and families to prayerfully read through and prepare themselves to hear God’s word.
Responding to Worship
This section is to be reviewed after the Sunday sermon. It is a series of “Truth and Response” questions that are prayerfully and thoughtfully prepared to help you apply the sermon to your life.
A link is provided to resources for families that encourage discussion about the Lord.
Here is a sample of one of their recent documents.
Taking the time to produce this type of worship prep may bring you great dividends in creating worshipping disciples.
What ideas do you have for helping your church prepare for worship throughout the week?
It’s a great idea. I’ve used the church Facebook page to get links out to unfamilair music several times. You really need, though, a team concept to worship planning to pull this off on a regular basis, or at the very minimum a Pastor who plans their sermon earlier than Saturday night 😉
Thanks for this article Kenny. We’ve been doing a weekly preparing for worship email for about a year and a half, including youtube videos of the music, sermon topic and scripture, etc. Our worship team was discussing how we, as a team, are immersed in getting prepared for worship each week, but that our congregation comes in cold and we expect them to warm up to worship and be where we are. We decided to do this as a way of allowing them to prepare to some degree as we do. I think we have definitely seen some positives from it.
I have gotten tons of positive feedback from a wide variety of people who say they appreciate the content and that it helps them be better focused and prepared when they come for corporate worship on Sundays. I would encourage churches not doing something like this to take some of the suggestions that you made and try what they think might work in their situation. Every church is different, but I think they will see benefit from it.
This is great. Can you share a resource with us?