Information for Worship Leaders
Worship leaders play a vital role in the way our congregation experiences worship together. You are like the host or hostess, creating space for the congregation to see and experience God, rather than focus on you. Thoughtful planning in advance, prayerful presence during the service, and an openness to the Spirit’s disruption of those plans, are all needed in worship leading.
- Check the worship participation survey for details on who is willing to serve. Make use of variety of households, small groups, mentor and mentee pairs, children, and youth when leading worship.
- Worship calls us toward service/peace/justice in the world and also calls us to rest and be renewed. Be mindful of keeping these in balance when planning.
- Be aware that there may be visitors or new attenders in the service. Find a place to mention the morning’s schedule that doesn’t distract from worship. Be aware of ways to welcome or introduce visitors that feel hospitable; try not to have them feel called out. When introducing the Passing of the Peace, encourage those who are regular attenders/members to be ready to introduce any visitors or guests when we come back together.
- Avoid packing in so much that people feel saturated or exhausted by the end of the service. Be mindful of how many words fill the service.
- There will be extra musicians every first Sunday of the month.
- Be creative in using other media:
- Visuals: banners, paintings, and photographs can be hung at the front of the chapel, on the balcony railings, or on the black felt backdrop behind the piano;
- The spoken word: dramas, readings, poetry
- Movement: liturgical dance, processionals
- Variety of music: congregational singing, instrumental or vocal solos, and group presentations
- Altar table: flowers, pottery, artwork, cloth/material, and candles help to serve as a focal point to begin our worship;
- Bulletin cover: graphics, clip art, or scripture texts.
Spend time reading and praying with the lectionary texts or specific Scripture for that Sunday. Notice what God brings to mind, and allow that to sit with you as you prepare to lead.
The worship leader or preacher suggests the bulletin cover (artwork, verse, etc.) based on the theme of the service. Send or give that to Dorianna by Friday at 9 a.m. You can ask an adult, youth, or child from the congregation to create a cover based on the theme. (see “Worship Participation Surveys” to see who enjoys creating). If no specific ideas are given for the bulletin cover, Dorianna will choose a cover from her supply of artwork created by congregation.
Worship arts supplies are located in two places:
1) The cabinet (with glass doors) in the chapel, next to our hymnals. (candles, holders).
2) The dark wood cabinet in the office has baskets, cloths, communion supplies (cups, juice, gluten free
crackers), thumbtacks and matches. There are also vases, silk flowers, some table stands for
artwork, and banners on the shelves in our storage closet in hallway. The key to the closet is in the
office on the inside right door of the worship closet. The key is on a single ring with yellow marker. If
you use a banner or other visual upfront, it needs to be taken down after our service.
You and the preacher can work together in choosing what scriptures will be used during the service. The preacher chooses the text to be read before the sermon. Litanies and dramas can be created or found in other resources. You as worship leader, are responsible to find the scripture reader or readers for dramas (see “Worship Participation Surveys” for ideas of who is willing to read, create, or act). Make sure the scripture readers have enough time to review the scripture before reading it, so it is read with conviction.
Offering is an opportunity to give back to God. Make it a celebration! The offering baskets are kept in the worship cabinet in the office. If you choose to pass the baskets, be sure to have one for each of the four sections of seating. (there are four matching ones). Make sure they get passed to the people sitting around the wall in the back, and then bring them back up to the altar table in the front. You can also ask older children or youth to collect them at the back of each section and bring them forward.
Put the Penny Power jug by the altar table or piano before the service and invite anyone to drop their change in it during the offering. This money goes towards Mennonite Central Committee’s projects of peace, relief, and development around the world. We collect change year-round. The annual Penny Power project is announced in November and runs through the next April when we take the money to the PA Relief Sale in Harrisburg. When known, announce what project the money is going towards.
Sharing Time & Prayer
You are responsible to ask a child or youth to carry the microphone for announcements/sharing time/congregational response. For the prayer time, choose one of these ways to lead, while being prepared to simplify if sharing time lasts longer than expected.
- Worship leader prays for all the concerns and joys
- Worship leader asks for people in the congregation to pray for the individual concerns
- Worship leader uses a reading to guide the prayer (examples are in the back of the hymnal).
- Worship leader in conjunction with song leader uses a song to guide the prayer.
Remind congregants to pray throughout the week for these requests.