Worship Study 1

Posted on 15 Dec 2010

The worship study for January 2010 was a great success for a first trial.  Cathy, XinLiang, Minzhi and I presented our assignments.  These are my brief summary and action plan.

I presented on the book “Designing Worship Together”.  Basically it is a book that chronicles what is worship planning over the decades and how it has evolved into a collaboration effort in recent times.  Worship planning has moved from the “just plug in hymns” mentality into a one united message for the entire service.  This calls for more co-laboring from every quarters.  This mass involvement will reduce the disconnect between worship planners and worshipers and it prevents burnout.   But more opinions being involved in the planning also entail more friction between personalities in the planning process.  This can be resolved more amicably with proper parameters for worship and maintaining love and respect for one another.

The action plan for this is as follows:
1. We will use the Presbyterian framework for worship as our basic parameters in worship planning.  A copy of this will be distributed in our next meeting.
2. We have decided to start using this collaborative effort from the next liturgical year.  Meaning that it will start from end-November 2010 Advent season.  This means also that we must have a basic skeleton of the next liturgical year by June 2010 so that the rest of the worship ministry can collaborate in planning for all the services with worship songs, choir presentations, etc.
3. Xiaohui will be in charge of getting the pastoral team to decide on the themes and events of the next liturgical year as soon as possible.
4. We will also hold a worship planning education workshop somewhere in the March Holidays.

Cathy presented on the Nuts and Bolts of worship planning.  This articles gathered all the wisdom of over 100 churches and condense them into ten “proverbs” for worship planners.  Of special importance are the following:
1. Worship planning should begin with a scripture text and worship planners should involve in textual study.
This is why the skeleton for the next liturgical year will be the first item that must be completed for the planning.
2. Maintain a balanced song diet.
We will do a song diet evaluation at the end of the planning so that we have a balanced distribution of song types throughout the year like contemplative, exuberant, simple or challenging.
3. Adopt good models for organizing people and communication and carry tasks of supervision and evaluation
Cathy will prepare a few evaluation models for us to choose from in the next meeting, and we will decide on the best way we can evaluate our weekly worship.

Vincent (XinLiang) shared on the worship planners’ bookshelf.  That is how the Calvin’s Institute organize their worship resources.
1. We have decided to use the Philippians room as our worship resource room.  We will gather all the worship resources that we currently have (except the online resource) and we will organize them properly in the Philippians room.  This includes the CDs, hymnals, books on worship, sermon recordings, scores, etc.
2. We will do the first hardwork on this on the June worship study session.  all 10 members of the worship study group, together with all the PA guys and gals from both services will come together on a June Sat to get this first step done.
3. Vincent will be the Resources I/C and he and his PA team will spend 1-2 years in turning the entire resource into a proper database for easy usage for every worship planner.

MinZhi shared on the importance of visuals for worship.  A few food for thoughts.
1. How can we let the congregation feel involved in the worship instead of merely a spectator when our planning (including visuals) become more and more complex?
2. Will there be a false expectation for the fanciful if we always go for elaborate settings for the big occasions?
3. Even if some members of the congregation feel that they have contributed artistically, it is still a personal, subjective expression unknown to others.  The question is: So what?

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