Why Worship Design Matters

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Think back to what happened in your church’s worship service this past Sunday. You gathered with other believers on the same day of the week that Christ was raised from the dead. More than likely, songs were sung, prayers were offered, Scripture was read aloud then publically expounded upon. You probably had an opportunity to respond to the Word in some way. Perhaps you celebrated the Lord’s Supper or received prayer. Then you were dismissed or sent out.

On the surface, a worship service can seem pretty straightforward, simple, or even mundane; yet I want to offer this bold thought: for better or worse, worship always shapes us. Our experiences in corporate worship sculpt not only our understanding of the Triune God, but also our capacity as image bearers of the Creator. Careful design of our worship services, then, should be of utmost importance in the life of the Church.

Many of you share this conviction. You know what it’s like to spend hours crafting a moment in the service that will only last a few minutes. Perhaps you have also dealt with the frustration of having a half-empty tank in your worship design reservoir.  Nearly all of us have wrestled with how worship might be more faithful, honest, and transformational in our own contexts.  To this end, we hope the Worship Design Collective might be a resource for you and your church. We have assembled a community of pastors and worship leaders who are committed to sharing insights from their rich experiences. Some you may have heard of, while others may be new voices to you; but each author has a heart for worship renewal forged out of years of experience in the parish.

Several times a week we will be posting material on a wide array of issues concerning worship design. Our discussions will center on these primary topics:

  • The Structure of Worship: from broad explorations such as planning an entire order of worship, to considering the individual elements, like refining ways to lead prayers in corporate worship.
  • Music in Worship: from selecting songs for worship to using music as a way to support responsive readings, and more.
  • Working With Others: including topics such as leading a team of volunteers, developing a budget for worship ministry, and working alongside the head pastor.
  • Technology: considering various ways to faithfully incorporate technology into corporate worship.
  • The Arts: considering ways of engaging the senses, discipling the eyes, and exploring affective communication in worship.
  • Worship and Culture(s): thinking carefully about the relationship between Christian worship and the broader culture(s).
  • Family Liturgies: resourcing families for worship in the home.
  • Reviews: Lastly, we’ll be offering occasional reviews on books, podcasts, conferences, instruments, audio equipment, and other creative resources.

Our prayer is that the Triune God would use this community to bring renewal in your congregation’s worship. We hope you’ll join the fellowship as we pray and share together resources for worship design.

Visit our Worship Design Collective for more resources like this one.

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Shannon Sigler is a visual artist, theologian, and arts administrator. Her art and research center around a Wesleyan paradigm for the visual arts, as well as explorations in feminism, Christian vocation, and family life. Shannon served as the Associate Director for CIVA | Christians in the Visual Arts, and is currently the Director of Cascadia Worship & Arts for Fuller Seminary Northwest.

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