The Before, During and After for Leading a Church Service

SERVICE LEADING

THE FOUNDATION

What is Worship?

Worship is acknowledging God as King, and living our lives in service to Him.

Worship:

  • Is expressed through our adoration and actions.
    [Acts 2:42-47]
  • Includes the corporate gathering on Sundays and all of life. [Romans 12:1-2]
  • Is primarily a heart-issue. [Psalm 51:16-17, Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 22:37]

What’s the role of a Service Leader?

The role of a service leader is to:

  • Help others love God, and love each other.
  • Help the service flow smoothly.
  • Help God’s Word be taught clearly.

Who can be a Service Leader?

Because of the upfront nature of Service Leading, not everyone is qualified. Service Leaders should:

  • Be a Mature Christian.
  • Have Godly Character.
  • Be an Able Communicator.
  • Lead by Example (both in the service, and throughout the week).
  • Be Diligent in Preparation.

Why be a Service Leader?

As Christians we’re called to love and serve each other [1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Ephesians 4:11-13].

When Service Leading you are:

  • Building up and edifying the corporate gathering of God’s people.
  • Modelling to others:
    • The importance of God’s Word
    • The enjoyment of corporate gathering.
    • The love of prayer.
    • The delight of singing praises to God.

BEFORE LEADING

Prepare

The key to leading a service well is preparing. You need to:

  • Prepare Yourself
  • Prepare the Service
  • Prepare Others

PREPARE YOURSELF

Pray

We don’t lead in our own strength: prayer is the way we show our dependence on God, acknowledging that He’s the one who controls all things.

TIP: Examples of what you could pray about:

  • The Gospel to be made clear & the Spirit’s presence in conviction.
  • Humility: that God would keep you humble
  • Others on the Roster: the preacher, the musicians, welcomers, prayers, bible readers etc
  • Those There: that their head, heart, and hands would be more Christ-like

Read the Bible

We want God’s Word to be made clear. But we can’t do that unless we know what the passage is talking about.

TIP: Discuss the ideas, issues and application of the passage with the preacher.

Recognise why we Meet

We are sinners, saved by grace, coming to love God and love others with our head, heart, and hands. Church is a glimpse of the future in heaven. Remembering that will help us to focus on what’s important in service leading.

TIP: Pray that God would help.

PREPARE THE SERVICE

Think about the Flow

It’s important to make the whole service flow together. Part of accomplishing this well is to tie the big idea of the sermon into every aspect of the service.

TIP: Part of doing this is to match the emotional tone of the sermon with the entire service.

  • For example, if the sermon is about suffering and death, then having a light-hearted feel to the service doesn’t prepare the congregation to hear God’s Word.
  • On the other hand, if the sermon is about the joy of knowing God, then having a morbid and deathly feel to the service also doesn’t prepare the congregation to hear God’s Word.

Script it all

The point of scripting it is that it means you’ve thought through what you want to say, and then say what you want to say. It helps avoid rambling, mind-blanks and incoherence.

Welcome:

  • Be warm, confident and relaxed.
  • Make sure you provide a taste of the big-idea,
    that makes people look forward to hearing
    God’s Word, without stealing the preachers
    thunder.
  • Choose a relevant bible passage, that flows
    smoothly into prayer (and perhaps the first
    song).

Prayer:

  • Use ‘we’ language.
  • Consider all aspects of prayer (Adoration,
    Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication), not
    just requests/supplications.
  • Remember that you’re modelling prayer to the
    congregation.

Announcements:

  • Short and sharp: don’t waffle on.
  • The best announcements are the ones that make it feel like you’re a family.
  • Provide a reason why you think it’s important.
  • Try and limit it: ideally no more than 3.

After the Sermon:

  • Less is more: don’t waffle on.
  • Try and summarise the core big idea briefly (if you’re not sure what it is, then it’s better to not even attempt to).
  • Try and link with the next song.

Conclusion:

  • Finish with a bible passage that links with the big idea of the sermon/service.
  • Remember, church doesn’t end here, so invite people to stay and enjoy morning tea/supper etc.

TIP: Start by saying it out loud, and then type it, so that it’s natural and sounds like you speaking (rather than writing an essay!).

Practice

Practicing makes sure it sounds natural, and you aren’t tied to your notes (while still conveying the essence of what you planned to say).

TIP: Try practicing a minimum of 5 times, out loud. This will help make sure it’s in your head well.

PREPARE OTHERS

Part of our responsibility as a leader is to make sure everyone else knows what they’re doing. So check the roster and remind them that they’re on.

Arrive half an hour early so that you’re available for questions and co-ordinating the flow of items.

TIP: You don’t need to get up before everything that happens. Rather, make sure they know when they’re on, and are ready to go straight away. Ring the week before and the day before to confirm.

WHILE LEADING

Love

While leading the service remember that love is at the heart of worship. The key to leading a service is to:

  • Love God
  • Love Regulars
  • Love Visitors

LOVE GOD

We’re not just at church for each other: we’re there because a Great God has sent His Son to save us. And so, we get together to love Him and worship Him.

This means that every aspect of the service should be pointing towards God and what He’s done.

TIP: Make this clear in your prayers and introduction.

LOVE REGULARS

Time

Starting late is unloving to those who get there on time, so make sure you start exactly on time (especially because visitors are usually the ones who get there early/on time).

We also need to end on time, because people need to know that we value their time. While we may not always be able to finish exactly on time, it should be close to when we said.

TIP: It may be necessary to cut out a song sometimes to make sure that the service finishes on time.

In Prayer

Part of loving regulars is to pray specifically and compassionately for their needs.

TIP: Discuss with the minister/an elder if you need inspiration.

Be Engaging

We want to be engaging because we want people to pay attention and enjoy coming to church.

TIP: If you’ve prepared well, then this should be made simpler.

LOVE VISITORS

The language we use can include or exclude people. It can help people feel welcomed or rejected. So we need to think carefully about the language we use.

Make sure we:

  • Don’t use jargon or words people won’t understand (at least, not without explaining them).
  • Don’t use in-jokes, or language that will exclude those on the outside.
  • Explain what’s happening, and why.
  • Point out necessary facilities (kitchen, creche, bathroom, change rooms, Sunday school).

TIP: During the offering, you could explain that visitors don’t have to contribute. Rather, it’s for regulars.

AFTER LEADING

Think

Thinking about what’s happened will make you a better service leader. So make sure to:

  • Think about Yourself
  • Think about the Service
  • Think about Others

THINK ABOUT YOURSELF

Remember, your identity is not tied up in how the service went. So, if it went well, praise God, and don’t get a big head. If it didn’t go so well, praise God, rely on God, and don’t be too disheartened.

We’re at our most vulnerable straight after the service, so pray that God would help find your identity in Him.

TIP: Use wisdom to weigh up both praise and criticism.

THINK ABOUT THE SERVICE

Reflecting on what worked and what didn’t helps you to do a better job next time. Thinking and reflecting about the service also helps you to avoid repetition.

TIP: Ask two people that you value their insight for feedback on the service.

THINK ABOUT OTHERS

It’s important to also consider others after the service. You could do this by:

  • Expressing thankfulness to those who prepared and helped run the service.
  • Keeping an eye on your character and behaviour, to make sure that God is honoured.
  • Following up with visitors. This is particularly important because being welcomed by someone who they’ve seen up the front makes them feel more included.

TIP: While leading, look around for new people and make a mental note of who they are.

CONCLUSION

By Preparing, Loving and Thinking we can become better service leaders for the glory of God.

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