Worship Planning Retreat

Last week we did a two-day worship planning retreat for the entire team. We've had some level of team-based worship planning for the entire time I've been on staff, but this takes it to a new level. We're using a modified version of the Big Idea approach used by a numerous churches. Our worship team (four pastors, media director, traditional worship leader, music director, unnamed contemporary worship director) is going to meet four times a year to hash out six to nine months worth of weekend material.

Last week's retreat went exceptionally well. We planned big idea topics through Easter next year (although we've got two series options for Lent we'll wrestle with when we meet in November). We spent Tuesday morning talking about values in worship then in the afternoon we took all of the message topics Bob had prepared plus additional ideas from the team (we discussed roughly 60 ideas). By the end of the afternoon we had narrowed all of the messages into series, set aside the ideas that didn't fit where we felt God was leading, and put things onto the calendar. We spent Wednesday doing creative brainstorming for the remaining messages in August and for all of September.

The goal is that each week we'll  spend our weekly worship meeting covering the following:

  • recap of last weeked – what was good, what was bad
  • last minute updates for this weekend
  • discuss sermon manuscript for two weeks out
  • finalize service elements for two weeks out
  • creatively brainstorm for the weekend six weeks out
  • pray

Most of the time in the meeting (ideally half) is used for the weekend six weeks out. We've already got the core concept, big idea, main takeaway thought through so this is our time to push boundaries. We'll all toss out ideas for the weekend for media, drama, music, sermon illustrations, possible information for the person preaching, etc.

Our next long-range planning meeting is in early November. This first week went fairly smoothly, we've made some adjustments to the template document we're using for planning. I'll write about that next week. I'm very excited abuot the potential for planning this far in advance – a big step for us.