"Ebb & Flow" - Worship Providers Tips

Have you ever endured boring worship? If so you know how hard it is to connect with God when you are not interested. And you can tell if that is the norm by observing the interest level of the regular attendees. Do the participants have excitement for what they are doing? Do the worshippers pay attention or do they text and fidget and sit with blank faces? Do they discuss the spirit of worship or do they forget they have been there by lunch time?

Worship is supposed to be a dynamic experience of encounter between God and people.  Unfortunately too many do not pay attention to the quality of the experience or take time to create the dynamic environment for the Soul and Spirit to connect. It is not that worship providers prepare a “show”. The worship experience is a mutual participation exercise and those who lead have a huge and holy responsibility to create the best experience possible for all.

One way to help build the experience is to plan for the ebb and flow of energy. In every worship experience there are “high” and “low” moments. There is time to be active and time to be passive, time to speak or sing and time to listen and time to quietly reflect. There is a time to be social and a time for solitude and all of it should flow evenly and smoothly from one to another creating a whole experience that is memorable and builds anticipation for the next.

A trap of “form based” worship is to just plug elements in without careful planning to ebb and flow. A trap of “theme based” worship is to focus on parts or providers rather than integration of all parts and providers with people.

Worship experiences should not be “cookie cutter” patterns or static which drains interest and enthusiasm. Some experiences start low and build to a high. Others start in the middle and ride up and down. Some start high and end low. Creativity is key to helping people worship and fully participate in the full worship experience.

So mind and heart, energy and pace, activity and stillness all together work to create a worship experience that makes a difference and because of it not only helps folks encounter God in a real and personal way, it helps them to remember the message and the difference, share it with others, and live better because of it.

Perhaps it helps to remember that every part of every worship service and every person in it are on Holy Ground in a Holy time to represent and present themselves honestly and to honor God and our relationship with God.

Way Stations consulting services are available.

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"Waiting for Unlikely" - Worship Participant Tips

Did you ever visit a new or different worship experience? Do you know what it is like to be a “visitor”, a “guest”, an “outsider”? Very often in such experiences we feel self-conscious and hope and pray for someone to help us to feel welcome. We see that people are very friendly with each other, and so we hope they will be with us. We look at every face looking for a kind one. We go to the folks with the badges or nametags expecting them to be friendly and outgoing and to be ready and willing to help. But when disappointed we walk anonymously into the worship space, try to find a seat that won’t offend anyone, and reduce our expectations of good. This is not the way it is supposed to be. It is not the way we want it to be. But it is often true.

Now, did you ever forget to address an email, introduce a friend, just to take that extra step of kindness? You didn’t mean to it just slipped your mind. Or maybe too much was on your mind, or you were distracted, or maybe our consciousness just took a short vacancy break. Maybe we should give a break to those who are a little less than outgoing.

But even if they are cold and unwelcoming, now that we are there do we want it to be a bad experience? Why do we wait for them to come to us? It is like telling a friend if they need anything “just call” when we know the last thing in the world they would do when in need is to reach out. Our whole experience can be determined by our frustration and isolation. We could miss the grace of God, distracted by disappointment.

So the Way Stations advice is don’t wait for them to change their ways or to change in the space of a few minutes. Don’t wait at all. Take the initiative. Introduce yourself, ask them for the help you need, make friends. Show your enthusiasm, compliment your hosts. Create the positive spirit yourself. You may be surprised at how quickly and how well they will respond to your kindness.

I went to a conference once and everyone stayed in little familiar groups. Interaction was absent and social was anything but. It was awful. But then I noticed there were a few who did not sit around waiting for someone to come to them, they presented themselves, made friends, and gave that which they had hoped to receive and all enjoyed it just as much.

If we want to worship, we need to worship. We don’t want to watch others worship we want to participate and if we do we will have a much better time. So don’t just wait there, do something!

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"Less Than Zero" - Worship Providers Tips

People come to worship with a reasonable expectation of experience. The hope is to see, to hear, think and feel something of God that makes a positive difference in our lives.

Most worship services have all the elements folks are looking for but they lack the things that tend toward a dynamic experience. There is little sense of mystery, little anticipation and little surprise. Sometimes there is humor but often the content that stimulates, inspires, excites or even interests is missing. As a result, those who come in a genuine quest to find God too many are disappointed and few return. The good news is this type of problem can be changed and not all steps are that difficult to put in place.

One step that can build interest in the worship that is relatively easy to do is eliminate the empty spaces.

The empty spaces in worship experiences are the moments between, the time everyone waits between the end of one worship element and the start of the next. Examples of empty waiting include: watching a leader(s) move from one place to another; pauses between songs; changing gears from one type of element to another like from song to prayer etc.

Admittedly there are times for silence in worship but they need to be by design not accident and incorporated into the context of a specific element. An example here would be to introduce prayer, set the mood, and create the moment for silence. A still moment well designed becomes full of spiritual power, whereas a pause of waiting steals the energy from the service and the participants alike.

What we are talking about is planning and pacing. To add interest in your worship practice designing the energy and flow of worship elements to be very smooth, and swift, eliminating the waiting between. When there is a swift and smooth transition it builds interest and attention to each part of the worship. Instead of starting and stopping which gets tiring, the experience becomes like climbing a mountain of inspiration culminating in connection between all in worship and God. In that moment of connection people aren’t looking at their watches. In fact they don’t want the moment to end.

Way Stations consulting services for multimedia design, worship planning, and implementation are available. For information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"The Ministry of the Usher" = Worship Providers Tips

The usher is an essential player in the conduct of the worship experience. In order to help people have a peak experience it is vital that the persons to assume the role invest themselves spiritually and emotionally as well as physically to this ministry. Too often in churches Ushers think they just manage the collection of the offering. But that is merely one physical element. It is a task. But what is the ministry?

The ministry of the usher is to enable persons to navigate their way around the grounds, find their way to essential rooms and resources, and to worship effectively. What is required in the usher is a heart for people and a desire, drive, and thoughtfulness to help people have the best experience possible when they come to the worship or program experience. Think of people first. For example Ushers do not “take the offering”. Instead they provide each person in the congregation the opportunity to respond to God’s grace in their lives in the experience of the offering and sharing together, the sacraments, and the reassurance that any situation can and will be effectively and professionally handled.

Tasks for the Usher team include: Traffic Control, Parking Guidance, Facility and Worship Space Preparation, Information and Assistance to persons without and within the facility, emergency management and response, Security, and of course the receipt and storage of worship offerings.

But the key is people working with people. Service Personnel taking pride in providing the best service to insure the best experience for the most wonderful people in the world, those who come to worship with you.

Would you like to know more?

Way Stations consulting services for multimedia design, worship planning, and implementation are available. For information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"How to Visit a Church Worship Experience" ~ Worship Participant Tips

Have you ever felt odd walking into a worship experience, not having a clue what to do or why? Did you ever feel like you were totally out of place, like you did not belong?  Did you ever visit trying to meet, connect with and explore God but the experience itself got in the way?

At Way Stations we cannot explain what specific faith communities do or why, but we can try to help you to do your part, to make the most of your worship experience, and hopefully help you to find what you are looking for as you seek the place the best brings you into community with God, Christ, Holy Spirit, and genuine Christ-like folks.

Open Up, Give It Up, Soak It Up!

Open Up: When you visit a worship experience you may be tempted to look at everything that happens from your own point of view. When you try something new you need to be fair and open minded and receptive to what is being offered. Make up your mind in advance to learn, to be open to the experience. Take notes and save evaluation for debriefing after the visit.

Presume the people are trying to do something good. Presume the God you seek is a God who also seeks to be real and in touch with you. Look for what you can learn. Go with positive attitude and you will be open to what good the experience can offer.

Give It Up: When doing a new thing to get the most out of it you need to put your best into it. Before you go, try to find out in advance what they do and how they do it. Find out what to expect. It helps if you can go with someone you know who has been there before or who attends regularly. They can help you prepare and to get the most out of the experience. You could try calling or emailing in advance and asking for information on how it works or what to expect. (Their response could tell you a lot too.)

When you attend try to participate as best you can. Do not expect to understand or to enjoy everything at the first time. Do not deny yourself the good that could come by surprise. Worship experiences should have some degree of mystery, discovery, inspiration and wonder.

Soak It Up: Notice everything. Watch and listen from the moment you arrive on the grounds through the moment you leave the area. Observe the people, the art, the architecture, the music, the personalities, the experiences, the words, prayers, attitudes, friendliness, and the spiritual elements you encounter. Observe your own emotions and reactions; examine your thoughts and feelings throughout. Note the character of the people you meet. Note questions. Talk to those with whom you attended and debrief the full experience. (Sometimes this works best with a meal or refreshment at another location.)

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"Using Projection & Screens" ~ Worship Provider Tips

Today many churches are considering the purchase and use of projectors and screens. In non-traditional churches the use of screens in worship is essential. Traditional churches have option, but much planning and promotion is required. The general idea is to add vitality and cultural relevance to the worship experience. In today’s North American culture each individual has access to multiple screens in their daily lives, often simultaneously. From GPS and head’s up displays in cars, to “smart phones”, multiple screen game platforms, computers and large screen TVs. Young people today can’t imagine life without screens. The church that is not sensitive or responsive to the cultural lifestyle of the people of its community is considered irrelevant and meaningless by that community.

Yet, all tools for worship need careful planning and effectively promoted and adopted in order to be accepted and supported. To help church to be effective in planning and implementation we offer the following questions. The use of multi-media tools in worship and programming can be a great addition to communication, mood and participation if it is planned, promoted and used effectively.
Screen Issues to Consider:
1. How will the screen be used? Will projection/screen be used in permanent or portable location? Will screen be a primary inspiration source or background? What will content be?
2. Will the screen be used in all or part of worship?; all or some worship services?
3. How will the screen and projection equipment be integrated in presentation space in most effective way? (Respect internal cultural diversity and needs.)
4. What is the plan to enlist congregation support for equipment and use? How will church manage the change and response to it?
5. Who will prepare screen content (insuring effective integration with full worship experience)? Screen & content must add to, not distract from worship or theme.
6. Who will operate the equipment?
7.  What are total costs? List ALL costs are reflected in the total (hardware, mounting, appearance, software, licensing, content).
Way Stations consulting services for multimedia design, worship planning, and implementation are available. For information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Greg Spencer:
Telephone:    724-858-5587
Mailing Address:
   Way Stations Ministries
   126 Elbrook Drive
   Natrona Heights, PA 15065


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