A Pre-Cap for Overcoming Sin: Forgiveness

February 22, 2012 — 8 Comments

Welcome to the first of hopefully many posts that we collaborate on as we walk through the journey of worship planning!  I’m simply going to walk through what some of my thoughts were as I planned the service this week, and encourage you to comment, share your own thoughts from your planning, and ask questions and give feedback as you do!

We are currently in the second week of a series called Overcoming Sin, in which we are looking at several different disciplines involved in that subject, including confession, forgiveness, anger, grace, temptation, etc.  This week’s  discipline is forgiveness.  Because I have three services (and one is blended), I usually start with a pool of songs that I feel will cover all or part of the theme we are looking at.  For example, I looked at songs ranging from “Forgiven” to “Grace Greater than All Our Sin” to “Mighty to Save” when looking for songs that touched on the subject of forgiveness…but I also want to have a progression in the service that will help focus us to look at the subject.  This is what I came up with for the Blended Service:

“Victory in Jesus”

“You are Holy/Prince of Peace”

“Mighty to Save”

“I Stand Amazed in the Presence”

Setup Song being “7×70”

My thinking was to start with a broad view of Christ and his attributes as we open worship, and then to focus in on the idea of the forgiveness he has given us, and our need for a Savior as we progress through the service.  For us, we sometimes do a setup song that doesn’t necessarily work corporately, but hits right on the point we are making…Chris August’s song hits the nail on the head for us.  In our contemporary services, we backload the service, meaning we put a song set after the sermon to allow our community to respond to what they have heard.  We aren’t doing that this week in the 1st service.

“You are Holy/Prince of Peace”



“Mighty to Save”

“I Stand Amazed in the Presence”

One thing I might note is that we are not doing “Overcome” this week because we will use it next week in a drama.  So now that I have shared some of my thoughts, what are yours?

What are you doing this week in worship planning?


8 responses to A Pre-Cap for Overcoming Sin: Forgiveness


    Love this idea Conor! I’m in the midst of a crazy busy week, but I hope to share a pre-cap this week too! Looks good man and thanks for sharing your ideas going into the weekend!


    This is my first week being responsible for planning the service. I met Tuesday with the pastor and another worship leader and we talked about the theme of movement from slavery to freedom. We’re going to begin the service with “Victory Chant” which has the lyrics “Your life frees me to sing.” Then we’ll go into “How can I keep from Singing?” Then for our set up we’ll do “I Give You my Heart” which doesn’t necessarily fit the theme, but it prepares the congregation to hear and respond to the word. After the sermon is our key song/invitation “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” This week we have a baby dedication and then as a response to the commitment of the dedication we’ll sing “Give us Clean Hands.” And as a closing song, we’re going to sing “The Family of God.” This is a change, usually we just repeat the first verse of the opening song to end the service, but I wanted to draw the body together before we send them out. Not all of the songs fit the theme, but they help the flow of the service lead from one thing to the next.

    Usually we don’t have as much music after the sermon, but we wanted to change it up a little. Next week we’re doing the sermon near the very beginning, and a lot of response music after, so I’ll let you know how that goes.


    Thanks for starting this idea, Conor!

    This week at Bethel we have a guest speaker coming in, who is an expert in Creation/Evolution and is actually speaking Sunday morning, then again on Sunday night and Monday night in a special seminar open to the community on this topic. The message portion of our service is normally 30 minutes, but our speaker has requested 40 minutes. We have four services on a Sunday morning (3 time slots, including 2 concurrent services at 8:00, then 2 Contemporary at 9:30 and 11:00), so we plan our services at 60 minutes.

    Obviously, with this extra 10 minutes for the message, my worship planning had to be altered quite a bit this week. I shaved off a song, and got rid of some other typical elements to adapt to this change.

    I have been waiting and waiting for just the right time to use the song “Beautiful Things” (Gungor) here at Bethel. Everyone knows it, but we just haven’t introduced it here during a service. Well, as I was thinking how to tie Creation/Evolution into a worship service, this song came to mind. Lyrics speaking about “the earth”, “garden”, “You make beautiful things out of the dust”, “chaos”, seemed to resonate well with this topic. Tying that in then, and making the leap to “You make beautiful things out of us” seemed to drive the point home. He makes all things, and He makes us new creations as well at salvation. I thought of the best time to use this song, and it seemed like right after the message would be a perfect way to respond to the beauty and majesty of God’s creation.

    So, we’ll start with two songs – “Majestic” (Lincoln Brewster) and “Glorified” (Jared Anderson), followed by the Welcome/Offering/Announcements and right into the 40 minute message. We’ll follow that with “Beautiful Things” to wrap up the service.

    I should say, although each song this week does tie in to the theme in some way, I am not one that always tries to do that. Often our opening songs are just vertical songs of praise and adoration, not necessarily linked to the theme. If we do a song just before the message (during offering as a special or congregationally, then I try to have that song lead into the message. We almost always do one song after the message, and I normally try to make that song a song of response linked to the message they just heard.

    We also have a Traditional Service, where I’ll be using hymns about creation, along with hymns of praise and adoration. Our songs will include “Immortal, Invisible”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Love Lifted Me” and “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms”.

    I have another worship leader who plans and leads our Cafe Connection service, which happens at the same time as the Traditional in another part of our church. It’s a video venue Cafe style service, so it has its own live worship team (more of an acoustic only team), and a live host pastor, but they watch the message on a screen as it happens live in our sanctuary. Zack picked out “Majestic” (usually he uses one or two that we’re doing in the Contemporary), “Rising” (Paul Baloche) and “All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises” (Baloche).

    Hopefully that wasn’t too much info, but it does help to think through the planning process and just solidify what we’ll be doing here this weekend.

    Barry Westman


    Hey, Connor. This is the first time I’ll be articulating (out loud) the worship set beforehand – usually I’m always doing it after the service – so I’m glad to have the challenge and see what God does.

    This is our second week on the topic “Our Five Areas of Redemption.” The five areas are: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Emotional & Social. Last week our Pastor began with Spiritual so this week is Mental. Now, I’ve had the set-list planned out for a few weeks before I heard about this sermon series, and like Barry, I don’t try to make every single song tie into the theme, but sometimes it’s uncanny how much the are woven together on their own. We’re opening with Happy Day (Tim Hughes) since that song embraces the joy we have in our Salvation. I like to open our service with rejoicing about how great God is, so our first focus is on His greatness. Next is “Very Same Power” (Ricardo Sanchez) taking from the verse, “the very same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me…” The bridge portion is somewhat like a battle-cry: “no more chains holding me, from now on I am free. I’m gonna shout it out loud!” Our congregation responds well to this song.

    As needed, I like to take either a verse or chorus from the 2nd song and slow it down to transition into the next, so that’s the plan so far. From there we’re transitioning into the song “Evermore” (Jason Breland) which brings worship to a point of consecration: “evermore I will love you, evermore I will serve you…” Weaving into this will be “You Are Faithful” (Hillsong). I like combining consecration/surrender type songs with songs that sing about the attributes of God. So more than likely this song will morph into a medley. Depending on what the Lord is doing that morning will determine if we end with “You Are Faithful” or come back around with the chorus of “Evermore.”

    Usually we do a song during the offering that speaks about trusting the Lord. So this week is “Let the Praises Ring” (Lincoln Brewster).

    Our Pastor usually speaks for 40-45 minutes then opens up for an altar call or special time of prayer. Usually I’ll just return to the piano and play lightly. I don’t have one particular song in mind because I like to see where the ministry emphasis is headed and we don’t always sing a song following the service, it depends on what the Pastor calls for at the moment.

    So that’s it in a nutshell. I’ve enjoyed reading your entry and the others, just to see what’s happening in different places. Looking forward to the recap after Sunday. God bless and have a glorious weekend!


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