Under the Hood
Some of us may be tempted to think that all the work of worship takes place on Sunday morning. But like a car’s engine, the bulk of the work takes place out of sight. So let’s take a look “under the hood” of a worship service at Church of the Servant.
Many people are surprised to learn that the minister of worship doesn’t plan each week’s service. Instead, there is a rotation of a half dozen volunteer worship planners and me, so I plan and lead worship about two times a month. This is a somewhat unique arrangement in the world of music ministry, but it makes sense at COS because there is such a strong tradition of volunteer leadership and because we have been blessed with so many exceptional worship musicians.
Worship planning begins months before a service. Seasonal liturgical music is finalized, music planners are scheduled, and preaching themes are established. Two weeks before a service, the music planner hands in a draft of the service. Yvonne Reiffer gets to work scheduling musicians to play, Nancy Van Baak begins to format the printed liturgy, and I coordinate all the pesky logistical details that inevitably arise. A week before the service, the musicians pick up their music and start practicing. Nancy copies the final printed liturgy on Wednesday and volunteers assemble it on Friday. On Sunday morning the music planner/leader and musicians arrive 45 minutes before each service (yes, that’s 7:45am) to rehearse.
The worship committee is responsible for overseeing the larger picture of COS worship. Headed by Scott Yonkers, our monthly meetings are spent evaluating past services, making long term plans, and discussing various aspects of COS’s worship life. Because worship incorporates so many different art forms, we have a number of worship art committees that fall under the umbrella of worship committee: visual arts (led by Ellen Vander Mey), dance (led by Julie Yonkers), music (led by Coni Huisman), and a fledgling group of wordsmiths that has just started.
Finally, there’s me—Greg Scheer, minister of worship at COS. Mine is a ¾ time position, with the other ¼ time spent at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. My work includes service planning, meetings, rehearsals, and coordinating the efforts of staff, musicians and volunteer leaders. And writing things like this.
Reading about the inner workings of COS’s worship doesn’t make for the most captivating reading, and may fall slightly out of the domain of a liturgy lesson. But I hope some insight into the preparation and organization of our worship will encourage you to find a place to contribute, or simply motivate you to thank one of the many people who volunteer their time at the church.