Worship Planning & Organization

I’ve just posted a blog entry at my blog with tips on being organized for worship service planning. Decided I’d share it with all of you as well. Hope that it can be of help!

I’ve only been leading worship for a short time, but I’ve already learned that being organized makes worship planning much easier! Some things that have worked for me that fellow worship leaders may find useful:

#1. Use dry-erase boards.

A good way to keep post-its & such from cluttering your workspace! Use it to write down song ideas for upcoming worship services & even use magnets to hold chord charts for quick review. When ideas for services other than the one being planned come to mind, this is where they can be written them down for your next planning session.

#2. Keep your sheets organized.

Keep chord & lead sheets in a filing cabinet or binder sorted alphabetically for quicker access. This can also save printing from CCLI (or other services) when you can access sheets printed for prior use.

#3. Utilize spreadsheets.

Our previous worship leader had a great system for keeping track of songs by title, hymn # (if applicable), key, dates used, & CCLI number. You can even color-code for things such as tempo, seasonal, song prospects, or to note which instrument you play on certain songs. (Be sure to make a color key though!)

#4. Make use of document templates.

Another idea I’ve inherited from our previous worship leader: Make a layout for the service or services you plan, then save as templates in Microsoft Word or OpenOffice. When planning services, you can simply open the template & enter the song or hymn titles for that worship service. Copy/paste into email for your worship team & you’re ready to go!

#5. Stackable documents trays = less clutter.

Many already use these for filing papers & such, & they are great to prevent paper clutter on your desk. You can use more or less depending on your need. I use 3-4 stackable trays in this way:

  • 1: Current week’s music on top (for both Sunday & Wednesday choir rehearsal)
  • 2: Music for future rehearsals/Sundays
  • 3: Song prospects for review
  • 4: Miscellaneous (upcoming conference/festival literature, music to purchase, etc.)

Did this help you to become more organized or give you other ideas? Share some tips of your own in the comments!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lori Biddle
    Aug 04, 2008 @ 14:00:02

    Hey, I’m getting ready today as a matter of fact, to finally launch my blog LoriBiddle.com in connection with the ‘live broadcast’ of our programming meetings. I have had the opportunity to serve as Director of Programming for Crossroads Community Church in Mansfield, Oh for about 12 years now.

    How has the responce been to your blog? Do you have many people visiting it on a regular basis? I am curious to find out what people need help with the most.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated!


  2. Per Eckerdal
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 22:01:45

    The best tip I have for organizing this kind of things is: Learn the songs so that you don’t need sheets. It takes some time and some guts, but there are many great benefits.

    Obviously, there is no need for keeping track of lots of paper on stage as only one paper with the song list is needed. But that’s not very much compared to the other things: It is easier to keep track of other things happening during the service if you don’t have to look at the sheets.

    And the only way to be able to learn the chords of sufficiently many songs is to actually learn to hear chord progressions. Thinking in terms of tonic, dominant, subdominant helps. This is the one thing that has helped me the most as a worship leader. It helps greatly when playing and arranging and organizing the band.

    Being dependent on sheet music in worship is not a good thing imho. The chords are usually very simple also, so it’s not too difficult to learn.

    It takes a while to get used to this, though. A tradeoff that I used for two years or so and still use occasionally was to organize the chord sheets like shown in the pdf below. I made one of these per service. This reduces the amount of papers on stage to two (for me), which is also good. Plus it makes it easier to see the chord patterns, which is great.



  3. Per Eckerdal
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 22:27:59

    I forgot to say that I say this in the context of contemporary worship music. I’m not sure that it works well with other, more harmonically complex, music.


  4. Trackback: RussHutto.com » Blog Archive » 10 Great Worship Leading Resources
  5. Trackback: 10 Great Worship Leading Resources | RussHutto.com

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