Worship that isn’t based on Christ, the cross, and the Word of God is worship that is based on emotion and feeling without truth. As worship leaders, we play a role in the spiritual teaching and shepherding of the people we have the privilege of leading.
These familiar passages should be at the forefront of our minds:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim 4:1-2)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
It is important to be building a strong connection between what we do in worship and the Scriptures in people’s minds. To help reinforce the basis of why we do what we do and why we live the way we live. I think it’s unfortunate when the only time people encounter the Word of God in a service is during the message.
But, how can we weave the Scriptures into the worship service? Perhaps you would like to, but aren’t sure how. Let me offer some suggestions.
1) Have Scripture readings done by the worship leader, worship team members, or a congregation member. This can be done at transitional points in a service to continue to focus people on God. One way is to choose Scriptures that relates to the message theme of the day. SermonCentral.com has a great article offering 10 Tips for Scripture Readers.
2) Develop a responsive reading. There are many premade resources. One I have used is the Open Sourcebook. The Book of Common Prayer is also an option. Or have a spiritually minded individual with writing skills in your congregation develop one based around a particular theme. The declaration of Scripture aloud by a congregation is a powerful thing.
3) Have a Scripture passage or story done as a dramatic reading or reader’s theater. This can be done at any time of the year, not just at Easter. It has a drama feel, without being a full-on dramatic production.
4) Have a verse on the screen during transitional moments of the service for people to focus upon.
5) Have a verse on the screen during an interlude in a song. This can give people something to focus on when not singing, and can be a way to easily communicate the biblical connection of the song being sung. You are singing biblically based songs, right?
6) Use a video piece built around a Scripture passage. The Work of the People offers a variety of Scripture based videos. I’m also a big fan of the work of Dan Stevers, and there are a bunch of options through websites like WorshipHouse Media.
7) If your pastor preaches in series, use a common Scripture verse for each week of the series and work on memorizing it together as a congregation during the service.
8) Elements like the call to worship, times of confession, prayers, and benedictions can each be built around a Scripture verse as opposed to being off the cuff as us worship leaders can be prone to do.
9) Offer a weekly verse related to the message for the people to take home. It could be communicated in the bulletin and reinforced through weekly communication means like email, Facebook, or Twitter.
10) Include references for additional supporting Scriptures related to the message in the sermon notes. Encourage people to read those on their own during the week.
These are just a few ideas. There are many others. I hope that these will encourage you to be intentional in incorporating the Scriptures in worship. In fact, I hope your worship planning begins with Scripture and not a list of the latest songs. After all, the Word of God is the basis of our understanding and knowledge of God. And the more we help people grow in their relationship with God, the more in spirit and truth worship will be.
How have you seen the Scriptures incorporated into worship?