God’s Detailed Plans For Worship

We’re crossing a bridge at our church in worship planning. Here’s a bit of background:

We have four Sunday morning services and two other satellite services where we send lay speakers. Two of the four services on the main campus are more traditional in nature with a choir, organ, handbells and are held in the sanctuary. The other two services are held in the Family Life Center with the music being led by the worship band.

There have always been details to plan – even just printing the Sunday morning program has been quite a feat – six separate bulletins published, printed and distributed each week! That’s three different preachers, four completely different worship orders, and a whole slew of various worship leaders, musicians, speakers, hospitality team members, tech team folks and others who serve!

As this has continued to grow, so has our need for more detailed planning.

I have never been a detail person (although, I have committed to stop saying that in an effort to try and stop believing it). I usually roll with whatever happens. As a result, I’m always amazed and thankful when the little fall into place through the committed team members. Here’s a quick sampling of the details for Sunday (which are probably similar to yours in some ways) :

  • song lyrics in the projection system
  • lights on and off at the right times
  • teams scheduled and assembled to perform the duties needed to help carry out the worship time
  • song lyrics and chord charts in the computer in time for people in the worship team for that week to see it, hear it and learn it.
  • backing tracks and click tracks set and ready at the right tempo and key and in the right slot
  • printed orders for worship participants
  • images, text and sermon support created
  • announcement slides created
  • batteries in mics, monitors, and instruments checked and/or changed
  • hospitality teams ready to go in the right places with the right instructions
  • communion set up and details complete
  • and the details just go on and on and on.

Without incredible people serving in various roles to accomplish these things, I would have given up long ago.

As I have been rereading the Bible this year, I’ve been struck in Exodus and Leviticus about how much God is the God of both the grand vision and the details.

The detailed descriptions of how to build, worship and sacrifice throughout the second part of Exodus and into Leviticus is part of the reason that section of Scripture gets the brunt of jokes at times: “start reading through Leviticus if you can’t sleep!”

But I’ve been so inspired this time around as I’ve read it through the filter of the need to do the details well.

God describes the way he wants the tabernacle built. It’s the extension of his presence among the people. And it’s incredibly detailed – down the the tiniest nuance of style, equipment and material.

Here are a couple of examples from chapters and chapters of this stuff:

Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits[a] high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide.[b] Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze.Make all its utensils of bronze—its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried.Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain. Exodus 27:1ff
Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits[c]long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, 10 with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 11 The north side shall also be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts.
12 “The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits[d] wide and have curtains, with ten posts and ten bases. 13 On the east end, toward the sunrise, the courtyard shall also be fifty cubits wide. 14 Curtains fifteen cubits[e] long are to be on one side of the entrance, with three posts and three bases, 15 and curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on the other side, with three posts and three bases. Exodus 27:9ff


It’s almost like getting people out Egypt, across the Red Sea and heading toward the Promised Land – with miracles of Manna, Water from a Rock and the Ten Commandments was easy, big picture stuff. But when it comes to preparing for worship – God cared about and shared instructions down to the smallest detail!

God is the God of the big vision – a lost world drawn to him. But God is also into details – every little part of worship planned perfectly so the people could get a handle on it and know what they needed to do.

I know this may seem basic and obvious, but worship is important to God! It’s important for the people to know what is needed and to do it to the best of their abilities.

And for me, at least today, it means focusing in on the details a little more as I serve and lead.

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