Worship Leading Resource Community Mennonite Church of Stouffville, ON
Worship at CMC Worship at Community Mennonite Church is part of a weekly rhythm for the participants. It is fairly casual and laid-back. Community Mennonite Church has regular, routine ways of doing worship, and that is comfortable. However, CMC is also open to change, new ideas, and discovering different ways to encounter God.
The Role of Worship Leader
At Community Mennonite Church, the role of the Worship Leader is to lead the congregation into a worshipful space. The worship leader acts as a host of the service. The worship leader will find resources, people and words that will allow each stage (Gathering, Hearing, Responding, Sending) to flow into the next, announcing when necessary. Most of all, the worship leader invites the community to be present, and to meet God in both old and new ways. Through the words and actions of calls to worship, prayers, offerings, confessions, responses, and benedictions, the worship leader crafts and facilitates the order of the worship service.
Responsibilities 1) Facilitate the congregation in worship. Following is a list of the usual components of a regular worship service at CMC that the worship leader is responsible for:
Welcome [and Introduction]
Call to Worship
Offering Prayer Scripture Readers [Response] Benediction 2) Take time with the above rituals, readings, prayers to make the connections between the theme, the message, the scripture, the songs, etc. 3) Connect with other service leaders. An email is usually circulated early each week to inform the leaders of the upcoming service. Feel free to contact the pastor, or other people involved to verify that details/ideas/people are all in place.
These are the people involved each week:
Speaker Worship Leader Song Leader [Storyteller] Greeters/Ushers Sound person Set-up Team -
Preparing to Lead Worship
Sit with the Text Spend some time in prayer and before you begin planning. Wrestle through, dig into, and dance with the scripture texts for the week. Consider It is good to ask questions. Why is it we do what we do? Why is it that we worship? Why is it that we have a certain theme? Why is it that certain scriptures have been chosen? What does this community have to give at this time? What does this community need to receive at this time? What is the purpose of this service? What does it call us to? (Adoration, reflection, action, etc).
Are there any images/visuals/symbols that would reflect/support/illuminate the theme or story in a new way?
How can scripture be presented in a creative way?
If you have an idea about music, be in contact with the song leader.
What set-up would serve the purpose of this service?
Regular (Chairs in Rows) 3⁄4 Set Up (Chairs on 3 sides) Semi-Circle (Chairs curved on the ends) Circle (One large circle, or a smaller circle with rows) Alley (Congregation facing each other)
Are there any rituals which may be appropriate to include? Here are some examples of rituals, but think outside the box!
Anointing with Oil
Confession, etc -3-
Is Communion part of this service? If so, how does Communion become a meaningful part of worship? How is it inclusive? How is it welcoming? What is it recognizing and/or celebrating? (ie: Jesus’ sacrifice for the world, a celebration of new life in Christ, the fellowship of believers, etc.)
Think of the community and how you can involve a variety of demographics in the service. Be aware of the ‘usual suspects’ that you see at the front. They are there for a reason – they’re gifted at leading in worship, and comfortable taking on this type of role. These are good people to consider, but also think beyond and ways you can involve others, newcomers, etc.
Whose gifts could be used, and how?
Who might be interested in being more involved in the community?
Who might connect with this theme on a personal level?
Who is musical? Who has a strong voice? Who is full of stories? Who likes to keep things in gear behind the scenes? Who has an eye for aesthetics? Who knows technology like the back of their hand? Who has been involved lately? Who has not? Etc...
If the order of worship varies from what is below, or if you want to include something for the congregation to read, an insert, etc, be sure to inform the bulletin by the THURSDAY before. Bulletin Contact: Gabrielle Gain
Draft Order of Service
This is the typical order of service that Community Mennonite structures worship around. Feel free to follow this order very closely. Also, feel free to use this as a springboard to inspire new ideas. Perhaps one Sunday, you’d like to put the offering after the song of response because the sermon is challenging us to be generous. Go for it! Maybe you have an idea for something else that is not included here. Silence? Confession?
...Dancing?! Holy Inspiration is a great way to engage the congregation in new ways and is a witness to the Creative Spirit within God and within us. If you do make creative changes, be sure that the other people involved in the service are aware, as well as the bulletin!
O RD ER OF S E R V IC E
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer Gathering Songs
Song of Response
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Sending Closing Song
Appendix of Resources
Sometimes it helps to get the creative juices flowing by looking at resources. From worship services, to art work, calls to worship, and offering prayers, here are some useful places to start gleaning ideas.
MC Canada Resource Centre
Check out Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre. There are books, readings, plays, posters, ideas galore! Most resources you can sign out, and The Resource Centre will send it to you for free. Some resources are available for download, as well. http://resources.mennonitechurch.ca/Home
MCEC Resources Check out Mennonite Church Eastern Canada – they have some great resources on this website, too.
The Cupboard The large cupboard at the back of Parkview Auditorium belongs to Community Mennonite Church. There is a modest library of books there, with lots of worship resources. Feel free to peruse and borrow anything you might find helpful.
Hymnals The Mennonite Hymnal (Blue book), Sing the Journey (green book), and Sing the Story (purple book) all have resources in the back.
Online There are many other websites online, from our (and other) denominations that have great ideas for services. Google can also be considered a worship resource!