10 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Plan Virtual Worship
In the era of COVID-19, virtual worship is paramount. Those who have always participated in virtual worship and those who are only creating a virtual experience out of necessity have so much to consider while planning worship. While I won’t address what to preach or how to worship, I have created a checklist to help as you plan worship. Ask yourself:
1. How can I honor God in worship? As we prepare to create a virtual worship experience, we should be careful not to work in competition with other ministries, but to share what God has uniquely gifted you and your team to share.
2. What is necessary for worship? Sometimes we find ourselves in a rut because our worship services have become mundane and we begin to assume that every element we normally use is necessary. Ask, “What is necessary for worship?’ Scripture reading, prayer, preaching, singing, what’s absolutely necessary? When you decide that, reconsider the order, the various ways of expressing the necessities and how they translate virtually.
3. Who will be in attendance? You may know the traditional demographics of your typical audience, but a virtual one is much more inclusive. Each personality and demographic will have a variety of concerns. Don’t create an experience that ignores demographics that may join you in worship. For better understanding of what to consider, watch this clip.
4. What are the current concerns of the world, country, state and community? People stumble upon our services from places we’ve never considered and cannot pronounce. Virtual worship doesn’t afford us the luxury of talking about things we chatted with our members about in counseling alone, but it takes research and understanding of things beyond us. A local focus is for a local audience. When deciding to share virtually, you have to consider and show concern for a global community that shares space in the world wide web.
5. Who speaks to the audience? Once you know your audience, decide who speaks best to that audience. A certain psalmist, spoken word artist or liturgical dancer, because of their demographic, experience or anointing may be tailormade for a particular worship service.
6. Who speaks to the concerns? There may be people who can speak to the concerns of the world in ways we are not equipped, like a doctor to speak to the specifics of COVID 19, an activist or social worker to remind us of those who are considerably ignored and suffering greatly or a professor to share how we can help support students during this time. This is still worship. Showing concern for the disadvantaged is Biblical. And the acts of both listening and acting are holy. Don’t miss this in worship. Immediately after this time of sharing, you may consider prayer.
7. What learning styles am I neglecting? We often ignore the need to engage various learners or relegate it to the preaching moment instead of the entire worship service. Don’t forget styles that aren’t supported in your preaching can be engaged during other parts of worship while still supporting the theme.
8. How can my participation honor God? Whatever you are doing to plan worship, know that it makes you an integral part of the experience. Don’t take any role in participating for granted and don’t ever forget that it’s ministry. Whether you’re the accountant setting the budget, the person who will share with the children during story time or the virtual hospitality servant, be prayerful, be holy and be grateful. It is an honor to minister to people and it is treasured by those in need.
9. Is this a full worship experience without preaching? I know it sounds weird but if your worship experience is full or whole without a sermon, you have planned well. Everything cannot rise and set on the preacher. Preachers have bad days; preachers can be disconnected, and the sermon should always be supported by other aspects of worship.
10. Does this honor God? After all is said and done, ask yourself, one more time (prepared to give an honest answer), “Does this honor God?”