Worship Planning (and other) Forms

Music and worship ministry is filled with recurring tasks. If there were only rehearsals and worship, life would be simpler. But there is music to review (Creator can help there, of course); choirs, ensembles, and soloists to schedule; sermon content to impute; and more.

One way to make repetitive tasks easier is to use “fill-in-the-blank” forms, which can be photocopied, passed around, and stored, perhaps in a 3 ring binder. What follows are a number of these forms. To  use them, simply make master copies, and run off extras as you need them. All the forms are “public domain” so use or modify them for your own ministry needs with our blessings. If you have a “paperless” office, store them on a computer, scan the example forms into a program like PagemakerTM and place them on your network. I am indebted to Doug Lawrence, Minister of Worship and Music Emeritus at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, California, and Mark Thallander, former Director of Music and Organist at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California, for the inspiration and/or samples of these forms.

However you store the information, it should allow for the quick retrieval of the “perfect” anthem when the pastor calls and says “I’m thinking about preaching on the seven churches of Revelation,” or when you get a phone call that your tenor soloist has just come down with the mumps.

The Forms

  • Worship Planning Sheet
    This form goes to the preaching pastor, and should be filled out early enough that adequate planning can result. Eight weeks ahead of worship seems to be about right. For a copy of this form, click here.
  • Nine Week Worship Review
    This  form goes to all parties involved in making worship work—for instance choir and/or worship band members, pastors, readers, and order of worship typists—for advance planning. For a copy of this form, click here
  • Choir Repertoire Sheet
    This form is just the place to keep a record of all the music scheduled for the year. It is a handy way for a music librarian to get folders of music organized, either by date of use or alphabetically. For a copy of this form, click here.
  • Cue Sheet
    With the advancements in the areas of lights and sound, churches these days sometimes seem to resemble a theater—once in a while even a movie set or television studio. The result is that sometimes the success or failure of a worship service is in the hands of a technician (or two). Rather than leave anything to chance, why not have a “cue sheet” for the techies so that the service moves as smoothly as possible. In its most simple manifestation, the cue sheet can simply be the worship order with notations as to sound and light “head’s up.” At the other extreme, some churches produce a detailed “script” for each of their services, including staging instructions for anyone who moves about on the worship platform. Here is a sample of a cue sheet, along with a blank one. Between the time that the service is finalized structurally, and the opening of the sanctuary before the service happens, someone, most probably the minister of music or worship, can fill in the blanks according to the “action” in the service. This is a form that can be circulated widely, so that everyone is “in the know.” If you find that using the cue sheet is still not enough to make worship run smoothly, consider having a “tech rehearsal” run through with the crew. For a copy of this form, click here.
  • Solo Schedule Worksheet
    To  make use of this form, simply keep it nearby when you are plowing through those tapes from publishers and dealers. You might want to keep a copy close at hand when you are doing your own personal listening as well, but be sure to satisfy all the copyright legalities before making your own arrangements from a favorite CD recording. As you find titles that might work, simply jot them down on this form. When the time comes to schedule a solo, simply check the accumulated forms. What could be simpler? Remember that a schedule sheet is still not enough to make worship run smoothly. Solos can be a lightening rod for a variety of issues. Don’t depend upon luck to ensure that the best run through is during worship. Instead, it is wise to “audition” solos in order to pre-screen them for appropriateness. And especially if the soloist is using trax, it is probably best to have a “tech rehearsal” run through with the sound (and light) crew. For a copy of this form, click here.

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