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Many contemporary churches have moved from a traditional liturgical worship style to a praise and worship style. A liturgical worship service exhibits a more formal atmosphere with the pastor and choir leading most of the church service. In contrast, a praise and worship service creates a more informal and interactive atmosphere where the congregants are invited to participate in the service.
Order of Worship
Begin your praise and worship with a musical invitation. Your praise team could begin this tune and members of the congregation can join in. Follow the song with a short prayer and a welcome before returning to music. Include upbeat and joyful praise choruses, Scripture songs and traditional hymns. Slowly reduce the tempo from one song to the next until your music is more reverent and leading to prayer. Open the service for a congregational prayer time that allows people to pray in whatever manner feels most comfortable. Follow your prayer time with a short message and an offering. Close your service with music and a benediction.
A small team of praise singers with musical accompaniment works well in a praise and worship service. The praise team leads the congregation in singing. Some praise music has a call and response format -- the praise team members can divide the parts where one or two of the strongest voices lead the call and the rest of the team follows with the response. Praise teams willing to move to the music encourage the congregation to get up and interact with the music in sacred dance, lifting their hands in praise and openly worshipping God. The use of slides to project the music allows worshippers free hands and uplifted heads.
Prayer time in praise and worship services allows for interaction. Congregants could pray at the altar, kneeling, standing, sitting, in small groups or alone. Avoid limiting the prayer time, but allow it to come to a natural conclusion as members of the congregation finish their communication with God. Allow a group of trained prayer ministers to stand ready to pray with anyone who wants someone to pray for and with him. Otherwise, these volunteers may hold sacred space around the room by staying in a prayerful and worshipful attitude until the prayer time concludes.
A short sermon or Bible study could follow the music and prayer time. Bible studies with a question-and-answer format offer a more interactive style than most sermons. However, some congregations enjoy interactive sermons where the members clap or shout, "Amen," or where the pastor invites responses. A third option allows the minister to use drama or illustrative talks to encourage the congregation to tune in to the message. Time the message, in whatever format, to 15 minutes or less to keep the congregation's attention.
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