How to lead a church service?

In the weeks to come I want to train the actual and future ministers of Buna Vestirea Church to lead a church service. I thought it would be good to share my advice with you so that ministers of other churches can benefit from it, if they find it useful.

Cum sa conduci un serviciu divin

The apostle Paul wrote some important principles to the Christians in Corinth about the order of the church service. It was respected in all the churches planted by him and it was the following:

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.  If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.(1 Corinthians14:26-40)

This text points out to some…

Important principles

that each pastor and minister should know and use as a guideline when he leads a church service. Here they are:

  • All messages, songs, testimonies, translations etc must be done for the edification of saints and the spreading of the Gospel. If something doesn’t meet this goal or diverts from it, it won’t be included in the program.
  • The number of speakers must be limited, in case they are many.
  • They must speak in turns, not all at the same time
  • If someone speaks a foreign language, he must speak only if there is an interpreter, otherwise the message will not be understood and will not bring edification.
  • The elders and the leaders of the church must listen carefully to the message and in case it doesn’t bring edification or brings a danger with it, they must intervene and stop it.
  • The messages transmitted through the sermons, testimonies and songs must bring teaching and encouragement.
  • God does not favor disorder, meaning the lack of order and good organization of the service. If there is such a problem, the assembly won’t be peaceful because people who are involved in the organization will get upset along with people in the assembly.
  • It is improper for someone to interfere with the program(it is written about women in the text, but refers to men as well). One cannot say anything during the program and disturb the audience and the good course of the service. It’s something shameful and he must be stopped from doing it.
  • If someone has certain questions, he must address them at the right time and to the right person, not during the church service. There is a rule in some churches where all those who have questions stay after the service and get answers.
  • All things in the assembly of the saints must be done properly and in an orderly manner.

And now here is some …

Practical advice:

  1. Make a draft of the church service including all the speakers, singers and songs and psalms that will be sung so that they all contribute to the edification of the saints and the transmission and intensification of one message.
  2. Show your draft to your senior pastor, before talking to each speaker and singer individually.
  3. Plan the church service in a way that reflects the recent activity of the church members and the most important recent events.
  4. Make sure that the events to follow and the ministry needs will be well presented so that the saints can get involved. If the senior pastor makes the announcements, make sure you gave him all the information about all the events and ministries.
  5. Check the prayer and thanksgiving list that will be presented to the church by another person who will lead the prayer time of the service, and if needed, make the necessary corrections.
  6. Establish the order of the speakers, the songs etc and the time-limit for each activity. Tell everyone involved in the service about the time he has.
  7. Make copies of the program and give them to the key people involved in the church service so that they consult it every time they need and do not deviate from it.
  8. Invite all the speakers and singers into the pastor’s office 15 minutes before the service to remind them about the program order and pray for a good service.
  9. When you lead the service, introduce the speakers only on their first visit to the church or if they are guests, or if it’s really necessary to introduce them. Limit you presentations and introductions, don’t make them short sermons. Don’t take over the role of the preacher unless you preach at that service and do not use other time besides the one allotted to you.
  10. May God help us keep good order in the church through our ministry so that all the gifts and all the people involved will bring edification, teaching and encouragement to the Church of Christ.