Worship Planning Tools

One of the never ending searches that I am engaged in is the search for a comprehensive worship planning tool, ultimately something online that is accessible by a variety of people. I have wandered through the web again and again, trying out option after option, only to discover that none of them quite meets my needs. There are some good tools available, but none really offer a space for creatively creating worship experiences in a variety of traditions.

At the most basic level, the tools for planning a worship service are simple. One needs a database which contains a calendar of service dates and times, a place to name an overall theme for the service, the scripture that the service will focus, and storage for the other liturgical elements — songs, hymns, prayers, etc. Ideally, it should allow for a display of this information in some sort of visual matrix so that one can get a sense of what is happening over time.

The problem with most online services is that they tend to focus solely on contemporary worship, and are as much scheduling tools and resources to assist in creating unique experiences. So, what I find most often is that I go back to the same basic tool — a simple spreadsheet created in Google Docs which is then shared with our planning team.

Worship Planning Spreadsheet
Worship Planning Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet is very simple, and includes the date, a listing of special evens in the service, the scripture fucsion, the sermon title or theme, who the lay readers are, notes on special things in the service, and given our context, a listing of the Titan’s home games, which affect our worship attendance. It’s very simple but very functional, and I use the color coding to identify past weeks, sermon series, and special seasons.

The online services that are designed to assist with worship planning have one drawback for my church — there is a cost involved that we can’t afford to pay — so we generally use the basic “free” versions of these services. These services allow one to create a template of the typical worship service, to insert hymns or songs in the service from their database of collected songs, and to manage the worship team schedule more efficiently. However, in the end most of them are simply focused on filling the slots of a template with elements, and none of these services is particularly creative or collaborative in helping folks to share worship ideas.

So, what tools do you use in planning and organizing your worship services? Are their specific web sites that you think are helpful, or are you floundering as I am? What would the ideal worship planning site look like in your opinion?

4 thoughts on “Worship Planning Tools

  1. I, too, use Excel. I don’t use it in the same way, but I use it to keep a list of songs, both songs used congregationally and for our choir (separately), with title, location (hymnal, book, CCLI, or other), key, dates we’ve already done the song, CCLI # if applicable. It’s something I actually “inherited” from a friend who was our previous worship leader. It’s been an excellent help!

    I also use templates for planning each service in the layout that we most often use, and the same goes for choir rehearsal notes as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Very cool post here Technopastor and very insightful. At WorshipKitchen we set out to be a useful tool to worship leaders and I hope we can be to most. Our model will not fit everyone, but we are adding some cool features for more traditional services. We are even planning to integrate the lectionary, for those churches that use it. The planning side of WorshipKitchen is actaully dated although we just rolled it out. It has been alive and working for many years in Lincoln Brewster’s church where it was developed to help him day in and day out to organize his services and team members. Excel sheets can be very intuitive and revolve specifically around your needs, and Google docs has really made a case for these in worship planning. It sounds like the worship leader who already left a comment uses one as well. I hope you find the the right tool. Great post here and very helpful. If you would like to try our planner out, just let me know and I’ll give you a few months free to check it out. You can hit me up at chef@worshipkitchen.com

  3. The week to your worship planning spreadsheet is no longer available. Would you be so kind as to send me a link? Thanks you!

  4. I know this was from over a year ago, but I would love to see the spreadsheet Could you repost it or email it to me? The link in the blog doesn’t work. THANK YOU!

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