Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

Planning for the worship experience during the Christmas Spectacular began back in July of 2012. Trent had a couple of brainstorming meetings about songs with the creative team. Unfortunately, since the worship experience was so seamlessly integrated into a variety show, it required the whole creative team to put it together. And they were working without a creative arts pastor until November. So even though the planning started early, it was difficult to decide anything too concrete until November.

Once Marty Taylor, their new creative director, came on staff, they were able to start some serious planning and came quickly to what they did during the Christmas Spectacular.

When they chose songs, they chose for the front and back of the experience separately. Their intentions in the two places were very different.

At the front of the experience, their goal was to entertain and inspire. It was a show. It was a big production.

They kept the musical selections in this front half of the experience very broad. They opened with a lot of auxiliary percussion (55 gallon drums). They wanted to open up the experience with wow and awe. Then they went into a rockabilly song that made the whole experience feel like a party. They moved to a Dubstep number with a dance crew from out of town. Then finally, they performed a more tender, traditional Celtic carol. It was all over the place by design, and it left a lot of room for creativity in the planning.

At the back of the experience though, they wanted to bring people along in corporate worship. And that?s really difficult to do with Christmas carols, because they tend to be story based and about Christ instead of songs directed toward Jesus. They had to be very intentional to choose songs that allowed people to connect with God in a personal way.

This year, folks will be coming to your church for the first time and perhaps the only time. Many won?t have any experience with church at all. So how are you going to reach those people, but not just leave them there? How will you move complete strangers to a meaningful connection with God? It?s difficult. But not entirely impossible.

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