Don’t Underestimate Synergy in Worship Planning

By Nelson Searcy, Jason Hatley, and Jennifer Dykes Henson

I grew up in the early days of the internet. In my teenage years, I actually created and sold a small computer business. Before I met Jesus, I thought this kind of entrepreneurship was going to be my path in life.

During those days, one of my heroes was Andy Grove, the former chairman of Intel. I once heard Andy say something that stuck with me as I matured and left the business world for ministry: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” He couldn’t have been more right. You can’t underestimate the power of synergy—especially in your worship planning.

As the lead teaching pastor or the worship pastor in your church, you are ultimately responsible for the worship planning, but that doesn’t mean you have all the wisdom or that you are capable of doing things on your own. The idea of being able to create life-changing worship services alone is a fallacy. None of us is as smart as all of us. God put a team of staff and volunteers around you for a reason. He wants you to tap into the stores of resources they have to offer as you plan your teaching and worship.

Many teaching pastors I’ve worked with over the years don’t buy into this idea. They see message planning as something they are supposed to do alone in their office, something that is strictly between them and God. End of story.

Now don’t get me wrong. Your independent study and prayer time are critical to your message preparation. They are the genesis, if you will. God has given you authority and ultimate responsibility for connecting with him concerning what he wants you to translate to your people. But at the same time, it’s not all about you.

You have to acknowledge that God speaks to many other people on your team who can help expand your teaching exponentially. The same principle applies to the music and artistic elements in your service. Don’t be afraid to let other people speak into your area of expertise and offer ideas, illustrations, and different points of view. Your message, worship, and outreach will be stronger because of it. Never limit the sources of God’s inspiration.

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

You’ve probably heard the acrostic for TEAM: together everyone achieves more. Cliché though it is, it’s spot-on. I have a friend who put a slightly different spin on things by changing the last word to miracles. Together everyone achieves miracles.

That’s true at The Journey, and it will be true in your church if you are willing to invite other people into your planning process. As Pat MacMillan wrote in his great work on leadership, The Performance Factor, “Leadership today requires leaders who are able to tap into the resources of the group—leaders who can release the initiative and leadership in everyone.”1 As you learn to become that kind of leader, the previously untapped potential of your team will help take your worship planning to a whole new level. Teamwork makes the dream work.

This article is excerpted from Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services by Nelson Searcy, Jason Hatley, and Jennifer Dykes Henson. The book is published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (copyright 2011). Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.

Nelson Searcy, Jason Hatley, and Jennifer Dykes Henson

Nelson Searcy served as the director of The Purpose Driven Community at Saddleback Church before starting The Journey Church of the City in New York City in 2002. He and his 2,000-member church appear routinely on lists such as The 50 Most Influential Churches and The 25 Most Innovative Leaders. The Journey is a multi-site church with locations across New York City and Boca Raton, Florida. His newsletter for pastors and church leaders, Church Leader Insights, now reaches more than 80,000 subscribers and continues to grow by hundreds each month. Searcy lives in New York City. Jason Hatley is the pastor of worship arts at The Journey Church and has been a worship leader since 1996. Founder of www.WorshipLeader, Jason has spoken at the Willow Creek Arts Conference and The Purpose Driven Worship Conference, as well as seminars around the country. Currently, Jason serves at The Journey's newest location in Boca Raton, Florida. Jennifer Dykes Henson is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has served as a writer/producer and ministry consultant to organizations across the East Coast. Jennifer also worked with Dr. Charles Stanley as the manager of marketing communications for In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.