This post is for worship leaders and planners.

Imagine this … it’s Friday, the weekend services are planned, the music charts and arrangements ready, the media slides prepared. You can relax and chill.

But then, disaster strikes. No, not the kind that inconveniences you , like the drummer cancels or your hard drive crashes. Its a major tragedy, a death, a catastrophic local or world calamity, something of such magnitude that you would be remiss to ignore it. Should this event change your worship plan? My answer – maybe, it depends.

When is it right to change plans?

Deciding to do anything “off plan” is going to be a judgment call requiring wisdom and discernment. This past weekend, for example, I had originally planned on making “Happy Day” the first song. As I watched the images of the Japan earthquake, a happy-clappy call to worship seemed a ludicrous opener. The weight and impact of the world situation called for something more focused on declaring God’s sovereignty over natural events.

My ministry philosophy is to facilitate wholehearted worship, not escapist put-on-a-happy-face worship. There are times when we need to be pastorally sensitive to the mindset of our people and honestly address the tragedies at hand. However,  that does not mean we constantly shift here and there, always letting the news change our plans. Many times the best response is to just stay the course. Let wisdom and some common sense rule.

What to say? The Psalms are a good model.

The Psalms of lament (13, 51, 69, 38, 41, 71, 88 and others) give us structure and language when we don’t know what to say.

  1. First, we call on the Lord.
  2. We bring him the issue with frank honesty.
  3. We ask for his help in specific ways.
  4. We conclude by expressing hope, trust and confidence in His ability and desire to respond.

David’s songs were testimonies of his confidence in God.  Their message in essence, life is hard, but God is good.

In worship, we give people language to express truth.

So we substituted “God of Wonders”, I felt the lyrics “Lord of all creation, of water earth and sky ..” helped give us words to focus on God’s sovereignty over nature. We also subbed in “Your Love Never Fails” because it expresses confidence in God’s love “You make all things work together for my good”

The purpose of this blog is to encourage wholehearted worship worldwide.

What about you? Have you changed your worship plan because of some significant event? I’d love to see your comments or thoughts on this.