Category Archives: holiday

It’s the most wonderful time of the year?

It’s been on your calendar since January 1st. You knew it was coming. Every year it comes. You feel the impending rush of the “Yule-tide.”

Planning set lists in advance requires many worship leaders to start listening to Christmas songs in October, or earlier. So by the time December saunters in with its red and green, we tend to be all Christmas-ed out. Yet here we are with our annual chance to gift-wrap a few incarnation themed worship tunes for our merry congregations… but many of us just aren’t feeling “in the Christmas spirit.”

What do we do???

Let me start with an affirmation of your calling.  Leaders of worship are called to facilitate celebration, adoration and revelation.  Some of us sing. Some of us play instruments. All of us love Jesus.

No doubt you’ve heard the cliché line, “Remember the reason for the season.” It may seem rote and rehearsed by well-meaning followers of Christ, but don’t make the mistake of looking past this simple truth…

Jesus came! He came here! And for US! The doctrine of the incarnation should fuel our celebration of the “season” of Christmas.

There’s a principle that most student pastors know… (Go find your student pastor and take them to a nice lunch… Lord knows they need to eat something other than pizza and Dr. Pepper every once and awhile). At the heart of student ministry is the necessity of presence. Notice I said, “presence” not “presents.” Presence in the student ministry realm means that if you physically show up for a teenager, you are affirming who they are. They feel seen… known… loved. This is one of the many things that God accomplished by sending Jesus to us.

He came to us… onto our turf…. into our mess… to gift us the present of presence.  And by doing so we are seen, known and loved.

So here are 3 practical tips to navigate the holiday hustle around your church:

  1. Reread the incarnation story through a celebratory lens.
    • Matthew 1, Luke 2
  2. Make a list of ways that you have seen God work in the life and ministry of your church over the past year. (Enlist the help of your staff and team)
    • Choose worship songs that vocalize a response to the presence of God at work in and through your church.
  3. Listen to “non-Christmas” worship songs.
    • Utilize worship songs that have incarnational language in addition to the standard Christmas hymns to fully paint a picture of the work of God through the coming of Christ Jesus.

This Christmas season, resist the lure of working Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” into your setlists and instead focus of songs that tell the story of Jesus coming for us…

To see us…
To know us…
To love us!

Jesus came!

Clint Hudson

 

About the author:

Clint Hudson is a worship pastor, songwriter and touring artist/speaker. He has collaborated with artist and musicians from a wide variety of styles and backgrounds. He is the founder of 12th Man Ministries, an organization that focuses on helping professional and student athletes understand that their true identity is found in more than their athletic performance.  For more information, please take the time to visit www.12thmanministries.org.

Merry Christmas

Christmas Card

 

2016 has been a crazy year for most of the world.  But our Lord is unchanging and provides a constant source of hope and love, despite the circumstances. We know many of you work hard during this (and every) season to reflect that constant hope and love at your church and in your community. Our prayer this Christmas is that you will experience the hope and love of Jesus, not just by being a reflection of Him, but by encountering Him.  And I think I speak for all parishioners around the world in saying: Thank you for being the light of Jesus!

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.

-tom and the worshipplanning.com team

Truly Full of Thanks

Gears Meshing

This past year has been incredible, and unlike any other year in my 40+ on this earth.  As some of you know, early this year I chose to follow a crystal-clear calling of God to leave my full time job and really pour my efforts into WorshipPlanning.com.  Helping churches though WorshipPlanning.com has been a passion of mine since it was first launched over 13 years ago.  But not until February 17th of this year had I felt led to step out of the boat, among the wind and waves, and walk toward Jesus in this manner.

Since then, not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on that decision.  And the reason is, I am so incredibly thankful, everyday, for this opportunity God has given me.  The road hasn’t been straight, easy, and worry-free.  But one thing is for sure: This is exactly where I am supposed to be, right now.  Knowing this feels amazing, and can be described with an illustration of gears.  When gears mesh correctly, the system is in sync and movement progresses as it should.  The gears may be working hard, but they are working together.

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for God providing the opportunity to serve Him in this capacity, and allowing me to hear his voice along the way.  I’m also very thankful for the many wonderful people that God used to provide encouragement.  This includes my courageous family, the incredible people here at WorshipPlanning.com, the amazing ministries and churches that we serve, and my F3Nation brothers that offer perpetual encouragement and accountability.

I sincerely hope you and your family have an blessed Thanksgiving, and a spirit-filled holiday season.

-tom

Happy New Year!

happy new year

As we enter 2016, the following prayer by Rev. Billy Graham seems appropriate:

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

Read the entire prayer at BillyGraham.org

Seasons Greetings!

worshipplanning christmas 2015

Worship leaders and team members, we know that Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for you. We pray that in the midst of the busyness, you can find a moment to breathe and meditate on His Word and sit in His presence. In the midst of working hard and serving selflessly, may you rest in His peace. May you find a moment to reflect back on His faithfulness in 2015 and look forward to all that He has in store for the New Year!

Merry Christmas from all of us here at WorshpPlanning.com!

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