1. Home
  2. Guides
  3. Planning a Worship Service

Planning a Worship Service

Helpful Resources


Planning Center Online

Thinking About Worship Planning

The resources listed below are generally very helpful. However, as with any external website we cannot guarantee that we affirm every doctrine or practice they affirm.

How to Plan a Worship Service

(We intend to fill this out more, but here are a few notes for planning a worship service.)

A Faithful Worship Leader

A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory.

Bob Kauflin in Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God (Available Here)


A well-planned worship service begins with fully focused attention. Set aside time for planning (often 40-75 minutes), and work in a space where you’ll be able to focus on the hearing from the Holy Spirit in a generally un-distracting environment.


Worship planning should be worshipful. This begins and ends with prayer. Prayer expresses our dependence on the Lord for all of our ministry efforts. It also sensitizes our heart to the voice of the Lord through His Word.


Read the passage for the service you are planning. This is usually found in Planning Center under the bold series title.

Depending on the length of the passage, read it several times. And force yourself to read it slowly — especially if it’s a passage you’re familiar with.

Read in context

God’s Word to us is contextual, which means we want to be aware of what is immediately before and after the text we’re studying (immediate context) as well as the broad context (the genre (type of literature) of the book as a whole).


Are you planning a service for our Sunday morning gathering? Think about who will be there. (Old, young, Christians, non-Christians*, mature believers, new believers.)

*Only Christians worship God. However, in our planning we want to be guest-friendly, meaning that we want to explain words that are most often familiar to Christians. It is helpful and loving to insert cues to help those unfamiliar with “what we do” or “the way we do things.”


Watch Planning Meetings by Bob Kauflin (Session 6 in the Worship Matters Video Intensive). Download transcript here.

In this video, he talks about how to:

  • Plan Thematically
  • Plan Progressively
  • Plan Contextually
  • Plan Creatively

Think about transitions

How we get from one point of our service to the next is hugely important, and there are many ways to accomplish this.

Rather than simply doing “element 1” and then doing “element 2,” we can skillfully take people on a guided journey. This will deeply enrich their experience and understanding of what we are doing as we worship God together.

Putting it in Planning Center

Login & Find Service

Login to Planning Center Services

Find the service date you’ll be planning (within the Sunday Services section)

Click on the appropriate date

Edit Template

Services will usually already be established using our template

Hover your mouse over the service element you want to update

Rearranging the order

Hover over the title and when your cursor changes to four arrows drag and drop to re-order.

Edit a service element

Hover on the title of the element

Click the pencil

Type the title, add a description, assign the people (note, if you’re adding a song read next section, Link a Song)

Click Accept (or click the previous/next links (bottom-left) to advance through the elements sequentially

Once in the editing item dialog/section, find the Linked Song section in the right column.

Click Link a Song

Find song in database and click the title (song is now linked)

Set the arrangement in the right column

Add the length of the song arrangement you’re planning (approximation)

Add other necessary details

When finished click Accept

Adding a New Song?

If you’re adding a song that is not in our database yet, see this article.

Planning Center Help Site

More questions? See the PCO support site here.

Updated on January 17, 2019

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave a Comment