Even more ideas for things to do

during a dull worship time

by Andrew Sutton & Paul Williamson updated 14.12.02

11 The Top Ten
Create a top ten of Things you should never say when leading in worship For example:
1 …and it goes something… like this
2 Those of you with tambourines: try to keep up
3 Let's sing this song with gusto, as if we really meant it
4 I just broke my G-string (for guitarists)
5 Once more for luck
6 Let's stand to sing You Sat Down
7 Remain seated while we sing Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
8 Just the ladies (or just the Capricorns; just the Old Folk;
just the virgins; just the Anglo-Saxons; just the Welcome Team;
just the elders; just those receiving counselling etc)
9 Ha ha; we didn't really have time to teach the band this one, but let's have a go at it anyway
10 Let's sing Shine Jesus Shine

12 Puzzle Time
Join up all the dots and argyle diamonds on the jumpers of your worship musicians and singers, and try to make a picture of your favourite heavenly configuration. Last week, during Let it Rain our singers made a perfect Constellation of Aquarius. Spooky or what?

13 Fruit of the Spirit
As a colourful variation on raising hands in worship, have one item of fruit secreted in each pocket, and at an appropriate point hold them up. Vary the fruit each week. If challenged, explain
a) it's symbolic,
b) it's prophetic, or
c) you thought it was Harvest Festival.

14 Take the Lead
Many will know about the over-excited member of one congregation who spontaneously started a slow, worshipful rendition of He'll be coming round the mountain when He comes, and got as far as singing ay, ay, ippy ippy ay before he was rumbled.
You could follow his example with your own spontaneous song to a familiar tune.
Lord, You are full of grace, Lord You are full of truth,
Lord You are full of love, All on a Saturday night

to the tune of Here we go looby lou.
Lord, You are merciful
to the tune of ta rah rah boom di-ay.
Or even
You're the King of kings,
You're the Lord of heaven and earth
For you give us songs
That make us glad for our new birth
So we bow the knee
And we dance and sing with glee
As we thank our God
With a hula melody

to the tune of Agadoo.
See how many people join in. Remember, keep it nice and slow, and no one may notice.

15 Countdown
Work out amusing anagrams from the names of worship leaders. Here's a few to get you started: (answers below the archive, but don't peek until you've had a go)



H MIGHT SUE                    I LASH ME

archive items:

1 Two-Four Clapping
Try to clap when the drummer hits the snare (technically known as the off-beat or back beat), rather than when the rest of the dozy congregation are clapping.

2 Practice different (some say alternative) clapping styles:
a) the 'two fingers into the palm' nancy-boy
b) the 'palm-to-palm superslap' with extra-long backswings
c) the 'my hands are like an easily transportable conga drum' rapid fire
d) the slightly cupped 'thunderer'
e) the 'I've been on these live albums before' non-contact mime

3 Digit Bass
Using your toes, try to follow the organist's bass pedals. Play along with him inside your shoes.

No-one need ever know. It'll just be your little secret, between you and the Lord himself alone. Be careful to keep your balance, as falling over for no obvious reason is a bit of a give-away.

4 Praise Bingo
Deal out bingo cards to everyone in your pew/row, and when hymn numbers or song numbers are announced, cross them off the card. The first to complete their card shouts 'God's in the House!'

5 Unhelpful Scriptures
Enliven the worship session (or 'time of open', as some churches call them) with readings from carefully-selected scriptures. For example, anything about mildew would be nice, or perhaps a record of wealth in terms of cattle and sheep.

Or you could read a verse or two and then share a helpful application. Try reading the passage about Ballam and his donkey, concluding with a helpful prayer along the lines of 'Oh Lord, please help me to hear you speaking out of my Ass, too.'

6 Re-Index
Most hymn books and chorus books are arranged either in alphabetical order (to make them easy to find if someone starts one off without announcing the number) or in a relatively arbitrary way under such topics as Christmas, God the Father, Harvest, etc. Consider, if you will, how much more helpful it would be if there were other indices or appendices to really help the worship leader choose songs for the meeting.

What about a listing by body parts, where all the songs mentioning hands are put together (eg I lift my hands to the coming King; When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my hands I shall clap as David clapped; He's got the whole world in His hands)?

Then try all the ones about feet (How lovely on the mountains are the feet of them who bring good news; We are walking We are walking, We are walking We are walking, We are walking in the light of God; and the classic WI meet opener Jerusalem - you know, And did those feet...).

Tongues (My tongue shall be the pen of a ready writer; O for a thousand tongues; Kiss me, honey honey, kiss me).

And then the ones about other organs (hearts, er… etc, probably).

Or you could index by instructions: sit; stand; clap; faint; praise; pant; sing; dance; look. Or why not list the songs by their musical key, which would give musicians the chance to segue from one to another without fear. A subdivision of this could be to group songs according to the time signature and speed, to avoid too much awkwardness.

It would be genuinely helpful to have an index listing songs by the scriptures inspiring them. Then preachers could choose suitable songs for the end of the meeting much more easily, rather than constantly falling back on Guide me O thou Great Redeemer or Majesty every week. It would be fascinating to see how many songs would have to go into a category labelled Not scripturally inspired.

Or what about songs listed by nationality of author? Or by record label? Or by intensity of emotion - statement of fact, expression of pleasure, declaration of love, ecstatic utterance. Or by Ones We Know We've Got in the Overhead Projector Acetate Box.

7 Inflationary Language for Hymns
The marvellous pianist and entertainer Victor Borge invented the inflationary language, where words containing numbers are subject to a plus-one increase. We thought we'd apply this to some well-known worship songs, such as:
Father God I twoder
O Lord, your elevenderness, melting all my bitterness
Gr9 is the Lord and most worthy of praise
Come let us sing five joy three the Lord
Oh for a thousand and one tongues to sing
Holy holy holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to thee, Only thou art holy, twoderful and mighty, God in four persons blessed Quadity.

And our personal favourite
Ah Lord God, thou hast made the heavens
and the earth by thy grnine power,
Ah Lord God, thou hast made the heavens
and the earth by thine outstretched arm.
One is three difficult five thee, one is three difficult five thee,
Oh grnine and mighty God, Grnine in counsel and mighty in deed, One, one, absolutely one, one is three difficult five Thee

8 Puzzler
Guess the weight of the flutist

9 In the Rack
Invent CD titles for worship albums by musicians in the band. For example, I knew a young man named Nigel who regularly accompanied the worship with an accordian. Two of his CD releases could have been
The Gospel Accordian to Nigel and
Squeezin' for Jesus

Doubtless there are all sorts of variations on this theme:
You and Me and Jesus and My Trombone
Give Praise to the Lord Upon the Roland RD300S
Hallelujah Harmonica
Yiddish Favourites played on the Jews Harp

or what about this collection of releases:
Twinklin' for the Trinity
Strummin' for the Saviour
Pluckin' with the Paraclete
Hummin' our way to Heaven

10 Leading from within
Turn every song into a full-blooded antiphonal experience by anticipating each line with some remark or reminder.

For example, using the chorus He is Lord:

Who is Lord? He is Lord
Who did you say? He is Lord
And what has He done? He has risen from the dead and He is Lord
What'll we do? Every knee shall bow
And what'll we say? Every tongue confess
Tell me again! That Jesus Christ is Lord

Answers to Countdown:


Dave Fellingham


Graham Kendrick


Kate Simmonds


Matt Redman

H MIGHT SUE  Tim Hughes

I LASH ME (Ishmael)



© 2002 Andrew Sutton & Paul Williamson