Planning and Preparation


Over the last four years at Cornerstone, we have not developed a reputation for planning our services.  We typically showed up on Sunday morning and hoped everything would fall into place.  Most weeks it did, although the stress level was through the roof when the unexpected happened.  I have heard numerous times that we should just let the Holy Spirit lead, and not worry about how everything comes together. But my question was always, do we honor God with our lack of preparedness?

With the addition of our Saturday night service and a second band, it became increasingly difficult to coordinate everything happening in the service. How many songs is the band playing? What song should we use for the response time? Who is doing announcements? What videos are we playing? All these questions and more were asked every week. The other problem was for the band. They needed the ability to share chord charts and songs and even schedule who was playing each week. Based on the recommendations of several churches, we decided to give PlanningCenterOnline a try.

We’re two months in, and I’m loving the service. We haven’t got all our songs into the system yet, but the potential is great. We are printing out a service plan each week for our band, speakers, and audio/video operators. I am even thinking about expanding the use of it to schedule children’s workers and greeters each week. You can check out the video below to find out more.

And finally, the Holy Spirit can move just as much when we plan earlier in the week. Let’s not use the Holy Spirit as an excuse for our own unwillingness to plan and prepare. The schedules are still just a guideline.  In a few cases we have changed up the service as we go because we did feel God leading us to do things differently.  But because the plan was in place, the stress and craziness has been drastically reduced.

Introducing Planning Center Online from Planning Center on Vimeo.


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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