Non-Verbal Elements of Worship

I wrote about verbal elements of worship last Tuesday.  Verbal Elements of Worship.  There are elements of worship we may not think about, or attach much importance to. This post is about those non-verbal elements of a worship service.  They may seem small and insignificant, but they carry a tremendous potential impact.

The bulletin–This was probabbly the first no-verbal element most of you thought about.  The bulletin is the most obvious.  The bulletin does not have to be flashy.  It needs to be well done.  The right song numbers for the congregational singing, the right, the order you intend to follow, the correct spelling of every word, and correct design basics all come together to make a professional presentation communicate an attitude of care to anyone who visits.  Visitors may not specifically reference a well prepared bulletin, but if the bulletin looks like a monkey put it together, it will be a distraction.  I worked with a church secretary who left the “r” out of the word “pantry” in a bulletin.  Can you guess what the congregation remembered from that worship service for the next three weeks?  We want others to remember our worship and our interpretation of God’s word.  We don’t want them to remember a sloppy bulletin.

The seating:  What do I mean by seating?  I mean watching where visitors sit and subtly directing other church members to go sit with them.  I try not to let anyone sit alone during our services.  My church members are always willing to sit next to or behinds a visitor.  

The condition of the worship space:  There are some churches who cannot renovation to deteriorating facilities, but everyone can afford a decluttered and organized space. Again, this shows that we care about about our church and are not lazy.  

The pace of the service:  There are some worship services that are just awkward.  That’s because the leaders take their sweet time with all the elements of the service.  The silent space is very awkward.  Very few visitors will return to a church with an awkward service.

Facial Expressions:  This one does not need much explanation.  What does your facial expression and body language communicate about your church?  What do they communicate about your God?  How many visitors have been turned away from your church because of poor facial expressions?  Poor facial expressions communicate poor faith.  This is not superficial problem however, it is a soul problem.   

Room Temperature:  Thermostat settings are the bane of pastor’s everywhere.  The temperature should be kept at a consistently comfortable setting.  You might say, but Bro. Tony, I can’t control the thermostat.  The pastor who does not have authority over the thermostat settings is a pastor who does not have authority over anything else.  

That’s my list of non-verbal worship elements.  Some of them may seem petty and unimportant, but we may only get one chance to make an impression on a visitor.  Careful attention to these seemingly insignificant gives others more information about your church than you think, and you don’t have a certain number in attendance to Pusey excellence in your worship service.


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