Behind the Curtain: My Platform Notes

A while back, I tweeted about my preparation for our Morning Worship service…!/jonwellman/status/87500217091497985

For the majority of the services, I rely on Lifeway‘s Worship Hymnal. It is one of the most comprehensive collections of modern Christian music, along with a selection of hymns and choruses commonly used today. The arrangements, for the most part, are well written, and there is access to multiple orchestra parts in PDF format.

The Planning Edition of the Worship Hymnal is an awesome resource. Not only does it provide lyrics and keys for all the songs in the collection, but it includes scripture references and indices for themes, worship perspective, and key transitions. As I develop an order of worship, I study the scriptural inspirations for the songs, and seek ways to connect songs scripturally, lyrically, thematically, and tonally.

One way I keep my thoughts together is through what I call platform notes. This is a technique that has developed over time.

My former pastor, Derek Holmes, once showed me how he prepares his sermon notes. He uses a small binder and prints his notes on half sheets of paper. I used this technique the first few times I was given the opportunity to preach.

I have since adapted this technique to fit my preferences. I dislike using a podium when I preach, so I configure my notes so that they fit in my Bible on one sheet of paper folded in half.

I use this half sheet technique when I lead worship. When possible, I lead without an instrument, as it allows more freedom of movement and connection the congregation. I carry my Bible with me, tuck my half sheet near the Psalms, and reference it throughout worship.

What’s on it?

  • Song order
  • Pertinent scripture references
  • Key words / ideas
  • Band cues
  • Tech / video cues

All on one easy to reference page.

If I’m able to prepare them early in the week, I do so. I like having Sunday’s setlist and corresponding scripture references with my throughout the week as I prepare and pray through the worship service.

Worship leaders: what is your “secret weapon” technique?