Back again with more of “what worked” at Bethel Bible. Most of us do a good bit of year-end analysis about our worship ministry. As I’ve been thinking about it, there are three things that have yielded a surprising amount of benefit and encouragement for our team.
One recurring problem at Bethel has been rushed communion. For years, we’ve always put the communion at the end of the service. This is standard practice for lots of churches, but it always seemed like our service was so rushed at the end. Maybe the sermon went long or we add a testimony or used a video – with two services, any change gave the communion at the end a hurried – and harried – feel. We didn’t intend it, but it happened.
At some point early in 2012, we moved communion into what we call the “worship block,” or better yet, the “singing time.” Originally, we did it to make room for some other end-of-service element, but we were glad to do it. (We would tell our people every week that communion was a part of our worship of God…why not expand it and intentionally make it a part of our corporate worship?)
From the very first time, we got nothing but compliments. People appreciated that we were working hard to make communion a priority among our people. It’s become such a natural, good part of our service, I doubt we’ll ever go back! Now, to some specifics…
- I am fortunate to work in a church that’s fine with me leading the communion portion of the service. I realize some denominations have rules about who can or can’t administer the communion service, but if you’re able to do it, I urge you to try it. It will cause you to add a whole new dynamic to your worship leading – namely, speaking clearly and confidently about theology! We all need more of that! However, if your church prefers someone else to do the service, get them engaged and involved to be a part of the worship set. (In 2013, I’m handing communion duties to our Family Pastor. It’ll be nice change of tone and pace for us.)
- If you are leading it, you’ll need to give your band clear direction on when and what you’re speaking. You won’t have time to administer scripture and prayer and cue the band on dynamics. Work it out ahead of time!
- You’ll probably have to cut a song. I still don’t understand worship leaders who are unwilling to alter their songlists at the request of their pastor. Moving communion into your songset may mean doing one less song, but that’s okay! You’re humbling yourself AND adding a component to your service that will significantly bless your people. You do want people to be blessed, right?
- Don’t make it up. Go to time-tested liturgy resources for prayers, readings and scriptures. Not only does utilize stuff that’s worked for hundreds of years – it ensures you’ll speak clearly and confidently instead of stumbling through some modernized explanation with dozens of “…um”s.
What about you? How does your church do communion?