Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Visit to a Lutheran Contemporary Service – 2nd Sunday after Christmas

As I was wondering about where I would go to church yesterday, I decided to check the offerings of the churches in the neighborhood. The local Lutheran church had a contemporary service and I decided to see how our ecumenical siblings do that. I would go again - it was well done and gave me some new ideas. 

Order of Worship (70 minutes total) – screens, no bulletin
            1 Praise and Worship song
            1 Christmas hymn
            Opening Prayer
            1 Christmas hymn
            “Noisy” Offering for local outreach with video
            Gospel reading & Sermon (25 minutes)
            Gospel Reflection by Worship Leader while children brought in
            1 Christmas hymn
            Communion & Peace (Music by band – no communal singing)
            Offering with Video
            Closing Prayer
            Closing Christmas hymn

            I arrived at 10:20 for 10:30 service – did not park in visitor parking. An usher at the door of sanctuary greeted me. I was told worship band was still rehearsing and they didn’t usually open the doors until 10:30, but that I could go on in. I was glad of that because I would have been more uncomfortable standing alone in the narthex than sitting alone in a pew. There were about ten people already in the space – other visitors who do not know the norm? The worship band worked out kinks until 10:28 when the ushers asked if they could open the doors. A 5-minute countdown clock started on the screen as people came into the space. Service began about 10:35.
            I loved the idea of the “Noisy” offering for local outreach. Metal buckets were passed – maybe painted by youth? – people shook them playfully as they passed the buckets to make noise. The emphasis was for noisy money, but there was silent money in there also. I was slightly concerned that it was the regular offering also, and maybe I had missed my chance to drop in the check I had remembered to complete at home. 
            The Peace was at the end of the words of institution and after the communion instruction (which was very clear and well done). The regular offering followed communion and a video was shown for a Financial Peace University class starting in January.

            Afterwards, I walked to my car. The pastor was a member there, but not on staff. The usual pastor was on vacation.