Monday, September 29, 2008

Further key elements to services

As signalled in the previous post ... some thoughts about a family service attended on Sunday (yesterday), concentrating on 'key' elements which I think need to be present in every service, though the actual working out of these elements may vary from one type of service to another:

(1) Timing - in two senses: the service kept moving along, the leader assisting with a good sense of momentum and where we were heading; also, the service was completed in 50 minutes. So, no points of boredom, no anxiety that 'gosh this part seems interminable and there is lots yet to come ...'.

(2) Consistent message: the service was about Moses, and the Lord's message to Israel, and to us, that God is with us. Nothing in the songs, or prayers, or drama, or message deviated from that theme or imposed another theme on top of it.

(3) Comprehensive message: being a family service the leader/messenger rightly did not subject us to a long "adult" sermon; but the whole service was the message, so no adult should feel disappointed about the shortness of the part of the service designated as 'the talk'.

(4) Internal and external foci: the service was 'in house' in the sense that it conveyed the last term's worth of lessons in Sunday School, and 'showed off' (in the best sense) the work of the children, including a magnificent reproduction of the 'ark of the covenant', and its message was 'internal' to our faith journey, emphasising that 'God is with us' BUT there was a lovely external focus in the intercessions which took us to the trouble spots of the world - children suffering from tainted food in China, people suffering from the major bomb blast in Pakistan.

Well done!

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