The Sunday Sample, Episode 109

I have been thinking about this year’s carol services for the Thames Valley churches of Christ and the Watford Church of Christ for several months. However, I sat down to write out a draft order of service more recently.

I’ll share with you what we are doing this year (you can access the TV service here, and the Watford service here), but I’d like to know what ideas you have.

Our format is based on the tried and tested template we’ve use for a few years now. A number of popular carols interspersed with readings by preteens and teenagers along with one or two newer songs.

The two Carol services I’m involved with this year in Thames Valley and Watford will be almost identical. Here are a few highlights.

* The song “He shall reign forevermore” by Chris Tomlin and Mat Maher. We learned it last year.
* In the Watford congregation when we sing “Away in a Manger” we’ll begin with one of our preteens, Leah, playing the tune on her flute whilst I’ll support her with my melodica.
* This year’s new song is “Midnight clear” by Richard Willis, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash and Jonas Myrin. One of the advantages of a song like this is that the tune of the verses will be familiar to many in the congregation. There’s only a chorus to learn. If you’re in a situation like mine, it’s hard to find the time to teach new songs. Learning one where either lyrics (like “He shall reign” referenced above) or tune are familiar keeps things fresh while not making learning a new song too demanding.
* We’ll also be performing for the second year in a row a song I wrote last year called “Bethlehem Carol”. Bethlehem Carol Sheet Music
* Communion will be taken whilst a three-part version of “Coventry Carol” arranged for keyboard and soloist is performed. Coventry Carol – Arranged for piano and solo
* The children will be performing something Christmassy, I’m assured by the children’s ministry people!

What are you aiming for with your carol service? I’m aiming for a mix of old and new, tradition and freshness which will have enough familiarity for people visiting our congregation along with some variety to spice up things for our long-time members. The involvement of the children seems to be particularly significant.

Could you post your entire carol service outline? It’d be helpful and even inspiring to see the different things we’re doing.

Here is Watford’s: Carols 19 OOS WATFORD

Here is Thames Valley’s: Carols 19 OOS TV

Question for today: “How to you balance the traditional and the fresh in your carol service?”

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John