Location: Watford (Dunstable Downs) and Lower Earley
Special Occasion: outdoor service for the Watford church
We’re continuing our run of experimental services in the Watford church. This week saw us make an expedition to the Dunstable Downs. It’s a beautiful spot (highest in Bedfordshire) and gives views of the three counties of Bucks, Herts and Beds. A wonderful location to remind us of God’s vision for all peoples. After singing and praying we reflected on Matt 28.16-20. Jesus took his disciples up a mountain at least in part to give them a vision –
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:16–20 NIV11)
The location has added poignancy for me because my parents brought me to the Downs when I was a baby. At the time we lived in nearby Luton.
Note to self: research the Watford church members to find out if they have places of spiritual significance locally that we could go to for the purpose of inspiration.
Fabian was our speaker in Lower Earley. His youthfulness, combined with an exceptionally able mind, meant we were treated to a fresh and well thought-through exposition on the story of Zacchaeus. Hearing him preach filled me with hope for the next generation. It’s vital we give these young people opportunities to teach.
Note to self: don’t forget to ask members of the congregation for feedback on young speakers so that I can give the young people well-balanced feedback, and not just my own opinions.
The singing at Dunstable was good – if a little affected by the fresh wind! We’d have benefitted from one song that was children-friendly. The Lower Earley singing was good – especially in the second half of the service – for some reason I cannot fathom. Rudie assigned leaders to the songs in advance which made for a more settled sense of leadership. Rynhardt led, “Ancient of Days”, and helped us to utilise it the best so far – largely because he interspersed the sections with guiding us as to where the song was going (repeat chorus etc.). This style of leadership is very effective when there are many ways to get through a song.
The Lower Earley singing was good – especially in the second half of the service (for some reason I cannot fathom). Rudie assigned leaders to the songs in advance which made for a more settled sense of leadership. Rynhardt led, “Ancient of Days”, and helped us to utilise it the best so far – largely because he interspersed the sections with guiding us as to where the song was going (repeat chorus etc.). This style of leadership is very effective when there are many ways to get through a song.
Note to self: encourage more song leaders to do as Rynhardt did when appropriate.
Last week I said we would:
- Focus on agreeing who is leading which song in advance (Lower Earley) – done, and made a positive difference
- Prioritise ventilation – not needed this week
Focus for next Sunday:
- Thames Valley has the annual outdoor service at Wellington Country Park. I will emphasise to all speakers the significance of being ready to move up front to do their part. When outdoors it is especially important to avoid delays at transition points.
- I will not be at the Watford service this week, but I will ask the speakers and song leader (Danny) if there is any way I can support them in my absence.
Please comment on what you’re doing locally with your services. What are you trying that’s working? What is God teaching you? Share reflections with us so we can grow and please God.
You can leave a comment below.