The Sunday Sample: reflections on corporate worship

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One of the hats I wear is labelled, “corporate worship leader”. It’s my job to help develop the corporate worship of the Watford church of Christ and the Thames Valley churches of Christ. Defining that responsibility in a few words is hard, but it has to do with training speakers, singers and musicians practically and spiritually.

It occurred to me while praying the other day that a written reflection on the previous Sunday’s corporate worship might help. Getting thoughts onto ‘paper’ after a night’s gap could provide perspective. Hence today’s blog post. Let me know if it helps you in your assessment of worship. Additionally, please let me and others know what you do to think through the spiritual inspiration or otherwise of a service.


Date: Sunday 26th March

Location: Lower Earley

Special occasion: Mothering Sunday

Speakers

It was inspiring to hear Wale speak. Here is a mature Christian, but someone who had never preached in this congregation. He spoke clearly, with accurate points on the nature of God, and with reference to the theme of the day – Mothering Sunday. He also displayed sensitivity to the congregation, cutting his sermon short so as to end the service on time.

Today’s lesson: not to wait too long before asking someone to speak – even if I’ve never heard them before.

Music

We were denuded of singers, but God helped us! As a result we changed the usual setup. Rudie and I lead songs while playing instruments and singing in the centre together at times. Moving the keyboard centrally worked better than I expected. Michelle recruited Funke to help with the singing, and even though she’d never joined us before, her presence was most helpful. God was with us and I felt his strengthening.

Today’s lesson: not to get too hung up on whether the set up is the same every Sunday. 

Connection

The best connection was when the speakers gave away something of themselves in an endearing and/or self-deprecating way. Involving the whole Johnson family at the start was also helpful – husband, wife and children all speaking, reading & praying.

The singing varied according to song. I think I included one too many less-well-known songs. One is enough for most services, but this week we had two.

Today’s lessons: remind the speakers to be personal in what they share. Involve entire families more often. Select just the one new or unfamiliar song most weeks.

Other Matters

  • We started late. Not sure if that was to do with the clocks going forward. It would be helpful to find a way to encourage timeliness without being too heavy about it.
  • The flowers arranged by Lizelle for the mothers were a lovely touch. The children came up to distribute the flowers willingly. Can we find more ways of involving the children other than on special days such as mothering Sunday?
  • The speakers and musicians prayed together before we started, which, I believe, played a large art in the effectiveness of our corporate worship. While we do this most weeks, it does not happen every time. We’ll do well to make sure the time is available for group prayer each Sunday.
  • The congregation were especially widely scattered around the room with big gaps between people. It would have been good at some point in the meeting to encourage people to move to the front. We’ve done this before and it helps the connections between speakers and congregation.

The service was positive, and God-honouring. Our next meeting in Lower Early is 9th April. I’m going to pick just three actions from this reflection. More than that will be confusing. I’ll prioritise:

  1. Prayer together before we start
  2. Only one new/unfamiliar song
  3. Start on time

Let’s see what happens. Let me know your ideas. You can leave a message here, or send me an email: mccx@mac.com.

God bless,

Malcolm

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