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Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Weekly Report 1

Ben Robinson
Weekly Report # 1
"Discussion with Practicum Advisor about the Organization of a Service"

I had the opportunity to discuss with my practicum advisor regarding the gathering portion of the service and, in actuality, the orchestration of the service in its entirety. He described the service mainly from a technical point of view. Being the executive pastor, my advisor is the one who everybody reports to. He told me that the service theme is decided upon two to three months in advance. The topic that pastor DeNeff will be speaking on is dispersed to the different heads of the various aspects of the service (i.e. service coordinator, worship leader, etc.). These leaders incorporate the theme into their specific area and choose songs, solos, dramas, etc., based upon the topic of the day. The ideas are collaborated and my advisor determines what will actually be used. At times, he said, too many people want to do too many things. These items are then placed into time slots where there is an actual layout of the entire service for when each item occurs and how long it will take. The service coordinator is connecting to the various leaders of the service through a headset and lets everyone know if they are on schedule or not. If things are not on schedule the service coordinator may choose to omit some of the events on the schedule.
I found all of this fascinating yet I feel as if I need to digest it some more. Whoever claims that low church services are not "liturgical" have no idea what they are saying. I was impressed with the efficiency and planning ahead that College Wesleyan does for their services. One are that I wonder about is the matter of forming a service around the theme of the sermon. I’m not sure whether this is completely appropriate or not. Certainly songs can reinforce a sermon topic but when we form the entire service around the sermon it seems we are implicitly saying that everything culminates in the sermon. While the proclamation of the Word certainly is important and central, should it be the pivot upon which the rest of the service revolves? Personally, I think we miss out on the grander focus of worship when we do this. A worship service is not so much about the sermon as much as it is about Jesus Christ. The service should be depend on the sermon but rather should depend upon the reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. I’ll take a good high church liturgical service any day because of the focus of such a service. Such services highlight the reality that it is about God and God is about us.
I did learn the great importance of organization and a well thought out service. With the various venues that College Church offers I feel it is appropriate that they are so well structured and are able to handle any hiccups that may surface on Sunday morning. It seems to me that planning ahead is key.


Blogger Roberta Tupper said...


I would have to agree with you about themeatic services. While I believe putting special emphasis on incorperating all aspects of worship to flow and function well togther, I believe that this can also be achieved without using this system. I think that if we focus too much on one part of God then we forget to see the whole picture of who he is.

Personally, I am tired of hearing phrases like "Jesus is my friend" or "God is my buddy" or we serve a "loving God that will forgive us no matter what we do." While all of these are true statements, our generation, as a whole, is watering down the majesty of God. he is Alpha, Omega, the One who formed the earth in the palm of his hand. He is so much more that we are giving him credit for. We don't fear Him anymore. I mean, if he will forgive you of anything that you do, why should you fear him?

So, to get back to the point, while thematic worship services are alright, I believe we can forget to see the big picture of who God really is.


12:38 AM  
Blogger Brennan said...

hows it going buddy??? I read your rather long article on your discussion with your pastor about the gathering service and I was very interested by it. I would agree with you on the thematic aspect of what you were talking about. I appreciated the fact that it was talked about and I do think that when we start to talk about themes we get so lost and confused that we lose where our focus should be. On Christ and that is not where it is when we get caught up in themes.

Hope your practicum goes well and i am looking forward to reading more about your practicum and how you are doing in it. B Mac

9:45 AM  
Blogger Chris Doan said...

Thats a great learning point; preparation and organization is such important tool within the church. I could use some learning and experience in this subject in every area of my life... lol. Preparing two or three months in advance is such a discipline that i know i couldn't do on my own. If the senior pastor is not organized and prepared for the service, how can his staff be organized and prepared? Such an important concept. -chris

10:33 AM  

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