Q:Are there ever instances in which it could be appropriate for people to celebrate the Lord’s Supper using a video feed over the Internet, especially for small rural churches in northern Canada that are separated by miles yet served by only one pastor? Could that be considered a real celebration of the Lord’s Supper?
Q: Sometimes I worry that the kids I teach don’t see how the Bible fits together. How can I help them get “the big picture”?
Several recent books have lamented that while many people know some Bible stories, they really don’t have a sense of “The Big Overarching Story” of God’s mission in the world. Some people wonder whether worship reinforces this problem by jumping around from one part of the Bible to another.
Q: We recently welcomed a visitor with limited church background who loved our music and was open to our preaching, but said that she felt our church had a negative view of our city. We are scratching our heads about what to make of this.
Q: How can we publicly welcome children who are ready to participate in the Lord’s Supper for the first time without putting too much pressure on very shy children?
A: Churches are wise to find ways to publically celebrate this milestone moment in children’s lives. Here are a few suggestions from a variety of congregations for doing so in age-appropriate ways:
Q. I’ve heard that baptism and Lent are supposed to go together, but I don’t know why, and I haven’t noticed any such connections made in my church. Should there be?
Q. I don’t want to go into all the details, but our congregation has had a really tough year. Our worship planners are weary and worried about guiding the church through the “joyful” Christmas season. They don’t have a lot of joy and wish they could skip ahead to the New Year so we can start over. Do you have any ideas to encourage them?
Q. Our church has been involving members in worship by having them read Scripture. This has been a blessing in many ways; however, some of them aren’t the best readers, and we wonder if we should stick with a “professional” like the minister. Should we?
Q. Our small church is losing members to bigger churches that are more modern and use more technology than we do. Should we think about putting a screen up to project songs in worship like so many churches do these days?
Q We hear a lot about people “giving things up for Lent.” What implications might this practice have for corporate worship?
A Individuals often go without a certain food or activity as a way to make Jesus’ journey toward the cross more prominent in their life. But perhaps congregations could consider similar practices or emphases communally.
Q My church sings contemporary music, but with piano accompaniment rather than guitar and drums. It doesn’t sound very contemporary. Why can’t the music be led by a band, like it was designed to be?
A There are a lot of layers to this question. Some churches don’t have a praise band because they don’t have people with the necessary skills. Others prefer piano or organ or have discerned that in their context piano or organ accompaniment leads to the best possible singing. All of those judgments need to be made contextually.