Tucked into a neighborhood of middle class homes in Denver where South Race Street makes a diagonal intersection with East Cornell Avenue sits a 1960s-style building covered by a low-hanging shake roof. For 30 years, a vibrant congregation filled the pews on Sundays, engaging various generations in worship and experimenting with newer styles of outreach and music. Then, 20 years ago, the congregation voted to accept an opportunity to merge with another church in order to plant a ministry in a newer part of the Denver metro area that had few worship options.
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Make new friends but keep the old. . . . These songs for Ascension and Pentecost are presented in pairs: a newer song attached to one that is well known. Your congregation might appreciate having the company of a familiar hymn while they work to learn a new song. The Pentecost songs are arranged to give you the option of weaving the pair together, moving back and forth between the two songs as best fits your particular worship situation.
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross; Halleluya with Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Oh, to See the Dawn/The Power of the Cross
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
There are some tunes that journey with us and attach themselves to our lives—songs we can’t get out of our heads.
One of the surprises of Christmas is who was “in the know”: a group of shepherds, an old man and an old woman, a group of foreigners. The good news of Christ’s birth went forth into unlikely places and was spread among people of all backgrounds. For centuries, missions meant taking the gospel message and going or sending people to another place in the world to share it. Today, the world is no longer far away, and one of the ways we experience the global church is through our worship music.
“Do this in remembrance of me.” For most Christians, these familiar words of Christ trigger the sweet scent of grapes and the taste of bread. We all know that Lord’s Supper services are intended to help God’s people remember Christ. But how can we help God’s people better retain knowledge of Christ—and translate that memory into lives of worship?
Let’s be honest: those of us who plan and lead worshipare often exhausted by January 1. Too oftenwe pour our imagination, energy, and time into theworship services and programs of the season andthen crash afterward. After a few decades of thiscycle, a few lessons have emerged for me. Try them on forsize, and just for fun use the lyrics at the end to sing themto the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
What does it take to become intentional about intergenerational worship?
The first step is to take an objective look at your congregation. You probably have a good idea of the balance of age groups in your congregation and how well each is represented in worship. But you might be surprised at what you can learn if you ask some of the following questions.
Who worships at our church?
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Let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start.
What happens at the very beginning of your worship service? Is it a “good” way to start? How intentional are you about the opening moments? While I think there are many appropriate ways to begin a worship event, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of a processional as a very good way to start.
Eleanor Vander Linde loved music! She hummed through her housework, she sang in the church and community choirs and she provided music lessons for her four daughters—who all grew up loving and performing music. In a short memoir of her life Eleanor wrote, “My whole life I lived with music, music in my heart, mind and voice!” In honor of Eleanor, I’m sharing two lessons that we, who also love music, might learn from.
“People can’t worship when they’re learning.” I was working with another planner—I’ll call him Mike—on a combined worship service of our two churches. Together we were responsible for selecting songs, recruiting singers and deciding the order of worship. Mike and I shared many important traits: both of us loved Jesus, both of us were committed to the Church, both us wanted true and good worship to happen at the combined service.