How to...

The worship planning team has the mandate to plan services that enfold the whole congregation. However, often our good intentions to include children actually separate them from adults in worship. It may be easy to plan for children by including a children's sermon or a song for kids. A whole Sunday evening might be set aside for a special youth service. But because these activities suggest that the rest of the service is not for them, children can easily learn to feel separate.

With the increase of seniors among us has come a growing demand for local pastors, lay leaders, and ministry groups to conduct worship services in senior citizens’ centers and rest homes. Leading the elderly in worship can be a most rewarding experience. But it also presents its own challenges. Here are some things to keep in mind when addressing the elderly.

You’ve been asked to obtain permission to reprint songs for your bulletin, Christmas program, liturgy, or Bible-study song sheets. Or maybe you want to copy the text of the choir’s anthem in the bulletin, make overhead transparencies of songs for your congregation, or copy a special theme song into the church newsletter . . . and you wonder how to do this legally.

Moving through the parts of a worship service has become more complex in recent years, particularly for churches that do not follow the same order of worship every Sunday. Also, using a variety of worship leaders calls for taking even greater care that the congregation be led in a way that helps them do what they have come to do: encounter the living God. Part of the task of a worship leader is to help the congregation move from one action to the next, to help them know what is coming and why it is coming.

Worship leaders rarely give much thought to something as simple as announcing the next hymn. Maybe they should, especially in congregations where new worship leaders are involved.

Winkel’s helpful suggestions, adapted from an earlier article published in Modern Liturgy are one small example of the care with which Roman Catholic leadership is attempting to encourage congregational singing.

—ERB