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March 2000

Signal the Sacraments: Baptism

In the last issue, we showed you a design for a banner that could be hung for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In this issue, we've included a design for use on Sundays when the sacrament of baptism is celebrated. Compared to the communion banner, baptism should have been easy, right? Doves, rainbows, babies, drops of water--symbols abound. As it turned out, of the two, this was the more difficult to design.

Where Two or Three Are Gathered: The definition of what constitutes a worshiping community is changing

Words are strange. Sometimes the longer you rthink about the use of a familiar word—or its spelling—the stranger it seems.

Ten Questions Youth Leaders Ask About Worship


At Biola University, a fifty-minute chapel is offered every day, Monday through Friday, but is required three times a week (M, W, F). Students have also initiated their own, student-led, worship services (mostly praise) on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Two to three hundred students attend these guitar-based events.

Here are some changes I've witnessed in the last five years:

Planning Ahead: How one pastor was delivered from Monday morning madness

For fourteen years it was pretty much the same story for me, When Monday dawned, 1 knew 1 had to find another two preaching texts for Sunday. It was amazing how many other things I found to do that kept me away from the search, but as Mondays evaporated into Tuesdays, a sense of desperation would set in. What was I going to preach on, and would 1 have the time and the creativity to write a good sermon, now that Tuesday was changing into Wednesday?



Blended Worship: What it is, what it isn't

Recently I heard of a pastor who was trying to bring life and vitality to his medium-sized congregation's worship. He had become intrigued with "blended worship" and had experimented with adding some "contemporary" instrumentation and eliminating worship practices that might be considered too "high church." lie liked the concept of blended worship and was beginning to implement it, yet he still had reservations.



On our way to the Celestial City: six service plans with dramas based on The Pilgrim's Progress, page 2 of 2


Call to Worship

Come, worship the King, give glory and honor to Jesus Christ, whose name is above every name. Listen to his instruction and so put on the full armor of God so that you may resist Satan and give praise to our Lord.

Scripture: Psalm 42

Sermon: "Hope in Dark Days"

Affirmation of Faith: Apostles' Creed

Sang Suggestions

Pentecost Picnic: How the Spirit made what was all wrong go all right

This piece is an excerpt from one of the weekly e-mail newsletters she sends to all college students away from their home church. ( crc/)

I'm a front-row kind of person—always have been. Rut on Pentecost Sunday morning, when we arrived at the outdoor joint service/potluck with Vietnamese New Hope Christian Reformed Church, the lawn chairs were already spilling down the hillside, so we settled in.

Ten Questions Youth Leaders Ask About Worship: Sally Morgenthaler and Robert Webber respond

After a big youth rally that's been hyped with pyrotechnics and a full band that practiced for weeks, how do you get students back into authentic worship without the aid of those externals—and keep their praise more than roller-coaster emotionalism?

Warthogs: Why professor Farnsworth didn't go to chapel

Professor Farnsworth is, well, fascinating. I think the reason she's not married is that she's already joined at the heart to Jonathan Edwards, William Bradford, Anne Hutchinson, and most of American Puritan history. She's a kick. She really is. When she starts in on one of the Puritan leaders, she gets in a zone, and it doesn't seem to matter whether there's anybody in the chairs in front of her. When that second hand sweeps past 11:00 a.m., something in her goes into gear and pushes through the class like a minesweeper.

Caught Up in the Cloud: Rescuing the Ascension story from familiarity

I remember well my boyhood ideas about the ascension of Jesus. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and, after lifting up his hands in benediction, he just "took off"—not like an airplane, but as if he were in an invisible elevator. He just started to go up, up, up, up—straight up, until he disappeared. If the disciples had owned telescopes and other twentieth-century technology, I assumed, they could have watched just a bit longer.

Clap Your Hands, All You Nations; Through All the World; I'm Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sings; Come, Holy Spirit; Now Go in Peace


The celebration of Christ's ascension comes late in the year 2000, not until Thursday, June 1. Most churches will probably observe the event on the following Sunday, June 4.

Make a Vision Statement: Basics for bringing new life to your worship visuals

In August I began a new job, teaching the history of art at a college in a city that is new to me. Every Sunday since I've been here I've visited a different church, looking for a new church home. The preaching and the service order tell me much about the life of the congregations I've worshiped with. Some churches also have informational brochures. Others have very friendly members who are happy to talk about their church. None of this is surprising. What has surprised me is how much I react to the look of the sanctuary and the objects in it!

How to...Encourage the Children in Your Congregation to Worship

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.

Book: Psalter for Christian Worship

Michael Morgan. Louisville: Witherspoon Press, in partnership of the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Columbia Theological Seminary, 1999. 182 pp. Hardcover $25.95; softcover $14.95.

Book: El Himnario Presbiteriano

Louisville: Geneva Press, 1999. 722 pp. Pew edition $14.95; accompanist edition (spiral bound) $29,95, Reviewed by Jorge A. Lockward, minister of music at West End Presbyterian Church, New York City

This Far by Faith: A new African-American hymnal and worship resource

Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1999. 264 songs plus liturgical resources including psalm settings. $12.50.

Pentecost Prayer

Pentecost Prayer

Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life:

At the beginning of time you moved over the face of the waters;
you breathe into every living being the breath of life.

Come, Creator Spirit, and renew the whole creation.

Sung Refrain (see p. 37 for music)

Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Lord, come.

On the Importance of Appearance, the Catechumenate, and Appropriate Words of Greeting

Q. Our worship coordinator has hccn stressing the importance of our visual appearance as we lead worship. She's been asking us for a lot more smiles. But I think she crossed a line when she said, "You can always tell when people are worshiping." I'm uncomfortable with this emphasis on appearance. What do you make of this?