Yesterday, we explored The Power of Communion in Worship. It is a special and significant time of celebrating and remembering the work of Christ on the cross together.
But, there is also a tendency for it to be uninspiring and ritualistic (in a negative way) for people. I find this to be very sad, as communion can be one of the most dynamic aspects of corporate worship.
Perhaps a few ideas to bring a freshness to communion is just what you need. Obviously, it’s wise to exercise good balance between freshness and ritual as appropriate for your tradition and practices.
And on a practical note, if you’ve done communion the same forever, you might want to start simple and/or slowly in mixing things up.
Ultimately, it’s not just about doing it different for the sake of different, but to help people continually remember the amazing grace of God and proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again..
Ideas for Bringing Freshness to the Expression of Communion
- Focus more on the thanksgiving aspects of communion and giving thanks.
- Remind people of what it represents. Don’t always think everyone knows or remembers.
- Have different people serve communion. In one church I served at, we would sometimes have fathers and sons serve, sometimes spiritually mature teens, or even couples.
- Have people actually look at each other while passing the trays. They could say something like “This is Christ’s body for you” to one another.
- Give people a specific aspect of communion to focus or reflect upon.
- Set up stations and have people get out of their seats and come up to get it. When I’ve done this, I’ve also had someone available to serve those who weren’t mobile. You could have them bring their offering up at the same time.
- Have people gather in smaller groups and serve one another.
- Have people gather into smaller clusters and have an elder or spiritual leader lead each group through communion.
- Have families do it together.
- Invite people to share a story of Christ’s presence in their lives.
- Have people pray in small groups for specific needs or one another.
- Have people focus on the symbolism of the elements. While they are waiting, have them feel the bread/cracker with their fingers or gaze at the juice/wine.
- Do a liturgy or responsive reading together. For those not of a liturgical tradition, this can be a powerful experience to declare truth together in this context.
- Have video images of Christ on the cross on a screen for reflection.
- Have a collection of Scriptures or sayings that scroll on the screen focusing on subjects like forgiveness, our need for Christ, or God’s mercy.
- Include a song as a special or invite the congregation to sing along. Some suggestion include
Mystery (Charlie Hall),
Carried to the Table (Leeland),
Behold the Lamb (Getty/Townend),
Communion (Third Day),
Remember (Tim Hughes), or
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Townend).
You may also want to check out this list of Songs for Communion from Chris Vacher.
- Offer a time of prayer for a specific need, healing, etc.
- Have spiritual leaders in your church stand in the front, and have people come up and receive communion from them. The leaders could say a phrase like “The body and the blood of Christ given for you.” People could take it together or hold on to it until everyone has come up.
- Set the communion table up in a different location than normal. Perhaps bring it out more into the congregation so the congregation is seated around it.
- Instead of crackers, use a
- Have a focused time of confession/preparation before distributing the elements.
There you go – lots of suggestions. Most of these I have seen done or done myself, and each has had a special impact. Not everyone has always liked every way, but there in is the privilege of being part of the body and growing in maturity.
You can also check out these Worship Together Recaps of actual services where we have incorporated communion in a fresh way. Some of these services include ideas listed above, or maybe a combination of ideas.
- Service from June 2, 2013
- Service from April 14, 2013
- Evening of Worship from Sept 30, 2013
- Good Friday Service from 2012
- Evening of Worship from January 29, 2012
- Service from June 6, 2010
What other ideas have you seen or done to bring a fresh expression to communion? Share it in the comments below.