We had two opportunities to worship together this past weekend. We had a special evening gathering combining the two campuses that are part of Genesis Church into one. Part of our plan for 2012 is to have a joint campus event on the 5th Sunday that happen throughout the year.
This first one was an evening of prayer, praise, and communion. We called it Near the Father’s Heart which grew out of the New Living Translation version of John 1:18: No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
Our original plan was to focus on worship and praying in some different areas that are near the Father’s heart. However, after participating in a study from Francis Chan on communion, the structure of the evening took a sudden turn. We recast a huge part of it to be able to spend time doing communion together in a significant way. Part of our desire in doing a joint campus event was to draw the two campuses into a greater unity, and it seemed that experiencing communion together would be a good idea.
Communion is one of most favorite things to lead as a pastor and have as part of worship. It is a deep, rich, symbolic act that we have the privilege of doing together as a church. It doesn’t have to be rushed or boring, and can be done creatively and with meaning eve if time is limited. I’ve posted before about some creative ways to do communion in services. Fortunately, in this instance, we had time do spend on it.
The second part focused on communion. We began be recapping the gospel story and why God expressed such love to us. We talked about the significance of communion scripturally and in the life of the church throughout history, including its origin in Passover. We then had people break up into smaller groups. We began by having them share with one another about what God has been teaching them or how they’ve seen God working. Then each group came up to a station to receive a hunk of bread and juice. We prepared to take the elements by reciting a contemporary liturgy together. Following that, we had each group share prayer needs and spend time praying for one another.
We ended with a couple of songs that affirmed the power and greatness of Jesus.
I know it’s an extra step, but I encourage you to download the pdf of the service flow. This is from Planning Center and has all the details of what we did together, including some of the speaking parts and transitional pieces. There were a lot of different elements, and this way you can see the entire picture.
Here’s the file: Download
You can also download the talk about communion that I gave. There are influences from Scripture, worship history, Francis Chan, and Dan Wilt in it. Feel free to use or adapt as your would like.
Here’s the file: Download
The Communion Responsive Liturgy is a piece from WorshipTraining.com. Here is the page it is located on, but you will need to be a member to download it. If you haven’t considered joining WorshipTraining.com, you should take a look at it. There is a wealth of resources offered to equip, train, and challenge the worship team of any size church.
It was a great evening together. The time of worship, communion, and prayer was meaningful and participatory. It was great seeing the two campuses joining together in a common setting. Currently, the two campuses share a name and a common vision, but operate independently and uniquely. We are exploring how to function together better while still being unique to the community each campus is located in.
Have you ever done a special gathering for worship, prayer, and/or communion outside your normal corporate gathering time? If so, what did you do? What was it like? Feel free to share your experience as a comment.
Ours was well received. We are already looking forward to what the next one will look like in April.