Suzybower's Blog

Creative ideas for church and youth ministry.

Archive for service plan

Christmas service in a stable

It’s that time of year again…

Time to dig out last year’s fairy lights (what they take away in authenticity, they more than make up for in aesthetics),

Dress up in excessive layers of clothing,

And last but not least heat up the hot spiced apple, and mince pies,

then trek over to a nearby farm for an advent service in a stable.

 

The service plan was pretty similar to last years but with more carols (and more people!) added this time. Check it out here.

Many thanks go the horses who made the whole thing possible by being willing to sacrifice their stable for the evening. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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Creative Communion: idea & service plan

On Easter Sunday evening we were due to have a communion service. There was some debate as to whether it was appropriate to have communion which focussing on the cross, on a day when we are supposed to be remembering the resurrection. In the end we decided we would do a service based around living in the hope and light of the resurrection which is possible through the cross.

So this got my brain ticking over about light, and I decided to make a light box type thing as part of communion:

I used hot cross buns for the communion bread (mainly because I had loads left over!), and shone a lamp from underneath the bread (The bread was placed on a cooling rack, but you could use a piece of glass or transparent plastic if it was on a larger scale). As people took the bread, the light shone through more strongly. I then spoke about God’s kingdom breaking through here on Earth.

For more creative ways to do communion, check out this amazing resource: ‘Tabled’

In case you’re interested in how the whole communion service fitted together, here was the plan (let me know if you want a copy of the service plan with all the verses, and also the little service booklets I made).

Service plan

SETTING AND INTRODUCTION: As people arrived I stood outside to welcomed them and give them a service booklet. I asked them to remain silent as they went in, and to reflect on the verses about light that were pinned up around the room, or just sit and be. The chairs were positioned around the outside with the light box thing in the middle. There was some plinky plonky music playing as background (Arvo Part, Spiegel im Spiegel).

– The room was in darkness as people arrived, apart from the light coming off a video clips of various sunrises.

– As the service progressed I lit more candles around the room so it physically got lighter, until the last song which we went outside for and watched the sunset whilst we were singing.

BEGINNING BIT: I lit the candle in the middle of the room (representing Jesus) and read out various verses about light.

FOCUSSING ON: I spoke briefly about the light imagery surrounding the resurrection (Matt 28:3, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:4) and explained the link we were making between light, communion and the resurrection.

SUNG WORSHIP: All Hail the Lamb, Our God is an awesome God interspersed with Our God reigns, Jesus is Lord.

CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS: ‘Forbid it Lord that I might boast’, ‘All the vain things that charm me most’. Words from the next song. Reflect on these things that charm us, and that we are boastful of (give a few mins for confession in silence).

– ‘I sacrifice them to you all’. Spend a few momnets seeking forgiveness for those things.

– Ephesians 5:8 – once in darkness, now live as children of light.

SUNG WORSHIP: When I survey

TALK: About hope/light/resurrection/God’s kingdom breaking through here on Earth made possible through the cross.

COMMUNION: As described above.

– Jesus is the light of the world, and now we are also the light of the world (Matt 5:14)

PRAYERS: for those in need of God’s light.

SUNG WORSHIP: Light of the world. Everyone was given a tealight, and during this song one person lit their candle from the middle flame (which had been lit from the beginning, representing Jesus), then passed this on to others – representing that we need to take God’s light into dark situations.

– Thine be the glory: by this point the room was light with all the candles I had been lighting throughout, but we went outside for the final song and watched the sunset – it was truly glorious! When I’m leading a service, I usually find it difficult to focus on God rather than on the next item on the programme – but this moment was just amazing and I will remember it for quite a while I think. We then hung around after the service to polish off the hot cross buns. Perfect end to Easter day!

Let me know if you want a copy of the service plan with all the verses, and also the little service booklets I made.

Things needed:

– Verses about light printed out to be stuck around the room.

– Sunrise videos: youtube, search for sunrise time lapse.

– Plinky plonky music (e.g. Arvo Part, Spiegel im Spiegel)

– Light box thing with commuion on.

– A lot of candles – check with health and safety person first!

– Service sheets.

(Thanks go to Ben Bell who sparked off the idea of doing a service that gradually gets lighter – he does this for advent services, what a fab idea!)