Many of our special services as well as our regular church ones could be greatly improved and beautified if elders, pastors, and musicians could take more time to plan them together, and if more attention were given to the glorious privileges and opportunities of worship in song.
Some time ago a singing evangelist and pastor sent to the Ministerial Association some fine suggestions and an outline for an actual communion service he has used. He writes: "I have always felt that a communion service could be made more beautiful if more music were used. I have tried this on three occasions now, and every time the members have commented on how beautiful the service was. It was the music that did itl Only the choir used hymnals. With the choir leading out, the congregation sang from memory, and they were seated for every song except the last one. Thus the congregational singing was more of a spontaneous type that was a real expression of their feelings in the service. It was sung softly by all and with real expression, and of course we used only familiar songs.
"A copy sheet of the entire service was made for each choir member and the organist led out in the singing at the appropriate times without any announcement. The reading under item 14 was a fitting climax to the whole service."
All the hymns used in this service were from the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. Here is the information which appeared on the mimeographed sheet:
Choir- Number 152 "Tell Me the Story of Jesus"
Sermon: "Until He Comes"
Separation for the ordinance of preparation
Services of Lord's Supper
- Choir sings number 154, 155 "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
- Duet and choir sing number 158 "Were You There?"
- Scripture reading (bread) I Cor. 1 1 :23-24
- Breaking of bread by elders; choir sings number 271 "Break Thou the Bread of Life"
- Bread given to deacons and organ plays in the background.
- While bread is passed, congregation and choir sing number 159 "The Old Rugged Cross"
- Deacons return and organ plays in the background.
- Scripture reading (wine) I Cor. 1 1 :25
- During the passing of wine, the congregation and choir sing number 184 "Jesus Paid It All"
- Partaking of wine and organ plays in the background
- During the collecting of glasses, congregation and choir sing number 329 "Take the World, but Give Me Jesus"
- Pastor and choir read number 402 "By Christ Redeemed"; Choir responds at end of each stanza "Until He Comes"
- Choir and congregation sing number 206 "Face to Face"
- Silent Benediction
This was an idea I got some years ago from Dr. Griffith Jones. The selection of songs is only a sample and can, of course, be changed as desired.
With the pastor, elder, organist, and choir members all in possession of such a carefully planned program, the service need not be interrupted by any announcements or instructions, but can proceed quietly and reverently right through to the closing hymn.
We are sure that our elders, pastors and musicians greatly appreciate this suggestion that will be valuable and helpful. But we want your ideas too. Many who read these lines will have more suggestions for this and other services as well. Why not share them with your fellow Elders and Pastors? Send them along to Elder's Digest. Thank you.