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Posted by on Aug 22, 2018 | 0 comments

Practice Celebrating!

During a recent Sunday morning worship service, my church celebrated a new partnership between our church and an organization in Uganda called Malayaka House.  This celebration was a year in the making, made possible by the hard work of our missions team and a handful of dedicated others. Our celebration was not a “dog and pony show” but it was a regular worship service supplemented with a brief greeting from the director of the organization, a special sermon, a special collection, a special prayer time with maps and pins, and a presentation of a few gifts at the end of the service. During our fellowship time, we held a video chat with Malayaka House and sang to one another. We also held a question and answer period between the director and the congregation.   (See order of worship outline with sermon link below) All together, it was a fun, inspiring, and worshipful morning and many went away feeling connected to the good work we are doing together.  As importantly, the congregation went away educated about what the partnership was, who this organization was, why we had entered into a partnership at all, and what this partnership would look like going forward. Often in the life of the church, I have experienced various groups going about doing their work without taking the step of celebrating their work in worship. The Sunday School meets in the basement and no one really knows what they are doing. Missions is doing this, Social Justice is doing that, Trustees are working on these projects but few beyond the team members know what is happening.  Once a week at least though, our congregations gather for worship and isn’t that the perfect time to celebrate and to give thanks to God for the work the church is doing? This post is NOT an invitation for you to do more.  It is an invitation to practice celebrating the work your teams are already doing in worship to inspire, encourage, educate, invite and bring a whole lot of energy and joy.
  • What is  your church doing that is worth celebrating? 
  • What is your team doing that the rest of the church/wider community does not know about? 
  • What can you celebrate in worship for the education and building up of your shared ministry?

SAMPLE ORDER OF WORSHIP OUTLINE

PRELUDE WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS INTROIT

GREETINGS FROM MALAYAKA HOUSE

GATHERING HYMN

OPENING PRAYER & LORD’S PRAYER (unison): Many people, one God.  Many loves, one Christ.  Many gifts, one Spirit.  Many needs, one call to serve.  Many prayers, one prayer like this: Our (Mother) Father (Creator) who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

A TIME FOR CHILDREN –presentation of cards for Malayaka House

PRAYERS NEAR & FAR – During our prayer time, all are invited to move either to one of the maps in sanctuary and to add prayer pins to the maps.  If you would like assistance, please signal an usher.

HYMN

CALL TO OFFERING – Special offering envelopes to benefit Malayaka House are in your pews.  You can place your optional donation inside and place it in the collection plate as it comes to you.

OFFERTORY

DOXOLOGY

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

SCRIPTURE READING: Acts 1:1-8

MESSAGE: “Concentric Church” 

SILENCE

PRESENTATION OF GIFTS & SYMBOLS

CLOSING HYMN

BENEDICTION

POSTLUDE

All invited to gather in the vestry for a time of fellowship and a video call with Malayaka House.


© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2018

Kevin Goldenbogen is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving Charlotte Congregational Church in northwestern Vermont. He skis, runs, bakes bread, rides a red Vespa, and tries every day to follow Jesus. He is married to the perfect woman and has two boys who he loves beyond words.

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