One of the hallmarks of Lutheranism is the repetition, decade after decade, of festivals and traditions. While this has proven a blessing for congregations, it also presents a challenge today.
It started thinking about this after reading Luke 22:8:
“So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” (ESV)
Just as Jewish worshippers handed down how to prepare the Passover, so Christians pass on how to prepare for worship services. In worship, confessing Lutherans are especially adept at doing the same thing, maybe a little better, from week to week and year to year.
The challenge today is that we can’t just “tweak” our worship services. We need to carefully plan totally new worship practices. There will be changes from the moment worshippers arrive in the church parking lot to the moment they drive out of the parking lot.
Even though this is challenging, our churches have spent the past two months developing new practices: “Phone trees” to contact members, recording Bible studies, streaming worship services, providing electronic giving, etc.
We also have resources for planning new practices for worship, such as Guidance for Planning in-Person Worship.
Finally, we know creating the new practices is worth the effort. By writing down and communicating those practices, congregations will…
- Ease member anxieties about what will happen when they return to worshipping in the sanctuary.
- Allay concerns of family or friends about their loved on returning to worship in-person.
- Limit distractions once on campus, helping members focus on God during the service.
- Demonstrate Christ’s love for the congregation and community by reducing risk for the spread of viruses.
- Provide a repeatable process to ensure church facilities and grounds are consistently cleaned and sanitized.
As the Heavenly Father has led His people through dramatically changing times in the past, so the Lord is leading us through change now. He will keep His mission moving forward.