Typical services at my church

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Typical services at my church

Post by Skip » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:50 am

Splitting out of the Confessions thread and Hugo's question...

I'm going to hit two kinds of services - communion and non-communion - and therein lies the biggest point of difference that MUST be understood right up front. For the "non-Protestant" denominations, the Eucharist is the central element of the worship service. Obviously not so with the Protestants, where it's seen as a supporting symbolic element that doesn't happen every week. It occurs once a month where I am now, which is more frequently than anywhere else I've attended, where once a quarter or once a year were more typical.

Musical Praise - fifteen to twenty minutes of congregational singing. Music selection depends greatly on pastor's message and whether or not it's a Communion Sunday. For Communion Sundays, the music will be a bit more subdued and reflective. The worship leader will lead prayer at least once somewhere in this period.
Communion (1st Sunday of month) - ten minutes. Prayers and elements. A song will be sung while the elements are passed out (do NOT get me started on the McCommunion cups) and another at the conclusion of this time. This time usually subtracts from the fifteen to twenty above.
Announcements - five minutes. On occasion, we'll hear from a missionary, church commission, etc. for a few minutes
Offering and Offertory - prayer and pass the plate
Sermon - thirty-five to forty-five minutes, depending upon everything else that has (or hasn't) happened. Though compared to the homily, I consider them two different things. The homily is usually short and sweet while a sermon is an extended speech intended to teach and call the listeners into a closer relationship with God.
Closing Song - optional, depending upon the sermon topic and how much time is left.
Closing Prayer

Total time is about 75 minutes and the majority is the sermon.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by infidel » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:55 am

Pretty much the same here, although Communion is about every 6 weeks.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Sir Moose » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:06 am

Sounds pretty typical for us with a few minor exceptions. While communion elements are being passed (1st Sunday of every month), we don't sing. They play contemplative music while we have a few moments to make sure that we are where we need to be. Also, our sermon is a bit longer. The overall service is usually right around 90 minutes, although it's been known to range from about 75 to 105 minutes.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Joshoowah » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:25 pm

I think that is the typical makeup of most Protestant services. A few do Communion every week, but they are rare. I attend one in Kenya that does it every week, and I personally like it that way.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by gaining_age » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:10 pm

I'm liking the church(es) I'm at right now-- The wife and I are splitting time. Hers is Lutheran (WELS) and mine is nondenominational (protestant).

The contrast is pretty stark and I'm grateful my wife is open to investigating the culture difference. She grew up Lutheran.

The nondenominational service:

2-3 songs for the invitation to worship. First is praise and the second or third will be a time of confession-- lead by the music leader to reflect. After the moment to reflect the music will be a song about the sacrifice of Jesus or holiness of God. It's a pretty good topic.

The announcements come next after a moment to "greet each other". We sit and hear a couple announcements.
Sometimes there are occupational discussions about how the big 4 are impacted in everyday life: creation, fall/sin, redemption and restoration (new heaven).
Next we stand for the reading of the passage (or a section) for the day. We go through a book of the Bible at a time so this shouldn't be a surprise on where the passage is coming from.

After that there is the sermon.

After the sermon we have a time of response-- folks to pray in the front, time to praise in song, time to give (get up to go to the boxes in the back) and communion. This last Sunday we had baptism as well. The communion is also "get up" to go get it. I like that action required in the responses.

During the response time music is played-- softly and then some increasing volume. The songs are reflective and the second one may be more upbeat to go with the response of the worship through singing time.

The last song will be a little louder and praising after communion folks have all sat back down. Then there is a benediction.
Music is usually guitars, keyboard, bass guitar and drums with one or two singers (one singer having a guitar). Sometimes there are only 2. Music style can vary from somewhat country/folksy to pretty modern.

The Lutheran church is quite a bit different-- very scripted and organ music. 3 passages read from one pulpit (?) and then the message from the other. No clapping. No "Amen"s and the pastor will sit while we sing-- no song leader. I'm still getting used to the organ-- it's pretty powerful. The WELS have closed communion but they have it about every other week.


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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Jocose » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:56 pm

Orthodox Divine liturgy is long, up to 2.5 hrs or more if you include Orthos. Even longer if you include vespers which starts on Saturday nite, which is the beginning of the liturgical day for Sunday.

My girlfriend came along with me on Lazarus Saturday and I explained that she is welcome to sit anytime she needs.

After the liturgy she simply exclaimed
"Wow, the Ronan Catholics have got nothing on you orthodox! Damn!, have you ever been to mass? It's only an hour, just saying!"

I LOL'D
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Sir Moose » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:05 pm

Jocose wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:56 pm
Orthodox Divine liturgy is long, up to 2.5 hrs or more if you include Orthos. Even longer if you include vespers which starts on Saturday nite, which is the beginning of the liturgical day for Sunday.

My girlfriend came along with me on Lazarus Saturday and I explained that she is welcome to sit anytime she needs.

After the liturgy she simply exclaimed
"Wow, the Ronan Catholics have got nothing on you orthodox! Damn!, have you ever been to mass? It's only an hour, just saying!"

I LOL'D
A co-worker grew up Catholic (he's now an official 'non-religious'), and said that if Mass went over an hour, people would start walking out.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by hugodrax » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:03 pm

Yeah, there are definitely churches and individuals with differing levels of piety.

Skip et al, interesting posts. I'm getting some similarities along with some differences.

It sounds to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the preacher/minister wears three hats: he picks the verses, he reads the verses, and he explains the verses. Is that fair enough?

It seems natural enough that that would take a little more time. But perhaps it's a little more comparable between our two styles if you add up the length of time it takes the lectors to read and the soloist to psing the psalm?

A couple of questions, if you'd indulge them. What about the Old Testament and the Psalms? Are they integrated with the New Testament or not or is it not fair to ask because differing churches/ministers will differ?

Believe it or not, and I am DEFINITELY NOT STARTING TROUBLE, the part I have the most difficulty understanding is the lack of emphasis on communion/Communion. It seems to me that whether you believe the host to be Body and Blood or representations thereof, that the focus on Jesus' life, freely suffered brutal death, and miraculous resurrection demand a constant reenactment because it puts His Passion first and foremost in your mind.

Nothing here is intended as anything more than innocent questions. I have zero interest in being converted or attempting to convert anyone. I think Skip noticed that we approach things fundamentally differently in our methods and it's a good idea to understand the mechanics. I think he's right.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Sir Moose » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:28 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:03 pm

It sounds to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the preacher/minister wears three hats: he picks the verses, he reads the verses, and he explains the verses. Is that fair enough?
At our church at least, the pastor engages in expository preaching. He'll pick a book of the Bible and start preaching his way through it and let the text decide precisely how he breaks it up. He may spend several weeks on various aspects of a single verse or he may spend a single week covering a short paragraph of 2-3 verses. Depending on the book, it may take several years to work his way through a single book.

Often there are short breaks for short interspersing series (generally less than two months) that may be due to world events, the calendar (e.g. holidays), a tangent to the book he's preaching through, missions emphasis month, etc.

Otherwise, your assessment is fair enough.

As for the Old Testament, for normal Sunday morning preaching, they normally show up as part of the teaching on the New Testament books, but the pastor has been known to exposit an Old Testament book for his normal preaching series.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by infidel » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:31 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:03 pm
Yeah, there are definitely churches and individuals with differing levels of piety.

Skip et al, interesting posts. I'm getting some similarities along with some differences.

It sounds to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the preacher/minister wears three hats: he picks the verses, he reads the verses, and he explains the verses. Is that fair enough?

It seems natural enough that that would take a little more time. But perhaps it's a little more comparable between our two styles if you add up the length of time it takes the lectors to read and the soloist to psing the psalm?

A couple of questions, if you'd indulge them. What about the Old Testament and the Psalms? Are they integrated with the New Testament or not or is it not fair to ask because differing churches/ministers will differ?

Believe it or not, and I am DEFINITELY NOT STARTING TROUBLE, the part I have the most difficulty understanding is the lack of emphasis on communion/Communion. It seems to me that whether you believe the host to be Body and Blood or representations thereof, that the focus on Jesus' life, freely suffered brutal death, and miraculous resurrection demand a constant reenactment because it puts His Passion first and foremost in your mind.

Nothing here is intended as anything more than innocent questions. I have zero interest in being converted or attempting to convert anyone. I think Skip noticed that we approach things fundamentally differently in our methods and it's a good idea to understand the mechanics. I think he's right.
In my limited experience "constant reenactment" is seen as roughly synonymous with "rote repetition" and there's a slippery, but fairly short, slope from there to "man made ritual" and "taking for granted", etc. And if there is one thing that Protestants are universally allergic to it's rituals that smell Catholic.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Jocose » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:37 pm

infi wrote:Protestants are universally allergic to it's rituals that smell Catholic
This needs it own thread!
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by hugodrax » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:40 pm

infidel wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:31 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:03 pm
Yeah, there are definitely churches and individuals with differing levels of piety.

Skip et al, interesting posts. I'm getting some similarities along with some differences.

It sounds to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the preacher/minister wears three hats: he picks the verses, he reads the verses, and he explains the verses. Is that fair enough?

It seems natural enough that that would take a little more time. But perhaps it's a little more comparable between our two styles if you add up the length of time it takes the lectors to read and the soloist to psing the psalm?

A couple of questions, if you'd indulge them. What about the Old Testament and the Psalms? Are they integrated with the New Testament or not or is it not fair to ask because differing churches/ministers will differ?

Believe it or not, and I am DEFINITELY NOT STARTING TROUBLE, the part I have the most difficulty understanding is the lack of emphasis on communion/Communion. It seems to me that whether you believe the host to be Body and Blood or representations thereof, that the focus on Jesus' life, freely suffered brutal death, and miraculous resurrection demand a constant reenactment because it puts His Passion first and foremost in your mind.

Nothing here is intended as anything more than innocent questions. I have zero interest in being converted or attempting to convert anyone. I think Skip noticed that we approach things fundamentally differently in our methods and it's a good idea to understand the mechanics. I think he's right.
In my limited experience "constant reenactment" is seen as roughly synonymous with "rote repetition" and there's a slippery, but fairly short, slope from there to "man made ritual" and "taking for granted", etc. And if there is one thing that Protestants are universally allergic to it's rituals that smell Catholic.
Fair enough, but it seems as if one can protest too much.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by JudgeRusty » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:05 pm

In my limited experience "constant reenactment" is seen as roughly synonymous with "rote repetition" and there's a slippery, but fairly short, slope from there to "man made ritual" and "taking for granted", etc. And if there is one thing that Protestants are universally allergic to it's rituals that smell Catholic.

Fair enough, but it seems as if one can protest too much.


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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Skip » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:08 pm

Let's see if I can address some of Hugo's questions/comments:

First, thanks for asking respectfully and realizing there are some serious and significant differences. Again, I've listened to enough masses from St. Patrick's to be familiar with the typical mass. (Hey, I listened enough that I still stumble over "...and with your spirit." instead of "...and also with you.") To listen to them so often means I appreciate the structure of the mass and would definitely agree that the Protestants have thrown out the baby with the bathwater in many ways.

Now... There are no 'daily readings' consistent across denomination, so the concept of "Old", "New", and "Psalms" just isn't there. The worship leader might pull out a verse, and we'll occasionally have a verse on the screen for everyone to read, sometimes aloud. The pastor may choose an exegetical sermon, explaining a verse or set of either contiguous or related verses, or the sermon may be topical, with verses chosen and applied throughout the sermon to support the topic. Regrettably, there are churches where the sermon is simply topical and "feel good." Good Protestants make fun of those posers. Some of those "modern worship songs" that many hate so much are actually taken from the Psalms, not verbatim perhaps, but with enough recognizable phrases that those who claim the songs have nothing to do with the Bible manage nothing but to demonstrate how much they don't know the scriptures. It seems that it's okay for the angels to do the repetition thing, but it's just not appropriate for Sunday morning.

Communion. I understand the concept of "making present" the sacrifice, but for most Protestants, the sacrifice has been made once and for all and trying to "reenact" the sacrifice can be seen as denying the deed already done. Considered such, communion has become a reflectful symbol of remembering the sacrifice rather than making it present. There are also quite a few former Catholics in the Protestant ranks, and their memories of the Eucharist are primarily the bits about "rote repetition" and no clue of the true meaning. A lot were students in Catholic schools who knew which were the 'good kids' and the 'bad kids' and when the sky didn't fall upon the heads of the bad kids who solemnly ate and drank their damnation, well, a lot of them don't want to take communion at all. (I once taught a three-week Sunday series on Catholicism and, as part of my research, interviewed the half-dozen former Catholics in the congregation at that time. All of them were intelligent people, yet none had been made to understand the meaning of the Eucharist. The nuns had just told them it's what they needed to do to be in Heaven if they died. For them, it was just a supposedly magic spell.)
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by ReverendThom » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:25 pm

Here was the order of service at my old church (words in bold occurred only on the first Sunday of the month):

Opening song
Call to worship
Invocation
Call to repentance
Confession
Words of forgiveness/assurance
Worship in song (4 songs)
Offering
Kid's story & dismissal - gotta have a kid's story!
Corporate prayer (prayer requests from the congregation, then prayer)
Scripture reading (usually 3 passages)
Sermon (25-30 minutes usually)
Communion song
Communion

Song of response and benevolent offering
Benediction
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by hugodrax » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:35 pm

Skip wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:08 pm
Let's see if I can address some of Hugo's questions/comments:

First, thanks for asking respectfully and realizing there are some serious and significant differences. Again, I've listened to enough masses from St. Patrick's to be familiar with the typical mass. (Hey, I listened enough that I still stumble over "...and with your spirit." instead of "...and also with you.") To listen to them so often means I appreciate the structure of the mass and would definitely agree that the Protestants have thrown out the baby with the bathwater in many ways.

Now... There are no 'daily readings' consistent across denomination, so the concept of "Old", "New", and "Psalms" just isn't there. The worship leader might pull out a verse, and we'll occasionally have a verse on the screen for everyone to read, sometimes aloud. The pastor may choose an exegetical sermon, explaining a verse or set of either contiguous or related verses, or the sermon may be topical, with verses chosen and applied throughout the sermon to support the topic. Regrettably, there are churches where the sermon is simply topical and "feel good." Good Protestants make fun of those posers. Some of those "modern worship songs" that many hate so much are actually taken from the Psalms, not verbatim perhaps, but with enough recognizable phrases that those who claim the songs have nothing to do with the Bible manage nothing but to demonstrate how much they don't know the scriptures. It seems that it's okay for the angels to do the repetition thing, but it's just not appropriate for Sunday morning.

Communion. I understand the concept of "making present" the sacrifice, but for most Protestants, the sacrifice has been made once and for all and trying to "reenact" the sacrifice can be seen as denying the deed already done. Considered such, communion has become a reflectful symbol of remembering the sacrifice rather than making it present. There are also quite a few former Catholics in the Protestant ranks, and their memories of the Eucharist are primarily the bits about "rote repetition" and no clue of the true meaning. A lot were students in Catholic schools who knew which were the 'good kids' and the 'bad kids' and when the sky didn't fall upon the heads of the bad kids who solemnly ate and drank their damnation, well, a lot of them don't want to take communion at all. (I once taught a three-week Sunday series on Catholicism and, as part of my research, interviewed the half-dozen former Catholics in the congregation at that time. All of them were intelligent people, yet none had been made to understand the meaning of the Eucharist. The nuns had just told them it's what they needed to do to be in Heaven if they died. For them, it was just a supposedly magic spell.)
Thanks, Skip. I understand a little better now, which means I probably don't understand very much at all. But we might just get there in time.

And I get the poorly catechized. I was one! Told what i must believe with none of the why and i became a cultural Catholic. We've had some talks where you seemed surprised I preferred the Latin mass--well, it was the sudden interest that catechized me--Latin on the left side, complete play by play translation in English with the why explained on the right side. Made it pretty clear what I should have been taught but wasnt. I get why people don't get it.

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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Onyx » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:39 pm

My favourite part was the old Scottish hymns. We had a genuine pipe organ most places, and in one congregation, we had the premier organist (and professional pipe organ building/maintaining guy) in the region. And there was an old guy who used to sing harmonies with the truest pitch tenor voice I've ever encountered. That's where I learned to love music.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by Del » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:27 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:03 pm
...and the psoloist to psing the psalm....
Before the cantor chants the canticle.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by mont974x4 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:31 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:03 pm
Yeah, there are definitely churches and individuals with differing levels of piety.

Skip et al, interesting posts. I'm getting some similarities along with some differences.

It sounds to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the preacher/minister wears three hats: he picks the verses, he reads the verses, and he explains the verses. Is that fair enough?

It seems natural enough that that would take a little more time. But perhaps it's a little more comparable between our two styles if you add up the length of time it takes the lectors to read and the soloist to psing the psalm?

A couple of questions, if you'd indulge them. What about the Old Testament and the Psalms? Are they integrated with the New Testament or not or is it not fair to ask because differing churches/ministers will differ?

Believe it or not, and I am DEFINITELY NOT STARTING TROUBLE, the part I have the most difficulty understanding is the lack of emphasis on communion/Communion. It seems to me that whether you believe the host to be Body and Blood or representations thereof, that the focus on Jesus' life, freely suffered brutal death, and miraculous resurrection demand a constant reenactment because it puts His Passion first and foremost in your mind.

Nothing here is intended as anything more than innocent questions. I have zero interest in being converted or attempting to convert anyone. I think Skip noticed that we approach things fundamentally differently in our methods and it's a good idea to understand the mechanics. I think he's right.
Yes, the pastor wears the teaching/preaching hat (generally speaking) and that means he plans the message (to include the three parts you mentioned...but they tend to usually see it as one). In some cases the pastor may have someone else read the passage he is about to preach or teach on prior to him starting.

As to how much OT and Psalms are included depends almost entirely on the person preaching. The ones I enjoyed most would try to keep a good balance between OT and NT, while preaching expository sermons through whole books of the Bible. Hopefully they would help the congregation see the Gospel in every passage, regardless what part of the Bible was the text for the day. I would especially enjoy it when the person preaching would bring the OT and NT together (compare, show when the OT was fulfilled in the NT, etc). I know many pastors who would plan 3, 6, or even 12 month preaching calendars. These would be intentional, I would hope, in bringing a healthy mix of OT and NT.

My positions were always as an associate pastor. So, I would generally preach once a month at church and once a month at the local rescue mission. That made it very hard to do a series of sermons. I did however, help plan the services. Generally we would try to give the person leading the music the passage, or at least the theme, a week early so they could pick appropriate songs.

Communion was usually done once a month in almost every church I attended regularly whether it was some variety of Baptist, Nazerene, or non-denom. Although I have attended Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Church of God, and a few others. When I was deployed I did security for the Roman Catholic priest quite often. I got to do security for Rabi, Imam, and Russian Orthodox priest as well. Being a witness to the Passover celebration was pretty cool.
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Re: Typical services at my church

Post by hugodrax » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:51 pm

Thanks, Mont.

I also thought I should make it clear that when I say how "our" Masses are celebrated, I mean only the Latin Rite. There is a diaspora of Catholic liturgy I've never seen nor even really read of and it's a disservice to pass them by as if they don't exist.
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