For the last couple years I’ve had the opportunity to share some ideas with the congregation I’m currently serving.
One idea that I am particular fond of is taking Sunday worship to a local park. This is a little outside the comfort zone of most Lutherans, so I put together the following proposal for consideration of the church council whom pretty quickly decided we should try it.
Worship in the Park Proposal
WHAT: The worship service is led by the Pastoral Staff, Music Ministers, and Lay Leaders. It is a full liturgy including music, sermon, offering, and communion. This would be in lieu of worship at Faith Lutheran Church. The BBQ takes place immediately following the service. It includes some games with food provided by a committee supplemented by potluck offerings from the congregation.
WHERE: Meek Estate
WHO: This worship service and BBQ is for members and visitors of Faith Lutheran Church. This event is for all ages; it’s planned with everyone from infants to the elderly in mind.
WHY: To fulfill Faith Lutheran’s mission statement “to share the message of God’s love with one another, our community, and the world” in the following ways:
OUTREACH TO THE COMMUNITY
This worship service and BBQ will give our members an opportunity to personally invite their friends to “church” in a neutral setting. We will have a sign of the church up to let people know who we are and why we are there.
This day gives an opportunity for Faith Lutheran to be with each other outside of the church property but centered around Word and Sacrament. The BBQ will allow us to share a meal together. The games will give us an opportunity to play together as a church family.
We will use recyclable items for the BBQ. We will collect an offering during worship.
We will advertise this event to the community. It will also give an opportunity to invite the community to “worship” without having the stigma of going to a “church.”
- Create cards to pass out to friends of Faith Lutheran.
- Verbally announce event in worship for 5 weeks
- Announce in Faith @ Work for 2 months
- Place full page ad in This Week @ Faith for 5 weeks
- Invite members by telephone the Thursday before the event (50 phone calls)
- Send out mailer to the whole church (members & visitors) the week before the event
- Put up signs at church the day before reminding people the location of worship has changed.
Worship & Music Committee Responsibilities:
- Communion supplies (altar, paraments, chalice/patin etc, flowers)
- Offering baskets
- Music stands
Property Committee Responsibilities:
- Chairs (90+)
- Sound system with keyboard
- Transport to park, set up, return
- Procure location ASAP
Fellowship Committee Responsibilities:
- BBQ supplies, cooking, catering supplies
- Hamburgers, hot dogs, buns
- 2 Tables
- 2 Canopies
Education Committee Responsibilities:
- Table covers
Youth Committee Responsibilities:
- Games for BBQ
- Egg toss
- Spoon egg race
- Potato sack race
- Potluck food that goes with hotdogs and hamburgers
- Invite friends
Outcomes of 2013
With the above proposal everyone knew what to do, which made the day go very easy. Expectations were distributed to the whole congregation and implemented by almost everyone. People came early to set up the altar, chairs, bbq, sound-system, etc. We made sure to have the chairs facing away from the sun so that the congregation wasn’t blinded. It made presiding a little more difficult for the worship leaders, but it was only a minor inconvenience.
The worship service was well attended and not much different from what we normally do at a “blended service.” The worship service lasted just under 60 minutes.
We expected less attendance than we get from a blended service. However, there ended up being many more people who came because they were invited. When we ran out of chairs, families put down blankets on the sides of the aisle and sat together.
Overall it was a good time. You can see a gallery here 2013 Worship in the Park.