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- Check the pulpit mic before worship; the switch on the mic can be persnickety.
- Remember the pulpit mic is unidirectional. It needs to be pointed at your mouth and you need to speak across the front of it to the fifth pew (there’s not amplification in the first five rows).
- The hand-held mic is designed to be right in front of your mouth. You should use if for the invitation to sharing and prayer of dedication.
- The purpose of the introduction is to invite people into the reading, to prepare themselves to hear God speaking through the scripture
- Three directions to take for an introduction
- Biblical background ‐ Our next scripture reading comes from Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, a church that was troubled with various infighting. Our next reading is from the prophet Amos who primarily preached to the ______ about _____.
- Thematic ‐ In today’s reading, Jesus challenges the disciples’ ideas of greatness. In today’s reading, Jesus invites us to see service as key to discipleship.
- Personal ‐ I love it when self-satisfied people have their bubble popped; let’s hear today’s gospel lesson.
- Some texts need the Biblical background more than others to help set up the reading; just keep it short enough that it keeps the focus on the scripture, not the introduction.
- You don’t need to say the chapter and verse numbers; they’re printed in the bulletin. If you do cite the chapter and verse, please say “chapter” and “verses,” not just the numbers (say, “the gospel of John, chapter three, verses one though seventeen” rather than “John three, one through seventeen”).
- Remember, your scripture reading is also a teaching moment for those who are new to Christianity and don’t have much Biblical background. It’s important to avoid saying things like “as we all know” and “everyone knows this story.”
- There is an MP3 file at the top of this page that has an example of Dena reading the scriptures. She had readings that were pretty dense with content, so she picked a translation that helped, and she read it quite slowly and expressively. This helped people understand what was being read. Notice, too, the simplicity of her introductions.
- Sometime you’ll have a reading that might as well be a college professor lecturing. Some translations of this type of reading are difficult to follow, especially when read aloud. Pick a translation that makes sense to you.
- Sometimes you will have a reading that is poetry. Some translations are less poetic than others. If you’re reading poetry, consider picking a more poetic translation. Play with the sounds and images as you read.
- Sometimes you will have a reading that is a narrative, that tells a story. Some translations tell the story with more engagement than others. Pick a translation that makes the story come alive. Visualize what’s happening as you read it.
- The pastors will send you the readings by Wednesday, along with the order of worship. If they want you to use a particular translation, they will let you know. Otherwise, you can find a translation you like at http://bible.oremus.org/
- Some biblical words can be difficult to pronounce. Check out http://netministries.org/Bbasics/bwords.htm for help.
- The Invitation of Offering is said to the congregation. The Prayer of Dedication is said to God. You can tie them together by remembering who you’re addressing.
- I invite you to present your offerings as an expression of your commitment integrating a deeper sense of service into you life as you walk with God.
Loving God, may these offerings draw us deeper into a life serving your creation and children. Amen.
- Think about what the offering means to you in your walk with God. Think about expressing that. It is best when the invitation to offering comes from your beliefs and is stated with your voice.
- The invitation to offering is a teaching moment in the worship service and it is an invitation to deepening discipleship. It is also an opportunity for you to give part of your testimony about the Christian discipline of sharing. Think about what you want to teach about the meaning of sharing our resources, particularly as it relates to discipleship, and what that has meant to you.
- It’s great when you can tie in the invitation to offering to the theme for the day. Some of this you’ll get from the scripture readings; some from the sermon theme. Pastor Brenda and Pastor Jeff will typically send you a “sermon in a sentence” to help you create your own invitation to sharing and prayer of dedication.
- Remember that the Invitation is not another sermon.
- You will have to cue the ushers to come forward, but try to be subtle about it. Y’all know I don’t like the “the ushers will collect your offerings” language; the ushers aren’t collections agents. They are facilitating the opportunity for people to live into God’s extravagant generosity. So they receive the offerings or they … I invite you to experiment with some language to try to find a way to call the ushers forward without calling them forward. Perhaps something like “The ushers will now wait on you as you present your offerings” or “The ushers will assist you in presenting your gifts before God” or maybe you can even find a way to have the cue for the ushers to be even more organic to your invitation.
Here’s a sample of an excellent reading of one of Paul’s letters – didactic material. Notice Dena’s introduction (she tells people what to listen for), the translation she chose (one with simpler sentence structure), and the speed (slowness, really) with which she reads this complicated passage. She give people the chance to hear what she’s saying and to understand it.
Here’s a sample of an excellent reading from Exodus – narrative material. Notice Mike’s introduction (he invites people to listen for something in particular, which invites them to listen carefully), the translation he chose (sufficiently poetic to help paint the picture), and the varying speeds with which he reads (depending on the importance of the material in a particular paragraph to the overall story). Notice also how familiar he is with the reading, which enables him to make good eye contact with the congregation.