CHANGES TO THE LORD’S SUPPER
I really like the way we conduct the Lord’s Supper at Bethel Church. I love its “hands-on” character—the way we move to the front of the sanctuary and participate with words and actions before returning to our seats. I love the sense of community I experience when we are gathered in small circles. I love looking into the eyes of my brothers and sisters to assure them that the body/blood of Christ was given for them.
So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that not everyone one likes our current approach to the Lord’s Supper as much as I do. I have learned that it can be uncomfortable for some of our less extroverted members and can be a significant barrier to people unfamiliar with our church’s traditions—notably guests who are exploring the Christian faith.
In the last years, the Worship Arts Team, the Church Renewal Lab Team, and the staff have all discussed the matter. We have even received some unsolicited feedback. So, the Worship Arts Team has decided to experiment with how we conduct communion to find the way that best suits our church.
On the last Sunday of this month, we will do the Lord’s Supper the way it was once done at Bethel, and is often done in other churches, by passing the elements down the rows one at a time. Then, in February we will return to circles at the front of the sanctuary. We will alternate between these two approaches for several months. We may even a try different format altogether, at some point. Before summer arrives we will attempt to discern which format, or combination of formats, best serves our members and mission.
Ultimately, it is not how we do the Lord’s Supper but who and what we are celebrating that matters. Nonetheless, we do want to adopt the approach that is most enjoyable for us and most effective for our mission. As we pursue this time of discernment in a spirit of unity, extending grace to one another, we are confident that we will find the format that is right for us.
One other small change to the Lord’s Supper is that we will not be celebrating it each Sunday in Lent—the six weeks leading up to Easter. Rather, we will observe it on only the last Sunday of the month, as we do during the rest of the year, and, of course, on Good Friday.
We invite your feedback. You can contact Kevin Rietema, Pastor Tom, Pastor Ryan or another member of the Worship Arts Team (Robyn Dubbeldam, Michele Huisman, Jessica Rietema, or Melissa Scharfenberg). –Pastor Tom
Come here for news on what is happening in Bethel Church from our Pastors.