Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pre-service questions

This morning I took a service at a church I, previously, was absolutely unfamiliar with.

Now, I've spoken at plenty of church services, youth groups, seminars, events and camps before, but never before a congregation where I was going in completely clueless. I knew no one. I had no idea about the building. The church traditions and routine were a complete mystery going in.

But, due to my previous experience, I knew the questions I need to to pose in order to feel confident walking into the church...

Where is the church?
When will the church be open from?
What time does the church service start?
How long is the usual service?
What does the service leader/preacher usually wear? Will I need to wear a suit? Is a tie a nessesity?
How are sermons selected? Lectionary? Series?
How long is the usual sermon? Or, how long can they comfortably sit in the pews?
Do you need to give a kid's talk?
What is the average age and spiritual maturity of the congregation?
Will you need to create a PowerPoint presentation?
Are there reliable capabilities to play a video?
Will you have a pulpit/lecturn/music stand?
Will you have a fixed, handheld or Madonna microphone?
Do any members of the congregation have hearing difficulties?
How many hymns are usually sung?
Will you need to select hymns/music and when will the musicians need to know?
Am I expected to lead the singing?
Does the church use responsive liturgy?
Will the church expect a written order of service?
What bible translation do they use?
Who is the bible reader and will you need to contact them?
Where are the notices placed in the service?
Who is delivering the notices?
Will you need to introduce yourself?
Will you need to write out any publicly spoken prayers?
How does the offering work? Do you collect the offering during a hymn? Does the congregation sing a doxology when the offering is presented? Do you pray after the offering?
What are the odd quirks of the church (and they all have one!)?
Are you expected to greet the congregation at the door after the service?
Will you be financially reimbursed? How will that happen?

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