We are all aware that finding people to lead worship is something of a challenge; we’ve not got as many ministers as we’d like, we rely heavily on lay preachers and retired ministers – many of whom have, entirely understandably, lessened their commitments during the pandemic. Worship teams in churches might find it a manageable challenge to put a service together but often don’t want to try and develop a sermon.
For some time I have had a steady trickle of people asking if it is possible to use the Daily Devotions Sunday Service for pulpit supply and I’ve always said “yes, of course!” The service we send out each Sunday morning, however, has more of a Radio feel about it – there aren’t gaps between the different items of the service and if one was using it for onsite worship one would need to make liberal use of the pause button! I’ve also been asked if it was possible to produce video versions of the services as these would be more useful for pulpit supply.
I am pleased to say that the preachers for the Advent and Christmas run of services have all agreed to provide their introductions, sermons and blessings in video format so we can experiment with a video version of the Sunday Service which might be a possible pulpit supply tool for those churches who have Audio Visual technology. The service will be provided, ahead of time, as a Powerpoint file and could be used in a number of ways:
the congregation could use all the service on the screen and sing along to the hymns – the words will be in the Powerpoint. All that is needed is someone to set up the technology before the service and advance to the next slide when needed.
An elder could lead the prayers and play the Powerpoint for hymns, introduction, blessing and sermon. Someone authorised by the Synod could preside at a Celebration of Holy Communion.
An elder could do as described above and the local musician play for hymns – or other hymns could be substituted than those chosen for the service.
This is an experiment and we’ve not been this technical before so I would be grateful for feedback, in January, about how many churches used the services as a form of pulpit supply and what the reactions were. I know of a group of churches in the North Western Synod who are going to use these so that each of the churches uses one of them during Advent as a supplement to locally led services. This might be very useful if your church is struggling to fill an Advent or Christmas Sunday – this year Boxing Day falls on a Sunday and might be a particular challenge. We have a full run of services for Advent, a Midnight Communion for Christmas Eve and a Christmas Day service as well as the regular Sunday services.
If you think this may be of interest to your church please forward this email to your pulpit supply secretary. Those who wish to have these services ahead of time can do so by signing up for our Early Bird list here.
with every good wish
The Rev’d Andy Braunston Co-ordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC