The opening lines of worship reveal much about the congregation’s notions of what worship is supposed to be and do. Just as the first minute can set the tone for a sports game, a business meting, a job interview, or a musical performance, so the opening words of a worship service communicate expectations that will influence worshipers’ experience of the whole service. Think about these opening words, and imagine what is being communicated in each case about what worship is:
“Alleluia, Sing to Jesus” (lyrics to an opening song)
Good morning, and welcome to worship!
There’s plenty of room up front:
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We’re going to start now, so a bit of quiet please.
Hey, good morning. I said good morning! Welcome to Vanguard Church. There seems to be a lot of energy in the room. Let’s start off by standing and singing “You Are Worthy.”
Grace to you, and peace, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(For the whole list of questions and to read worship reports, visit http://www.shipoffools.com/Mystery/index.html.)
—Debra and Ron Rienstra, Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry, 48