Worship service focused on interactive & communal exploration of scripture

I’ve tried this… and it worked for us – a congregation with about 90 people out that Sunday.

Resources needed: copies of scripture reading for each triad; bulletin board (or wall); tacks / stick-tack / tape; pens/pencils; paper;

• Call to Worship; Prayer of Approach; Opening Hymn (6 minutes)
• Ground-rules explained:
o respect of person, especially when we disagree!;
o This is about learning together – not about trying to convince others in the group that my understanding is more right than your understanding;
o the Facilitator is responsible for maintaining community; we agree to abide by their direction;
o We’ll keep to time. (3 minutes)
• Congregation breaks up in to triads. (3 minutes)
• Focus scripture is read, slowly and clearly! (It would be helpful if each triad had a copy of the scripture.) (3 minutes)
• Worship leadership explains some of the historical context of the passage. (“Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”… ok… as best we know them.) (5 minutes)
• Hymn (4 minutes)
• Ask triads to come up with one question that the passage raises in them. When they come up with their question, they print it on a sheet, and post it on the board. (5 minutes)
• Worship leadership tells the triads that each of the questions are going to be read out loud. Each triad is invited to choose a question to which they would like to give a response. (Not every question will be responded to. That’s ok! Multiple triads may choose to respond to the same question… that’s ok, too!) (5 minutes)
• Ask triads to put together their thoughts on the question they’ve chosen – trying to keep the responses to 2 minutes! (7 minutes)
• Invite people to write down their own responses or thoughts as they hear the triads share their responses. If responses cause more questions, write the questions on the paper and post them on the board. (10 – 20 minutes)
• If people have responses to what they’ve heard that they would like to share with the congregation, they are invited to do so… remembering to keep to the 2 minute time limit. (10 minutes)
• Offering (5 minutes)
• Triads are asked to share within their group one thing they’ve learned and one thing they want to do with what they’ve learned. (9 minutes)
• Focus scripture is read again. (3 minutes)
• Prayers of the people; Closing Hymn; Commissioning / Benediction (7 minutes)
• Total amount of time… ish!… (1hr15min to 1hr25min);

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