Communion services are one of the most important services we have the opportunity to lead our churches in on a regular basis. Communion should never be something that becomes so routine that it loses it impact, it should also be something that is done regularly and with great intentionality.
When planning a communion service, here are five things to keep in mind:
- How we get there is important: The song choices and the preaching in a communion service need to compliment the Lord’s Supper. There may be time in an exegetical series where the passage does not directly apply to communion, but every message and passage should be able to be drawn back to the Gospel. That transition to or from the sermon must be thought through, so that the sermon doesn’t feel fragmented from the message of the Gospel that is proclaimed in communion. In the same way, the songs that are in the service leading up to communion must help the worship participants prepare their heart for the partaking of communion.
- What is explained is important: The explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is important. We must be clear about what we are remembering and what the elements represent. A good soteriology will allow salvation to explained well without over-emphasizing the elements themselves or the actions of those partaking. The depravity of man, the sovereignty of God, the love of Christ and His death AND resurrection must all be explained.
- Who it is for should be explained: Communion is for those who have a good standing with Christ and His bride. It is also important that those taking communion have publicly proclaimed their faith through baptism. This should be explained from the front so that all those in attendance understand who is supposed to be partaking in the Lord’s Supper. It should also be clear if you are inviting all believers to part-take in communion with you, or if your church requests that the meal be taken only by though who call your church their home church.
- The transitions to and from must be intentional: When planning a communion service, the transitions to and from the communion ordinances must be smooth and intentional. If we are rushing to the table or away from it, we may lose the importance of it for those who are partaking. There is a lot of pressure to get our services within 70 or 80 minutes—and we can still uphold this, but it may be mean that something else is cut from the service on Communion Sunday so that there is adequate time for transition and reflection.
- Provide time for reflection: There must be time and space in the communion service for people to repent and confess their sin to God. If communion is too rushed, it will not allow for proper reflection and the contrition of hearts before the Lord.At our church, we are intentional (now… we didn’t used to be) to make sure that people have adequate time to pray and reflect around the Lord’s Supper. This is not a drive-thru meal or a “Snack on the go”. Reflecting on the death and resurrection of Christ requires time. In our rushed society, let’s not rush this special chance to remember God’s grace on us and the forgiveness of our sins.