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We celebrated Communion right after I was ordained, and I led Communion for the first time... After it was all done, and back at home, I asked my nephew (whose mother is Catholic) what he thought about Communion. He replied, "5 star rating!" "What? Why such an enthisiastic response?" I asked him. "Because the elements were delivered to me in my seat! I didn't have to go up and get them!" he replied. :)

Ever since that Sunday, and for every Communion Sunday since (practised every seven weeks), I deliberate on how we will engage in the Lord's Table that Sunday. How does it fit into the theme for the day? Which of the many messages out of Communion should be highlighted this time? (Forgiveness of Sins, Salvation by Grace, Resurrection to New Life, to name but a few) How should Communion feel - solemn or celebratory? And finally what method of distribution best suits the theme, message and feel?

The method of distribution is for the most part one of two options. At the risk of being risque, we affectionately call the two options, Sit'n Sip, or, Rip'n Dip. In addition, sometimes we have the people gather around in small groups and participate group by group encouraging the groups to be mixed with friends and strangers; other times it is in single file that the participants in Communion come up to receive the elements. And always, there is story, scripture, and songs that accompany the eating and the drinking at the Lord's Table.

In the same way that Jesus comes to us with varied but consistent messages, so does the Lord's Supper come to us here at Maranatha. This we do, in remebrance of Him.

Dale Melenberg on September 4, 2012

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Joy, thanks for your post, and thanks for the good article on Communion. It is very thorough and thought provoking, especially on the five senses. Thanks!

Hi Ron,

Thanks for this post.

Every since reading the EFC report from 2012, i can't help but see similarities in the main factors of youth ministry. They said the main factors influencing youth to leave, stay, or return to church were: how well we do parenting, truth, community, and providing environments to experience God.

At the church i serve, we hold up/out three values: Believe in Jesus, Belong to God's family, and Bless every neighbor. Our youth group focuses on all three, incorporating them into their gatherings and scatterings. 

It is my humble opinion that the youth feel very connected to what their parents are connected to, and hopefully they are influencing each other.

So i like what the thirds are saying as they incorporate very similar foci.

May we always find God finding us,


Hello Mark,

thanks for posting this article.

Ron De Vries, you indicate that you have done this with some youth in the past.

Can either of you, or others, suggest particular texts that you have used? 

And, did you have a theme or goal that you wanted to achieve with the youth?

I am wondering if there are particular texts that might help broach subjects that the youth are struggling with...

Many thanks!


Thanks again Mark, and you too Ron,

currently our Jr. high group is reading the Bible together out loud, one verse and paragraph at a time. And we are using about ten different translations, so the kids have to listen well. The goal is to improve their reading of the Bible skills, attenuating their ears to the variances. The experience has proven to be quite effective thus far.

the next skill we want to teach them is to engage in reading the Bible as a conversation with God (active listening). So I wondered how a text might end up speaking to a youth about 'discrimination' and/or 'bullying' should we read the story of Hagar? Or how a youth might ponder suicide when reading the story of Elijah after the Mt. Carmel story?

based on your comments, I am hearing you say that we need to allow the youth to actively listen and if the story speaks to them about such thoughts/actions - great! But do not attempt to deliberately the youth there.

if all this sounds great, thanks!

if I missed something, please comment.


Sorry for the fuzziness of my post.

the two opposing arguments were ... One stood for man's culpability and responsibility for the groaning we see in creation, and the Other stood for God's sovereignty and Christ's ultimate control over creation (in Him all things hold together).

Sorry Scott, I can't help but query...

"God's favourite way of nurturing and sustaining (and generating) faith of his people" is preaching?

i suspect this statement comes from your passion and position... but I wonder... Is it really God's favourite way?

If that's true then we all must become preachers.

what about other means that include the whole body of Christ? What about parents, and friends, and teachers, and ...?

just asking...

Thank you Laura for the spark of creativity!

While I have used readings, and flipcharts, and videos to prompt discussion in the Profession of Faith Class, I am now inspired to use crayons and cover the table with doodling paper. Rather than just me drawing on the flipchart, I'll get these 'once children of our church' - now adults - to render their own drawing of the Church as we talk about the history of the church, and their depiction of who God is when we talk about the God who reveals himself, etc, etc.

Thanks for the spark!

Hi Allen, (Dale here)

Hello Pete, to borrow a phrase - you had me at - It works.

Please tell me more about successful triads - I am intending to launch such in in the fall.


Posted in: A Sober Warning

If I read MacDonald's article rightly, then he was making a call for the laity to understand what a preacher is called to do; and a call upon preachers to not allow the lazy ethics of the laity to deter him/her from their calling. My spin was to view it from the pews... I feel like we need to be able to trust our pastors before we allow them to preach to us. So basically the call is to pastor first, then preach... "to shape lives for the better, and that involves helping people learn to do what’s right in life, even when what’s right is also difficult.".

Posted in: A Sober Warning

Often I will say at the beginning of a church service that we come to be renewed, refreshed, reminded of and in what God has done for us through his Son Jesus Christ. But in several conversations with other pastors I can't help but observe that many people are simply looking for 'respite'. The world is a hard place to live in; there are many cares upon their shoulders. So despite the fact that "Pastors believe they’re called to shape lives for the better, and that involves helping people learn to do what’s right in life, even when what’s right is also difficult.", sometimes all the people want is relief - some comfort - someone to kiss their owie. Only after we have met this need may we attempt "to save [their] souls by elevating people’s values and desires." Only then can clergy "ask for personal challenges, in areas like daily devotions and outreach ministries." I think this observation adds a different spin than what Jeffrey MacDonald says is happening in the pews. (above quotations are from Jeffrey MacDonald's article 'Congregations Gone Wild'.)

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