Any Churches Conducting Bilingual Worship Service?


Anyone out there conducting bilingual worship services? Our church is exploring the idea of merging with a Chinese-American CRC that has rented our space and partnered with us for years. We're both quite small congregations and don't want to do separate services, at least not for the entire service. Any advice on the best way to do this? Is anyone using a live translation system? Any advice or tips would be appreciated!

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Yes! Our church plans combined services several times a year, Spanish and English. It is a continual learning process together, trial and error and a whole lot of listening! To start, I'd suggest bringing the worship leaders or teams from both congregations together to explore why you want to worship together and how that could look. I've found that focusing on relationship is more important than logistics, yet logistics are pretty important too. We have simultaneous translation available but songs are sung in both languages. Worship teams take turns leading. Sometimes we'll have prayer or scripture be only in Spanish, but the English words are then on screen to read. Food together before or after is a great way to encourage hospitality and togetherness as well. If you don't want to be together for the entire service, perhaps you could sing and pray together to start--each church leading a part--and separate for the sermon, coming together again for a meal after. It is a beautiful thing to worship together! 

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Given the widespread use of cellphones an easy way to do "live translation" would be to set up a "conference call" by providing everyone requiring the translation a number to call.  They should mute their own phone and wear earphones.  If the service is being piped into another room or can be heard outside the atrium the person providing the translation can sit there and simply speak into his/her phone and everyone else on the conference call can hear the translation. We did this for a funeral and it worked well. We had simple instructions and the phone number on slips of paper which we handed out.  (Ideally those would be translated as well.)

During Synod and at Inspire 2019 we used software is called  It was actually built for translating church services and it worked great.  For it to work you do need to have good WiFi/internet access.