We’ve saved this Faith Milestone until November as we prepare for Advent and other special Sundays that seem to fall in quick succession in the Liturgical calendar year. We invite the students 3rd-5th grade to attend training with our Pastor to learn the ins and outs of serving in the worship service. These acolytes (helpers) learn what to say, how to give eye contact, the logistics of where to go, and the specialness of serving the Lord in community worship.
We promoted the event through social media, the bulletin, the monthly newsletter, and by individual snail mail invitations. I include a brochure outlining all of the Faith Milestone events scheduled throughout the year to impress our intentionality of our partnership in their children’s spiritual journey.
I opened our time with the story of Samuel. He served in the temple as a young child. He probably did every small job you can imagine: emptied trash, cleaned up after others, dusted, swept, made beds, etc. He would also know all the secret places in the temple. He’d know all the warmest places in the winter and coolest places in the summer. And when God called him into ministry, he had grown such great relationships with the leaders at the temple, he went to them (Eli) for clarity, knowledge, and direction. This is what we hope for our students: they’d know the spaces and places and grow in such strong relationships they’d be connected to the local church for life.
Then we played a game of tag of multiple items in the sanctuary so they’d be reminded or learn the vocabulary of the worship space: chancel area, organ, mic stand, communion table, back worship table, narthex, piano, keyboard, lecturn, pulpit, flower table, baptismal font, tech booth, etc.
Pastor took the remaining time teaching them the symbolism and logistics, giving ample opportunity to practice, of lighting candles, offering communion, and using a microphone.
Lighting candles: why we light, when we light, when we extinguish, why we bow, where to go, where not to go, how to light, what happens when it goes out, walking too fast, walking too slow, which aisle to travel, which stick to use, etc. And then we practice.
Offering communion juice: why we use the elements of bread and juice, when we come up, when we finish, where do we look, how do we walk, where do we go, how do we clean up, what do we say to each person, how we smile, etc. And then we practice with a full chalice.
Next, we learn to use a microphone. How to speak, when to speak, when to clear our throats, how to address the microphone, where do we look, how do we hold things and speak, etc. And then we practice with a live microphone.
I jump back in to finish the training explaining the act of hospitality they are doing when serving in the worship services. We address appropriate clothing to wear, shoes to wear, readiness to serve, their freedom to say, “Not today,” when invited to serve, and personal hygiene. When we serve, we don’t want anything we do to be a distraction. So, yes, I went there about brushing teeth, combing hair, taking a shower, and using deodorant. They thought it was funny, but they’ll remember it.
Parents were not invited to stay for this Faith Milestone since we scheduled it right before CLUB345. This gave the students who had never come to CLUB345 a natural ‘in’ to start. This is the night we pack and stack the Christmas shoeboxes. We had a full house!
“Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 1 Samuel 3:4