Recently I led a funeral service where many of the attendees were not regular worshipers. In fact, it might be safe to say they never attended, nor had a belief system about God, nor could possibly think about encounters with God. I could certainly be wrong about that. Regardless though, this raised a few questions in my mind.
Before the funeral began, a thought went through my head – that I was going to have to explain everything to the people. There would need to be an explanation about communion – not just what we did, but why we did it. There would need to be an explanation about the hymns, where to find them, and more. There would need to be an explanation about the passing of the peace. The entire service would be foreign for many people. And here was an opportunity to explain it to people.
I’ve never had to explain everything we did in worship before – all at once. I’m not sure how I did with explaining everything, but that’s ok, it was a good exercise anyway.
This has got me thinking about when people come to worship – visitors. We can’t assume people know what’s going on.
There is an opportunity to explain. And an opportunity to bring someone into relationship with others, with God, and with facing the realities that exist around them.
How would you go about explaining parts of the service to someone who has no experience with church? How would you explain communion to someone who has never heard of Jesus?