Communion services are a mainstay in the mainlines, but many non-denom contemporary churches rarely if ever observe the sacrament.
These churches are often “seeker driven” or “seeker sensitive.” In other words, they don’t do anything too churchy that might scare away visitors.
In one Big Contemporary Church where I played for several years I can only remember having communion two times. I’ve never seen another Big Contemporary Church ever have communion, or even acknowledge it exists.
In these types of churches the music is merely a perfunctory formality before that all-important sermon by the rock-star pastor (a music director at a Big Contemporary Church famously told me they actually discourage worship from happening for fear it’ll get in the way of the sermon.)
Besides the fact that Jesus commands us to observe communion in Luke 22:19 (“do this in remembrance of Me”) the act simply injects a spiritual, reflective element into the performance worship wasteland.
A contemporary communion service really isn’t much different from a traditional one. Variety comes with how it’s planned:
Music: Of course, a contemporary communion service will have contemporary music. What should set it apart is the worship flow: music is the glue that ties your service together and that’s even more true for a communion service. Have a capable keyboardist or acoustic guitarist underscore softly during introductions, directions and Scripture readings, then flow directly into an appropriate song. Benedictions, another lost art in contemporary churches, provide a recap and sense of finality to the communion experience.
Format: I’ve written before about how well Seacoast Church blends the contemporary with the sacred. They have a response time after each sermon where the congregation can choose to take communion, go to a prayer station or light a candle. Communion works best after the sermon – people aren’t ready to be that intimate with God right after the hustle and bustle of making their way to church. I recommend starting with a short praise set followed by the sermon and communion.
How often should you have communion? There’s no set schedule – some churches have it every week, some once a month and some once a quarter.
Spend a little extra time over the next few weeks contemplating how you can make your communion services a little extra special this year.