I remember the day when we were asked or we asked our congregations to turn to page # and read together a printed responsive reading. Although the content was filled with God's Word, it seemed that we or they just went through the motions. Yesterday, as a response to our remembering Christ through the Lord's Supper I led our congregation through a responsive reading that was projected.
Remember that we had just shared in a sacred moment, taking the elements of the Lord's Supper, and interspersed with those actions we worshiped through singing.
So there should have been excitement about reading God's word that was a response to what we had shared...but it didn't start out that way. I had planned that it would be that kind of a start.
After I read the first leader line and they responded, I stopped the whole process and prompted them about how we should be reading the words with excitement. We then started again...wow what a difference. There was life in the words.
Remembering how things once were does influence how we plan, however, we need to evaluate on the content and quality of an element not on how it was used last.
Responsive readings do have a place in worship, especially when based on God's Word.
Getting the congregation to participate with energy is our job and not much different than encouraging them to participate in any other part of the service.
Here is our setlist including the responsive reading.
Band Opener: All About Your Glory We asked the band to play this because we would sing it later in the service.
Opening Prayer As much as I like to start with something energetic, it is often more effective to start with silence that allows us to put aside the clutter of thoughts and focus on God.
Songs: Indescribable Laura Story is a good writer and good songs stay in our rotation longer You Alone Can Rescue We introduced this some months ago as a choir song, this time the choir led but the congregation was asked to sing also. He Paid the Debt This is an original song by our staff. You can see more information here.
Scripture, Songs and Communion: I Peter 3:18 Jesus Paid It All A great text to use as we start communion. We used an arrangement based on the Passion recording. Communion elements were passed as we sang this song. Take the Bread Worthy is the Lamb We change the phrase 'darling of heaven' to 'treasure of heaven'. Take the Cup Responsive Reading
leader: Christ is risen indeed people: Yes, Christ is risen leader: Christ will live forever people: Yes, Christ is alive leader: We are overcome and overwhelmed at this miracle people: Hallelujah, Jesus is alive leader: Make us instruments to tell Your story people: Yes Lord...let us live for Your glory All: hallelujah, Jesus is alive.
All About Your Glory Tommy Walker writes some great songs and one of the reasons our musicians like them is that they don't follow the form or chord progressions as most of today's worship music.