Yesterday, we held our church services around a campfire. Inside. We built the campfire on the sanctuary floor. It was cool. Or warm. Intimate, at any rate.
Pastor Tim used the campfire theme with his sermon from Romans, drawing out themes regarding intimate fellowship and being open with each other. Chris, our worship leader, used a yellow light and one of our two fog machines, surrounding them with real logs, to create a realistic looking campfire. We rearranged the chairs in the sanctuary to face the middle–three rows on each side, curved inward. Every so often, a little bit of fog would squirt up, like smoke. My fear was that it would cause people to bolt for the door, thinking the place was going up in flames, but nothing of the sort happened.
The attendance was down from our usual 140-some, thanks to snow the night before. But that just made it a little bit more intimate. I found a Quicktime video clip of a flame, which looped continuously behind Pastor Tim as he preached. Another nice little touch.
The music team went unplugged. The three guitarists used their acoustic guitars, and sat on stools. I gave the keyboard a week off, opting for egg shakers and a tambourine instead. Larry, our drummer, sat on a white plastic bucket and drummed on two other buckets. For the closing number, the three guitarists sat crosslegged on the floor around the campfire as they played.
After the service, people came up around the campfire to see how it worked. In my home group that night, people talked about it more. It was a very effective service.
Communion was also part of the service. And here’s where we did something that I thought some people might have trouble with. We set up tables around the periphery where people could go for the elements. There was grapejuice and crackers for people who preferred that. But people could also take communion with hot chocolate and pumpkin bread, if they desired. I didn’t hear anyone question that idea. Since we’re a fairly new church (7 years), there’s a lot of stuff we can get away with that you wouldn’t want to even think about in an established church.
I initially thought the hot chocolate and pumpkin bread was a bad idea, a bit too risky. But as we talked about it at music practice, I realized that these are just symbols. Already, by using grapejuice and (sometimes) pieces of crackers, we’re using food items that Jesus didn’t use. These are just symbols. And since I don’t want to discourage my pastor from thinking out of the box, I gladly signed off on the idea (not that I needed to).
I don’t know how the hot chocolate would have gone down. The music team took communion early that morning as part of our practice, and we used grapejuice and crackers. I played the piano throughout the communion time, so I didn’t get a chance to partake of this experiment. I would like to have given it a try.Leave a comment