We had a nice 'ordinary' service at Greytown today. No complication over preachers, no confusion, no special events, just a plain Sunday service - and it was good. We are starting to get into a rhythm. My style is shaping the services -I had no idea beforehand what this would look like, but a particular shape and order of service is starting to emerge. The unexpected thing is that I have introduced a hymn into the order of service - my tendency is usually to go for contemporary. They already sing 'choruses' which are upbeat and cheerful and sometimes are contemporary, but I felt that a hymn would help the congregation to worship. It adds depth. Good contemporary songs also have that depth, but they are much harder to sing!
We started 'passing the peace' or greeting each other in the service a few weeks ago. It was obviously a bit strange to them at first, but they have now got the idea and we have a few minutes of friendly disorder. This has always been important to me and it changes the atmosphere in the service in an amazing way.
The first or second time that I was there I, at the spur of the moment, left time during the intercessory prayers for people to call out the names of those who were on their hearts. We have done that every week since and people participate in an amazing way. It doesn't take too much time, people say no more than the name, and yet the congregation is able to share in praying for each other in an awesome way.
As things have settled down I have started playing my guitar with our amazing piano lady and the 'choir' has started to sing from behind the piano making an acceptable worship group - all without any urging on my part. They are now suggesting a 'praise and worship' service - although I think we might all have different ideas about what that means.
My (and my colleague's) brief from the superintendent was primarily to provide continuity and stability to the congregation. I think that is starting to happen. They can come knowing who they will see and pretty much what they will get from the service. The service structure is sound and fairly consistent. The sermon comes with some variety - it could be Akhona or me preaching, and I tend to be quite different from week to week, so it is hopefully not boring in its stability.
God has been very good to us - I feel very blessed by him at Greytown.