This last Sunday morning at our services we kicked off the service with a great performance of the classic Beatles track "Here Comes the Sun" which our band did fantastically well.
It fitted really well with the theme of our service and the last part of our "In the Meantime" series.
It led me to think about service 'openers' and why we do them and I thought maybe I should explain! We try to start all of our services with some kind of 'opener' after we have welcomed everyone. This is a strategic move on our part and we do them because we want everyone to relax and prepare to enjoy the service. At our morning services we have a huge range of people. We have young people, adults, older people and all ages in between! We also have people who have been Christians for a very long time and those who are just starting their journey of faith and those who wouldn't call themselves Christians but who are keen to find out a bit more about God. We have people who have been going to church for all their lives and people who are at church for the very first time.
A key to helping everyone in all these different groups is to try to generate a common feel or emotion early on in the service that we can all share regardless of our situation. That is why we start with an opener. Sometimes it is a film clip or other video, sometimes it is a drama sketch, sometimes a performance song, sometimes an interactive quiz. The idea is that we can all share in it regardless of whether we are old or young, Christian or non Christian, church goer or first timer. It puts everyone at ease and hopefully sets us up for the rest of the service. We try very hard to have our openers clearly link to the theme of the service as a way of introducing it.
In this last series we have been doing, I think that the range and quality of openers has been the best yet and I am really looking forward to other openers in the future!