Lecture 3
Church Functions

1. Administering Holy Communion
Where to bring it in and how often - Normally one would bring it in before the sermon but sometimes, if the sermon leads toward it, it is more appropriate if it is done afterwards. Some churches have communion every week, some every second week and some once a month, whichever fits in with your community. Remember to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as an overrule.

Leading Holy Communion
Bring the people into prayer and confession. The Lord's Prayer is a good lead in and then the prayer of confession, for example: -
Dear Lord, thank you for the cross. Please forgive me for where I have sinned against you in thought, in word, in deed, and in things I have left undone. Please forgive me these things and all that I have done wrong in my past life. Thank you Lord. Please help me to live for you in righteousness from this day on. Amen.

Taking the communion
Use Luke 22:19-20, Mark 14:22-25, Matthew 26:26-30 etc. Use unleavened bread if possible and red wine or grape juice, serving the bread first followed by the wine. The people can come forward and kneel; they can eat from one bread or little ones given to each of them and after that, drink from one cup or from little ones given to them. Another way would be for the bread and wine to be taken to the people as they remain seated.
After the communion
Always give thanks to the Lord and pray. One can also end it with a song or a final song if there have been communion type songs sung during the communion.

2. Handling money
One can either leave a box at the back of the church or take a weekly offering by handing a plate around the congregation. People must give because they love God and not because they expect double back.
Don't push hard for money. It is far better to pray and allow God Himself to prompt the people to give. It is also of utmost importance that every penny spent is accounted for with receipts and that it is only spent on that for which it is given.

3 Dedication of babies
Once in a while it becomes necessary to have a special service for dedicating babies into the Lord's Kingdom.
The mother can bring the babies up together and the Pastor will bless the babies by the laying on of hands.

4 Baptism
Children or new believers who know what they are doing need to be baptised by full immersion into water. A river, lake, sea or even a bathtub in the church can be used.
Baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit by making a cross with your finger on their forehead. Then pushing them backwards with a supporter behind, immerse them fully into the water where they will die of their old life under the water and rise up in their new life in Jesus.
Some will wear a white robe for this baptism but most will use light clothing.

5. Marriage service
This celebration service to bring together a man and a woman in marriage will include lively Christian songs, a gospel message and the marriage ceremony.
The Pastor will then call the bride and groom forward and get them to speak out the marriage covenant to each other as follows: -
I receive you as my wedded wife/husband, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health from this day forward until death.
They will then put the marriage ring on each other and give each other a kiss.
Joyful singing will conclude the service and the newly weds will walk out of the church with the guests following behind. Confetti will be thrown, or whatever the custom is in the culture will be carried out. The wedding party will follow to the reception.

6. The Funeral Service
The funeral service is to bid the departed person goodbye and to give him a Christian send off, to heaven hopefully, which will be the departed's final destination.
The service will normally start with a couple of chosen hymns or choruses and the coffin will be brought in.
The Pastor will then conduct the funeral, with possibly some of the family giving testimony of his/ her life. Sometimes they will open the coffin so final respects can be given before the coffin is taken out for burial. Scripture is used whilst the coffin is lowered and covered.
There are books for each denomination that will further prepare the Pastor to carry out these ordinances in his or her church. Denominational background and this lecture are only to give a basic outline of church functions.
Questions to think about

  1. Share some different ways of administering communion.
  2. Why is confession so important?
  3. List four other church functions and how to deal with them.
  4. Discuss how you can bring the gospel message into the functions.

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