Commitment-Phobe: I lead my first service
Moving on from atheism, Commitment-Phobe toured churches and tried God, chronicling her progress for Reform. Now, as a new Christian, the journey continues
Strange things happen when your church is between ministers and people go on summer holiday. One of those strange things is me being asked to lead the Sunday service.
I received an email one Friday afternoon from our worship leader. Assuming I was being asked to sing, I had to read the email a few times before I understood that, no, I was not being asked to lead sung worship. I was being asked to lead the entire service! Gulp! I thought: If I just ignore the email, someone else will offer to do it. But by Friday evening, I had heard nothing more and felt torn – between fear of doing it and fear of regretting not doing it. So, as I tend to do when I’m faced with something scary (but not life threatening) I thought I’d give it a go. And that is how I ended up leading the service on Sunday.
The service format had been created by the combined efforts of the worship leader and the children and youth leader, so I was essentially following a script. My job was to welcome, lead an opening prayer, then the confession, the absolution and the peace and then, at the end, perform the blessing and dismissal. Or, as I described them to a friend on the day, ‘the in-between bits’. The only improvised part was the opening prayer and any further prayer or praise I felt inclined to speak in response to the service.
The day before, I realised I had never led a prayer in front of my church. In fact, I wasn’t sure what
made a good prayer. I knew there are prayers that make you want to say: ‘Amen’, and others where
your mind wanders off and you have to keep dragging yourself back to listen.
I looked up opening prayers on the internet …
This is an extract from the October 2016 edition of Reform.