This post is for preachers, worship leaders, and church leaders but hopefully of interest to the rest of us.
How you introduce anything sets the scene, gives it its foundation and hopefully captures the attention and interest of those being spoken to. I believe Rob Bell is a master at this and below is an audio clip (6 minutes) from his last message at his church, Mars Hill Bible Church*. He does a number of things in this introduction. - welcomes people, tells them what he will be preaching on, uses humour to engage people - but most importantly he talks about the communion they will take at the end of meeting (0:57-2:52).
I've heard Rob introducing communion before usually at the end of a message leading to a time of ministry, which he does at the end of this message as well. This time he shares the centrality of communion to Mars Hill and the importance they give it. What struck me personally is the depth this act can bring us into God's love. I found myself wanting to respond to invitation. It made me think do we just go through the motions with communion, should it have a higher place in our gatherings?
So if you are a preacher, worship or church leader why not listen to this clip a few times, if only as exercise in learning from a great communicator (listen to the wonderful prayer he says before he starts the message 4:16-5:44). I pray that we would all see more and more of the depth of this great sacrament that we have been given.
* no the other Mars Hill, yes there are two!