The Order for Morning Fellowship

The Cacophony: Here, many loud prayers, in English and other prayer languages, shall be offered simultaneously. And after these, followeth a long pastoral prayer, the people devoutly sitting. The Minister shall begin with “O Lord, we just really praise you,” and continue with selected prayer requests, as many as he can recall from memory… being sure to avoid such vain repetition as the Lord’s Prayer.

Continuing my series on Resources for Liturgical Worship…

… NOT!

by Paul and Cindy Erlandson*

Altar Call
Typical altar call

Fellowshippers shall enter the sanctuary garrulously, centering their attention on each other, and gaily exchanging their news of the past week.

If there be an overhead projector, the acolytes shall light it.

The Minister shall begin Morning Fellowship by chanting the greeting, “Good Morning.”

Then shall not more than 50% and not less than 10% of the fellowshippers respond, chanting in this wise: “Good Morning.”

And NOTE, that if it be a hot day, the Minister shall at his discretion add: “‘Tall don’t mind if I take off my jacket,” draping said vestment over the pastoral chair, or stuffing it in some other place he may deem convenient.

The Glad-handing of the Peace
Then may the Minister say: “Why don’t we all shake hands with the person on our left and on our right and say ‘Good morning.’”

The glad-handing may be omitted, provided it be said on any Sunday when at least one visitor is present, and on Mother’s Day and Missionary Sunday.

When the general hubbub has subsided, the Minister shall say: “You may be seated.”

Then, if there be any visitors present, the Minister shall embarrass them by commanding: “Will all of our visitors this morning please stand up and introduce themselves.”

The Old Hymn and Special Music
During the last stanza of the Old Hymn (not to have been composed before 1900 nor after 1950) the accompaniment tape shall be slipped into the sound system, or the organist shall warm up with a few lively runs up the keyboard.

Then shall be sung the Special Music appointed for the day.

The Reading
Then shall be read an arbitrary Scripture passage of the Minister’s choosing, so long as it does not relate to the time of the Church year or to the sermon, and is not more than two verses.

The Sharesicles, Prayersicles, and Praiseicles of the Day Here may be inserted a time for individual fellowshippers to give their testimonies and share what the Lord has just really done in their lives.

Then, if the fellowshippers be charismatically inclined, shall follow:

The Cacophony
Here, many loud prayers, in English and other prayer languages, shall be offered simultaneously.

Prayer for the State of a Bunch of Individual Christians. And after these, followeth a long pastoral prayer, the people devoutly sitting. The Minister shall begin with “O Lord, we just really praise you,” and continue with selected prayer requests, as many as he can recall from memory, for no less than ten and no more than twenty minutes, being sure to avoid such vain repetition as the Lord’s Prayer.

The Offertory Sentences
“Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.”

The Arminian Creed
“I believe in God who once was Almighty, but sovereignly chose not to be sovereign; and in Jesus, my personal Lord and Savior, Who loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life, Who came into my heart when I asked him to, and is now seated at the right ventricle of my belief in Him, Who walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way, and tells me I am His own, Who shall come again with secrecy to rapture us out of here, Whose Kingdom shall last one thousand years; And in the Holy Ghost, who did some weird stuff at Pentecost, but doesn’t do much more anymore except speak secretly to the hearts of individual believers.

And I believe in this local, independent, and powerless church, insofar as it is in line with my personal interpretation of the Bible and does stuff! Like: in one believer’s baptism for the public proof of my decision for Christ; and in giving my personal testimony for soul winning. And I look for the identity of the Antichrist, and know that the Last Days are now upon us. Ay-men.”

The Sermon Hymn
The Song leader shall then stand and say (in case any of the fellowshippers are unable to follow the instructions in the bulletin):

“Let’s all stand and sing number four hunnert ‘n’ thirty-one. Hymn four hunnert’n’ thirty-one, ‘I come to the Garden Alone.’ Together now — let’s really sing it out!” At his discretion, he may add, “Women only on the second verse, men only on the fourth, and let’s all join in on the chorus.” And NOTE, that the third verse of any hymn may (and usually should) be skipped, at the Song leader’s discretion.

The Sermon
The Minister shall expound on any of his pet topics for no less than forty-five and no more than sixty-one minutes, or until a handful of fellowshippers have fallen asleep, whichever comes last. If this happens, the preacher shall expound on an amusing anecdote every five minutes.

The Blurtus Interruptus
At unspecified intervals, various fellowshippers shall interrupt the sermon with the words “Ay-men”, “Preach it brother”, and other such phrases deemed by them to be appropriate.

The Invitation (to coffee and donut hour)

The Benediction
Except in the event that an Evangelist has given the sermon, in which case he shall forget the Benediction and proceed directly to:

The Divine Service of the Holy Altar Call

I. The Preface
The Evangelist shall say: “Poor, helpless Jesus has been knocking on the door of your heart for so long, wanting so badly to come in.”

II. The Uncomfortable words
“If you’ve been putting off this decision, remember that you could walk out this door after the service and get hit by a truck”.

III. The Prayer of Consternation
“Oh, Lord Jesus, if there’s anyone in this room who’s never gotten saved by saying the Sinner’s Prayer and inviting You into their heart, vouchsafe to remind them that this could be their only chance.”

IV. The Sursum Handus
“I want every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking around. Nobody’s going to see you if you slip up that hand. If you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your heart and be your personal Lord and Savior, you’re on your way to Hell. So slip up that hand. I see that hand. Yes, I see that hand, too.”

NOTE, that the organist, in the event the Evangelist has not finished his plea by the time she has played sixteen stanzas of “Just As I Am”, shall continue playing something very slowly while he pleads.

V. Benedictus Qui Venit (Blessed Is He That Cometh Down the Aisle)
“If you want Blessed Assurance that you’ll go to Heaven when you die — If you want to be there When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder — even if you had rededicated yourselves to Jesus five times before, you just come forward as we sing the seventeenth and final stanza of “Just As I Am.”

*I’m reproducing it here from another Website. Compare this with the simple worship service at Pasig Covenant Reformed Church, which is typical of services in the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA).

Gathering for Worship
Call to Worship: Psalm 119:89-96
Invocation: Psalm 124:8
God’s Greeting: Philippians 1:1-2
Opening Prayer
Song of Praise: Forever Settled in the Heavens (Psalm 119:89-96)

Confession of Sin
Reading of the Law: Exodus 20:1-17
General Confession
Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 51:17

Response of Gratitude
The Creed: Nicene Creed
Song of Thanksgiving: My Grieving Soul Revive, O Lord (Psalm 119:25-32)
Congregational Prayer

Service of the Word
Scripture Lessons: Psalm 40:6-8; Matthew 5:17-20 (text)
Song of Preparation: That Man is Blest (Psalm 1:1-6)
Sermon: The Sermon on the Mount: Why Preach Christ from the Law and the Prophets

Leaving to Serve
Song of Response: How Vast the Benefits Divine
Doxology: Gloria Patri
Amen! Three-Fold Amen
Benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14


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3 thoughts on “The Order for Morning Fellowship”

  1. Except for the speaking in tongues part, the description above very well fits the way the service is conducted in the church that I used to attend in the Philippines. Even when I was still a Fundamentalist, I was already bothered with some of the things that were being observed like the special numbers, which tended to be highly sentimental (like as if one was singing a love song), and the part where everybody had to stand up and shake hands with everybody while “Ligaya ng Buhay” is being sung. Also, whenever I would be the one preaching, it was necessary for me to request whoever was in charge of ‘Scripture reading’ to pick a text that was related to the text of the sermon. If I didn’t make that request, it would be as if one just chose the text at random. Looking back at what I’ve experienced then, it all seems like a jumble of things that people thought would be nice to do during a Sunday service. The irony of it all is that they had the gall to call it order (Order of worship).

    1. This would be totally hilarious if it’s not real. But there are probably many who might wander into this article who will get offended because this is what goes on in their churches every Sunday.

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