Beach, Nancy. An Hour On Sunday. creating moments of transformation and wonder
Nancy Beach is director of programming and a teaching pastor at Willow Creek church. In this book she talks about what happens on Sunday morning in her church. The potential for church services impacting people’s lives is explored and illustrated. It is an inspiring book for anyone involved in planning and/or carrying out any part of a Sunday (weekend) service.
Ch. 1. The Wonder Of Sundays.
Weekend services are the major part of most of the church’s ministry. They can provide quiet for the soul and deeply felt emotion. The arts can be key in this experience. “Artists have a God-given ability to view the human condition with lenses that cut to the heart.” 39 Church services must be about life change.
Ch. 2. Intentionality 1. What Are We Trying To Do And Who Are We Trying To Reach?
Awesome celebrations don’t happen without careful planning. E.g. Nehemiah 12 A church must have a clear mission and a strategy on how to accomplish that mission. Know your audience.
Ch. 3. Intentionality 2. What Kind Of Services Should We Create?
Series often coincide with seasons. In multistaff churches casting should be very intentional. Planning and spontaneity can co-exist.
Ch. 4. Leadership. Will Someone Please Point The Way.
The challenge of leading artists is discussed. Four areas are highlighted, “Keep the vision clear, lead up more effectively, be realistic about the amount of output, confront character issues right away.” 77. Careful attention must be given to the process as well as the production of ministry. Love must never be absent from leadership.
Ch. 5. Community. Do We Really Have To Get Along?
“When it comes right down to it, the memories I treasure most are my memories of community.” Nancy Beach. There is a big difference between a team of artists and a community of artists. There are costs involved in doing community. Attention must be given to care, connection, accountability, spiritual formation, and celebration
Ch. 6. Evaluation. How Did It Really Go?
Evaluation is as old as creation when God said ‘It is good’. Without receiving and embracing feedback there is no growth. Learn to deal with defensiveness. Evaluation is a discipline and it must be carried on as such. Speak the truth in love. Guidelines are presented on how to lead an evaluation meeting.
Ch. 7. Well-Ordered Hearts And Lives. How Am I Doing On The Inside?
Six questions are posed that when answered; deal with being personally ready for each Sunday’s (week-end’s) ministry. Basic to this preparation is a 1 Corinthians 13 focus.
Part two- Riding Home From Sundays.
Ch. 8. Excellence. Was It Good?
Excellence is a controversial topic in church cultures. Mediocrity is accepted because of the threat and unattainability of excellence. Excellence is viewed as a form of pride and carnality. “Excellence’s opposite extreme is perfectionism.” 146. Excellence is doing the very best with what you have, be it talent or circumstance.
Ch. 9. Creativity. They Kept My Interest The Whole Time.
Creativity is a God thing. We all have it. It is crucial to maintaining interest. It must be nurtured. Part of creativity is curiosity and courage. It rises to a higher level when it is done in team with exercises like brainstorming. Failure does not destroy creativity.
Ch. 10. Authenticity. Those People Are Real.
Evangelical Christians do not enjoy an enviable reputation in the real world. We all have an ‘authenticity meter’ that tells us if people are real. Even though normal is difficult to define it is part of authenticity. So are humility and honesty.
Ch. 11. Transcendent Moments. “I Was Moved.”
When most people in an audience are moved by an experience, that is a ‘transcendent moment’. “Moments almost always begin with the selection or creation of great raw ingredients.” 208. Some guidelines are suggested for evaluating artistic presentations. Flow is important for creating moments. Plan for a response. Moments can be violated.
Ch. 12. Transformation Teaching. “That Message Impacted Me.”
The importance of teaching is pointed out. A message must be biblical, passionate, relevant, creative, and honest. (Some very practical material here.) Artists and teachers must learn to work together. The author shares a personal experience as a teacher. The term preacher is not used in this presentation. The chapter ends with a number of stories of people who are part of the artistic team at Willow.