A lot of people assume that planting a liturgical church is the kiss of death. “Do the contemporary thing, it’ll draw in the young people” they say. But planting a liturgical church is doable and its dividends are great, though it takes some up-front planning. So here are some tips:
- Prepare your launch team to sing in parts and be familiar with your music (hymns and Psalms) before you officially launch the church. There is nothing sadder than seeing a poorly executed liturgical service.
- Since you will likely be in a rented facility, create a “church on the go” with a collapsible but high-quality wood pulpit and communion table. Tower Stool made a custom communion table for us that folds up into a 4 inch wide package that fits in any trunk and they can do puplits or lecturns too.
- Buy a good-quality basic set of paraments (runners and scarfs) in the four basic colors (green, purple, white red). This splash of color will draw the eye toward the center of activity, the communion table. I like Chagall Design. They are a Catholic supply house but have great prices and great quality products. Most Protestant-oriented church supply houses seem to have their much cheaper products made in China. Marc Chagall makes his products right here in Los Angeles and if you call him or visit him, he probably has some very affordable clearance items available.
- Purchase high-quality, and if possible, stoles that match your paraments (here you can see matching table runner, puplit scarf and patoral stole). Again Chagall Design is the place to go. I got some very nice wide stoles that would run me about $200-$300 from the regular suppliers but paid under $50.
- Obtain some high-quality, war-like banners for the front of the sacred space you are creating. We purchased our banners without artwork at Praise Banners and then added our own artwork (shown here before and after) because the stock artwork was cartoonish and did not convey the vigor that we wanted. You probably have an artist in your congregation that can do a bang-up job. Why not something really different? How about a banner that has a sandaled foot crushing a serpents head with Genesis 3:15 next to it? Can’t find that one at the banner shop!
- Rehearse your liturgy several times before your launch date. This is, after all, a command performance before the King.
- Keep your liturgy fast-paced, loud, and vigorous. Err on the side of shortness when laying out your order of service. You don’t have throw everything in now, you have years to grow into it.
At the end of the day you’ll have a more cohesive and mature church. Your beefy liturgy and worship is creating a substantial symbolically-oriented culture which will act as pivot for your parishioner’s lives.