Friday, February 4, 2022

Becky Elsbernd and Trinity Lutheran recently began Rejoicing Spirits. We asked Becky if she would be willing to put together a list of what they have learned over their year-plus experience of beginning Rejoicing Spirits. Here’s what she said:

We started Rejoicing Spirits during the pandemic so it began as a monthly taped worship service that we would put out on Facebook and YouTube. Later we moved to an in-person outside worship service in our courtyard and then, finally, to an inside in-person worship service with masks in our fellowship hall. We have been forced to adapt and be flexible. Our approach has changed with the different formats.

These are some lessons we have learned along the way.

  • Make it a team approach. We have a solid team of five people that plan and consistently lead the service. We pull in other volunteers to help at the worship service. We have recruited confirmation students and youth to help. They bring great energy and keep coming back.

  • Keep it simple. It is helpful to have an order of worship established so you can just plug in the items each month that correspond with the theme of the month. We are now focusing on the miracles of Jesus. Keep the songs simple with words that repeat. Having the words available on a screen or song sheet helps.

  • Don’t strive for perfection. If things are too perfect it can be intimidating for people to jump in and participate or volunteer to help.

  • Encourage participation. We try to include volunteers for many aspects of the service. Whether it is preparing the altar, reading Scripture, providing special music, or being a part of the skit. The book, The Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry, has been a great resource for skits that involve everyone.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. Rejoicing Spirits creates a welcoming environment that allows people to be authentic and vulnerable. I have not seen the same openness expressed in any other worship service setting. During the open prayer time, I have had people share about a cancer diagnosis, struggles with addiction, and mental health issues. It is beautiful to see how the spirit moves when you embrace people just as they are.

  • Serve food. Everyone likes food! We started with root beer floats and then added pizza. We ask for a freewill donation with a suggestion of $5/person or $10/family. We so far have had no trouble covering the cost. We provide receipts for those who have to keep track of their spending.