The purpose of this description of what is involved in being a member of the Serving Team is to facilitate the activities of worship in an organized, uniform and non-intrusive way, to allow the congregation to focus on worship. Where the Disciples welcome diversity in thought and behavior, many experience worship time as an opportunity to meditate or reach a calm, worshipful state of mind, and having an orderly, predictable worship ceremony on most Sundays facilitates this. Further, it can have an aesthetic appeal.
It is hoped that this outline will provide direction for those who have not been a server previously as well as those who would like a refresher if they haven’t served in a while, and help all involved to have common expectations. Servers should also be aware that no one expects them to be perfect, and they should try to relax and focus on the opportunity to server others.
- In general, the Serving Team includes 1 Elder (E), and 1 Elder’s assistant (EA) (EA—needs to be someone experienced in helping the Elder at the table), plus 4 additional Servers (S).
- Fifteen minutes before the service is to start, at the direction of the day's Elder, all members of the serving team are to be in the office to meet together with other members of the worship team
- to go over last minute instructions/changes in the worship service,
- for planning who is going to be on which side of the sanctuary, etc.,
- to pray with the pastor.
- At the beginning of service, servers assemble in the of the sanctuary at the end of the aisles.
- After the acolyte has lit the candles and returned to the back of the sanctuary, the E and 2 S go up the right aisle, while the EA and 2 S go up the left aisle, with the E/EA in the lead, and the 2 S walking together following them.
- All of them should remain standing, and sit down in unison, seated in the front pews, the servers in the outside sections, and the E and EA in the center on either side of the pastor. (If they need to sit with family, they can sit with them in the second pew behind where they would sit to serve)
- Offering: The serving team stands together and the E/EA hand the trays to the servers on their side. The servers for the left side will pass the trays to the outer left side of the sanctuary, including the musicians or anyone at the front, and the AV team at the back. The servers for the right side will serve all those sitting or standing on that side. The E and EA will serve the center section, with the E serving the pastor.
- Alternate pews in passing the plates back and forth, or each do short sections from that side if needed. When completed and all arrive at the back of the sanctuary, gather at the back of the aisles to wait for the doxology. Wait during the intro of the doxology, and step out as you start to sing the words, walking forward with the E/EA first, followed by the Servers.
- At the front, hand the offering plates to the E/EA who will place them on the table. As this is being done, the Servers in unison, return to their pews and sit (in unison) before the prayer of thanksgiving, spoken by the Elder.
- Communion: E/EA stand on the last verse of the communion hymn to uncover the plates and spread them out for the bread, and uncover the cups. After the prayer/words of institution, spoken by the Elder, the Elder will nod to the servers to stand (in unison), and come forward to the table. The Elder/EA then hand the bread and cup trays to each server.
- They all turn in unison, to go to their positions to start serving, as for the offering, but holding the bread tray to serve the first person in the pew, then holding the cup tray to serve them after they passed the bread on to the next person.
- The team on the left side must remember to serve the musicians, organist, pianist, unless a special tray has been left for them, and also the AV team at the back.
- If two sets of communion trays end up on the same side, it may be necessary to go around back of the pews to pick up a set.
- Watch to make sure no tray is running out of communion, or switch trays around if needed. Turn the juice tray so that full cups are toward the participant. Don’t leave any cups stacked up in the tray, or the trays can’t be stacked when returned to the table.
- All walk forward together, as previously, only waiting for all to be ready, and at the signal of the E.
- At the front, the E/EA will put down their trays, take one set and place on the table, then serve the servers, and themselves from the reamaining tray before placing that set on the table. As the E/EA are replacing the lids on the trays, the servers in unison, return to their pew, but remain standing, as it will be time for the last hymn.