Sunday, August 28, 2005

texting communion

Further to my post on mobile worship, we had a go at texting communion tonite.

Context: Younger demographic, so high users of cell phones. Also a demographic with potential for giggle factor.

Planning: We broke communion up into bits;
Bread Scriptures
Grape juice Scriptures
Lords Prayer
Serving bread
Serving grape juice

Actual liturgy: We texted people, who came to the front to read the various words. These were up on the powerpoint to make it easier and also to include those who didn’t have cell phones.

We then texted more people with the invitation to serve bread and grape juice among us.

We then texted everyone the Lord’s prayer, which we all said together. We ended by texting a couple of people the Benediction and asking them to pass it on among each other.

Analysis: It took about 20 minutes, longer than I thought. This was OK, but if we did it again, I’d like to give people more visual input.

If we did it again, I’d also like the lights darker, so that we could see the glow of all our cell phones lighting up as we recieved the Lord’s Prayer.

Oh, I texted the benediction to the wrong person, someone said. I like the fact that the Lord’s Prayer and a benediction is flying around cell~space.

It had the potential to become a giggle fest, but didn’t. It certainly made commmunion more participatory and helped tune people in. I loved the randomness of it all, not knowing who would do what or when a text would arrive.

Why do it? I hope it wasn’t to try and be cool. For me, it was part of reflecting on the Word made flesh, God who so loved this world. What does it mean for the Word to become text? How does God connect with cellphone users?

Ponder this: Who was the first person to invest in global roaming technology?

Jesus says: Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks. Luke 11:9

Cheesy aye!

For those interested, I also wrote the following Call to Worship:
Leader: God of cell phones and space shuttles
Person B: Help us to seek you

Leader: God of city hospitals and flying ambulances
Person B: Help us to find you

Leader: God of airports and 4 wheel drives
Person A: Help us to know you

Leader: God of rugby tests and weekend retreats
Person B: Help us to trust you

Leader: God of drums and bass
Person A: Help us to love you

Leader: God of Mary’s son and an empty tomb
Person B: Help us to serve you.

Posted by steve at 09:23 PM


  1. What I want to know is – did you sing the songs to the tunes of mobile phones ringing? Or was everyone instructed to turn their phones to silent. My phone rings “Ode to Joy” – that would have made an interesting music for a song!!!

    How creative – and interactive.


    Comment by Janet McKinney — August 28, 2005 @ 10:37 pm

  2. Janet,
    We had Dave Dobbyn’s track “Forgiveness” in the background at various times. But this has sparked something. I wonder if we could “download” appropriate ringtones eg Dave Dobbyn, eg Agnus Dei, etc. Does anyone know if individual groups can make up and supply ringtones?

    Comment by steve — August 29, 2005 @ 10:58 am

  3. i’ve been thinking along the same lines, though was going to do it with prayers for others ‘prexting’. send someone a prayer. bring the outside in…
    i thought it might be important to validate the cellphone thing…

    Comment by stu Mcgregor — August 29, 2005 @ 7:27 pm

  4. Not sure stu. I mean if you’re going to validate the cellphone thing, might you not start a slippery slope that leads to people clearing email on their computers while you preach (referring back to comments on

    grinning playfully

    Comment by steve — August 30, 2005 @ 10:23 pm

  5. lovely steve – some creative – con-text-ualisation going on that night mate ((;-/

    Comment by paul T — August 30, 2005 @ 11:41 pm

  6. steve…i’ve got a confession to make…at the recent youth pastor’s conference i was caught clearing e-mails on my pda during a rather dry time. oh the hypocrisy…it didn’t feel rude, but i think it still was, or was it? oh how confused i am…weeping in the foetal position.
    aaaah, who’m i kidding? it’s rude, but i didn’t really care. i guess i’m just an ass~
    (even bigger grin)

    Comment by stu Mcgregor — August 31, 2005 @ 9:49 am

  7. cheers stu. public confession is good for a protestant soul.

    Comment by steve — August 31, 2005 @ 10:19 am

  8. Is this how I came to receive a garbled Lord’s Prayer while innocently blobbing out at home on Sunday night! Garbled to me, I am so uncool I spell words correctly and even put in punctuation when I’m txting ~ it’s an age thing! I think next time a benediction would be nice, though if it came out of the blue I could maybe think the angel of death was preparing me for a final moment. GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME JAS!

    Comment by Elizabeth — August 31, 2005 @ 11:08 am

  9. I think this con-text-ualisation is great idea. Especially if it adds to participation. So everyone present could be texted upon to do some thing in the service.
    Could you send out parts of the liturgy to seperate phones and people say their part as it arrives on the phone?. The people sent messages could be made truly random by some method.
    Then people would have to be connected to the service and prepared to participate.
    Some thoughts.

    Comment by TonyMac — August 31, 2005 @ 9:16 pm

  10. Tony, I realised mid-txt to you on Sunday evening that the Graceway service would’ve been underway (the eating bit at least!). Perhaps I should’ve txted grace! LIS. Lynne 🙂

    Comment by lynne — September 1, 2005 @ 10:34 am

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