The 22 Minute Worship Service (dead link)

A new American Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida recently was featured in scores of newspapers and on the TV networks.

This church has initiated a "Compact-Mini-22 Minute" worship service.

These are the elements of the service:

(a) A slave bell from Tennessee tolls and
(b) a cross-bearer proceeds unhurriedly to the altar, then an acolyte comes to light the candles.
(c) The pastor announces Christ’s presence,
(d) invites worshippers for a moment of silent prayer, and then

(e) leads them in the Lord’s Prayer.
(f) During the processional hymn (two verses only) a man comes to the front holding a Bible high above his head.
(g) Scripture is read, and
(h) an offering taken.
(i) Special music takes only 2 1/2 minutes followed by
(j) a six minute sermon.
(k) Two verses of an invitational hymn, and
(l) a benediction conclude the service.

Of course, I think there are even more possibilities for cuts. The service could be cut to 18 minutes by eliminating the processional and the tolling of the bell, by singing only one verse of each hymn, and by allowing people to give their offerings as they leave the service. The “Amen” on the final hymn could serve as the benediction.

While we are at it, I can think of some other things which will ease our hurried lives. We could eliminate one half of basketball and football games. The game is usually decided in the second half anyway. If they are decided in the first half, why play the second?

Why do baseball games have to be nine innings? Wouldn’t 3 innings make for a much snappier game?

Isn’t The New York Times far too big? Surely the really important news could be summarized in four pages a day.

Of course, if we made all these changes then we would have to decide what to do with all our extra time.

C. David Hess