I had an A-HA! moment today in my small group on small churches.
In many of the churches I’ve been to over the years the pastor has said the benediction at the back of the sanctuary after the worship service has ended. This is where it is said:
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all now and forever. Amen.
Or, from Numbers 6:24-26…
May the LORD bless you
and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor
and give you his peace. Amen.
“Benediction” literally means “good speak.” So, it’s a blessing said upon others.
Well, I had known many churches where this was done at the back of the sanctuary and I thought it was kinda’ OK, but never really thought about the practical side of it. What’s so important about this is that it oftentimes puts the pastor at the back of the church, near the main exit, so that visitors can be greeted as they leave. This never occurred to me before.
It has made me reevaluate how I’ve been doing the benediction for the last 10 years and how I should probably try to do it when I get back to my home church. Logistically, however, I’ll have an issue with the communion bread. It has been my practice of taking the leftover communion bread with me to the back of the church after the benediction (after some persons–including visitors–have made their exit) to hand out bread to the children. I’ll need to figure out what makes sense to “catch” the visitors and pass out bread to the children.