Does your pastor lead with, or without, the book?

Rich, over at Believe, Teach, and Confess (formerly Exegete Reflections) has a couple of posts (here and here) in which he reflects upon the Creed.

It reminded me of what happened to me a few days ago.   I was leading a service at the seniors’ home, in which I messed up a few lines of the Apostles’ Creed, which in turn, messed everybody else up… and boy did I feel embarrassed!   When leading a liturgical service, I usually have my worship book turned to the page where I need to be, but this time, I didn’t. Nervousness got the best of me and I forgot some words.  Usually, no one notices small mistakes but this time everybody noticed.  I always give the words of institution in Holy Communion, and the lead the people in The Lord’s Prayer without following and looking at the words on the page.   Now, I’m considering whether I should learn to lead the entire service (i.e., Creed, prayers, Communion and all) by heart in the future.

When leading a worship service, do you prefer to have all the words of liturgy in front of you, or do you to prefer to recite it by memory without the worship book in front of you as backup?  As a pastor, what is your usual practice?  If not a pastor, what does your pastor do?

2 thoughts on “Does your pastor lead with, or without, the book?

  1. You sure do a lot of traveling. Keeping the hymnal close by feels safer doesn’t it? As long as you can flip to the right page quickly. I keep tabs on mine.


  2. Howdy. I have been leading worship for ~30 years. When serving as a pastor in a congregation, I always go through the entire service on Saturday. I keep the hymnal with me. Often I do not look at it, but it is available in case. So during the service, I keep the hymnal with me, even for the creed and Lord’s Prayer.

    Now that I am traveling and visiting about 30 congregations a year, I have to follow the service. Not only different orders of service, but even different wording for the Creeds and Lord’s Prayer.


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