Bethel is preparing to decide whether to offer Holy Communion every Sunday. The following is provided for your consideration in this process. I pray that it is helpful to you and edifying for your faith! If you have any questions, please see myself or Pastor Woodside. In Christ, Pastor Walla
I grew up in a church that had Communion every other week, just like Bethel. After reading books and articles in preparation for this study, I came home one day and told my wife how excited I was about this upcoming opportunity. I commented that with so many compelling arguments for offering Communion every Sunday, I could hardly wait to begin sharing these things with Bethel’s members.
The trajectory of the study began with the Old Testament background of the Lord’s Supper, looking at the Passover, which is what Jesus and His disciples had gathered in the upper room to celebrate on the night when Jesus was betrayed. The next week, we considered the Words of Institution from the four different accounts in Scripture. This was followed with a read-through of John 6 and Jesus’ words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood and having eternal life. We also began contemplating that we receive Jesus’ body in the bread and Jesus’ blood in the wine of Holy Communion. Though beyond our comprehension, Jesus is not using figurative language when He says, “This is.” The next two studies dealt with the texts of 1 Corinthians 10 and 11, which describe how we are participants of two kinds when we receive Communion. We are participants in the body and blood of Christ, but also in the body of believers gathered around that altar. Our practice of Closed Communion was explained with this understanding of participation. Next, we looked at the history of Communion frequency, beginning with the early New Testament church and going all the way through the Middle Ages and the Reformation and up to today. Finally, we ended our study with a few weeks to consider and react to the most common hesitancies against every-Sunday Communion.
I want you to know that Pastor Woodside and I would not present this idea to the congregation if we did not believe it to be a beneficial and worthwhile thing. It is our duty, and also our heart-felt desire, to give you the very best care for body and soul. Nevertheless, if we complete this study about the possibility of offering Communion every Sunday and make a decision for or against it, we must maintain unity in our congregation. As many blessings and benefits may be connected to every-Sunday Communion, such a thing must not divide us.
The exact frequency for partaking of the Lord’s Supper is not commanded in Scripture. How do Christians make decisions on practice when there is no clear command from the Lord? Consider the language used in Acts 15:22, 25 – “it seemed good to us, having come to one accord.”
The ultimate goal of this whole study is that we would look at the Lord’s Supper with renewed appreciation for God’s incredible blessings offered to us in it. If we end up deciding to maintain our current every-other Sunday practice, or, if we decide it seems good to us to offer Communion every Sunday, either way is fine. Whatever our decision, if we finish this study and gain an even greater hunger and desire for the Sacrament, then we will have succeeded with flying colors.
Our congregation will gather in a Voters’ Assembly on Sunday, April 24th, to discuss and decide what seems best to us.
Service Time Adjustment:
Among the things to consider with this decision, please know that the discussion thus far has been that if we indeed begin offering the Sacrament every week, we will also want to adjust our service times to allow our services to not feel rushed and to also be able to have a full hour for Sunday School. Instead of 8:30 and 11:00, we would adjust to 8:00 and 11:00. Please keep this in mind in your consideration.