Theological Analysis of a Church Service

Your assignment is to sketch a theological analysis of a church service (but not a Westmont chapel service). This can be the service of your choice at the Christian church of your choice.

My goal is to help you draw connections between the doctrine we've been learning in class, and the Christian practice that goes on in the worshiping Church. The latter embodies the former; the former interprets and guides the latter. Make sure you underline and develop the connections by drawing explicitly on the lectures and relevant readings. If you could have written the same analysis without having been in Christian Doctrine, then you haven't fulfilled the assignment.

Don't forget to list the name and denomination of the church, which service you attended, and so on. However, if you want to do well on this assignment, don't spend much time (or even any) rehearsing or describing the service. Analyze it theologically, bringing in background only where directly relevant to the points you are making.

If you attend a church service outside your tradition and find the proceedings unfamiliar, don't be shy — ask a fellow worshipper what is going on, or wait until after the service and ask one of the leaders to explain things. In my experience, these people are delighted to help you by sharing the things they love.

Did I mention that you need to draw extensively on course concepts from lectures and readings? Why, yes I did. At least three times now. Is that because semester after semester, students write 'reports' rather than analyses, with little if any appeal to course concepts and materials? It is indeed. Does that make me suspect that these students haven't done the readings and are hoping I won't notice? Draw your own conclusions.

On the due date of the assignment, please give me the bulletin or order of service in class. If the church has no bulletin or the bulletin doesn't mention the order of worship, then add an appendix with the main elements, list of songs, prayers, scripture readings, and so on.

Further tips:

Look for:

Look at:

Uh-oh! What if the service is theologically and doctrinally poor?

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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