jump to navigation

Five ways to use other languages (a bit) in your church June 1, 2019

Posted by Pete B in multilingualism, worship.
trackback

How many languages will be heard in and from your church this Pentecost?

Do you know how many languages are spoken by the members of your church? (it could be a good time to find out)
Do you know how many languages are spoken in your local community? (it may be more than you think)
And even if everyone can understand English (or the language used most in your church) is that their only or their preferred language? Would people welcome hearing and using the other languages they speak on a daily basis at home and in their community?

That’s part of what I am currently looking at for my MA dissertation and for a paper I will present in July as part of the London School of Theology’s one day conference “Sounds of Heaven and Earth“.

I’m exploring a lot of the ways churches are or could be using languages other than English as part of their services and outreach. Here are just five very simple ideas.

  1. A multilingual welcome sign, plus other signs and posters.
    With text projected on the screen, used into printed notices, and used on the walls in various parts of the church buildings it is easy to add content in a few more languages. (Translations of Bible verses easily available using Bible.com but verse numbers are sometimes mid sentence and in some translations verse numbers vary. You can double check with speakers of the language or for languages covered by Google you can translate the verse back into English for confirmation)
  2. Saying “the grace” or a blessing in other languages
    Saying ‘the grace’ to one another’ seems to be the only bit of liturgy my own church uses but there are many other options of single verse greeting.
    “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  Cor 13:14 NIV
    You can put a few others on the screen or just invite people to say it in their own language.
  3. Playing familiar worship songs in other languages.
    Many of the songs you sing are already available in other languages. Whether or not you sing (or play them) in other languages you can add the lyrics on the screen in another language.
    I’ve compiled a list of 83 worship songs that are each available in 10 or more languages . Over 1300 of the nearly 8000 songs listed at https://www.weareworship.com/ have been translated into at least one other language with 360 being available in 4 or more languages.
    Be aware that versions in other languages are often not direct translations. (Update 2020 probably the most widely translated song to emerge this year, or in the last few centuries is “The Blessing” now in over 160 languages)
  4. Introduce songs with a verse of scripture in the languages spoken in your community.
    Simply display translations of a Bible verse that introduces the theme or is directly quoted in a song. eg 10,000 Reasons starts with and takes several phrases from Psalm 103 .
  5. Introduce worship songs from another language and culture
    Newcomers may appreciate songs that are not only in their preferred languages but also in their preferred musical styles. If you want a mostly English congregation to join in singing in a language they don’t speak pick something simple or just teach one line of the chorus. Sing the song, explain the significance.
    Some songs available at worshipleaderapp.com and https://songs2serve.nl, http://hmworship.com has songs in Latvian, English, Ukranian, Russian, Turkish, and Estonian. Also see twonineteen.org.uk/multicultural-worship-top-tips/

I could add other ideas but so can you. Add comments here or on the accompanying Facebook post. What has worked well in your church or what ideas would you like to see tried?
Other Pentecost post coming soon.

Comments»

1. Jenny Rayner - June 1, 2019

Our church now has a Spanish-speaking Life Group. We also ask people to pray in their own languages in our prayer meetings.

Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: