Thoughts on Lutheran Service Builder

First off, I’m not trying to knock CPH, the Commission on Worship, or the developers of Lutheran Service Builder, because I think all of them together have done an excellent job in the development of the hymnal and the software. Through my fieldwork congregation I’ve had the opportunity to work with the software and it is excellent, minus some small glitches which are obviously being corrected in updates.

My concern is that this software fosters in some pastors a “cut and paste” mentality. With the click of a button a pastor can quickly mash together any number of elements from any number of services. A service I recently attended included portions of DS 4, DS 3, and DS 1/2. This is done on a regular basis. What good does such mixing do?

My other problem with the software is in the printing of the liturgy. While I can see the use of printing the liturgy on certain occasions, I fail to see the value in printing the complete liturgy every week. I think that it discourages people from using and exploring the hymnal and also is a waste of paper. I do think it is fine to print an outline of the service (the bulletins with the extra tab on the side work really well for this!). This, combined with the ease of use of Lutheran Service Book makes the services quite easy to navigate.

I would like to hear some response to this… I’m open to arguments for or against…


8 Responses

  1. I’ve never seen a DS blended that much, but I could see where one congregation has been singing DS 1 for so long that the pastor may just want to introduce a piece of a new setting to get them familiar with it.

    In my new congregation, I can still catch people who try to sing DS 3 in place of DS 1, because they are similar enough to throw a person off. I imagine someone raised on LW would have the same problem with DS 3, unfortunately.

    My pastor to his credit has gone from printed services with LW to using the LSB straight for services. I cannot thank him enough. 🙂

  2. We use DS setting 1 & 3 here. One of the primary reasons why we print is because the hymnal is rather heavy for many of the people in the congregation. Because of the chaos that was the 60s-80s the fact is most do not have much of this memorized. So what to do? Train up you young, they are memorizing this stuff. If you use setting 4 or 5, fine print that out, And while the argument is that the LSB is easy to navigate, you still find people stumbling through hymnal navigation at things like funerals. It is better, but easy is a bit too generous.

  3. Thanks be to God that your fieldwork congregation at least is using the book. Sure, we’d like to see one setting at a time, but they use the book.

    My parish has yet to purchase Builder. We plan to do so soon. The software comes in handy for large-print bulletins as well as occasions like Holy Week or a wedding where many attending are unfamiliar with the way we worship. You can print everything out to ease the matter.

    Then again, you can use the hymnal and get them used to the book.

  4. All good responses. Thanks guys.

    The value of the Builder is how easy it makes producing special bulletins, such as large print, weddings, Holy Week, or the occasional inclusion of a different canticle. For this I say “awesome!”

    Outside of this, I really prefer the use of a book in church rather than something that can just be pitched after the service.

    Thanks again for your feedback. I’m interested to hear more.

  5. Oh, this wasn’t my fieldwork church. I don’t blog about my fieldwork church, whether it be good or bad.

  6. I am a convert. 45 years ago. What impressed me into joining the Lutheran Church was the regimented worship format. Everyone knew what they were singing (liturgies) and they sang out confidently. Now, with the unpredictable mixture of everything, some large congregations sound like mission assemblies. I attend – – – but I don’t like what happens every Sunday – – – but what do I know, I’m just a layman that produces a hymn instruction format that not many are picking up on – – – I guess 528 free LSB hymns in an instruction format won’t make the Lutheran Church the “singing church” again anyway.


    Bobby A

  7. We use Lutheran Service Builder for many reasons. First, it allows Pastor to plan the service and me, a lay person, to prepare the bulletin with all the propers easily accessed. We do not have an organist, so the subscription to the Concordia Organist that accompanies LSB allows us to remain a singing church. We print a bulletin every week because several members in the congregation are elderly and can not read the print on the yellow pages of the Hymnal. Other members like having everything in one place so they can concentrate on the service and not juggle hymnal and bulletin.

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