Four Fun Acolyte Functions, Plus One

Category: stuff I never did before.

We use acolytes at our church. 4th thru 8th grade students can robe up and help lead worship. They do four things:

  1. light the candles at the start of the service
  2. lead the Call to Worship
  3. receive the offering
  4. extinguish the candles at the end
  5. ????????

Should there be a fifth thing on that list? How about a different first thing? How does your church employ acolytes? Do you do any kind of community building with them as a group? We’re Presbyterians, so we don’t have the liturgical flair of, say, Episcopalians (see below). But I’ve seen acolytes in most mainline protestant denominations.

What are some best practices for acolytes?


3 thoughts on “Four Fun Acolyte Functions, Plus One

  1. Brian says:

    Our acolytes (as you’ll recall from your intern days) do 1, 3 and 4 on your list — and used to do #2, as well, although we’ve drifted away from the speaking parts. We shouldn’t have. I think you are doing it right. We do start a little younger, though.

    The challenge we face is that there comes a point, somewhere around 6th grade usually, where the young person doesn’t want to wear the robe any more (or, in some cases, have attention drawn to themselves in any way). I suppose that youth can just decide not to be an acolyte, but there is no other up-front way for them to be involved other than reading scripture, which is something we intentionally involve senior high youth (post-confirmation) in doing.

    Actually, regarding #4, we don’t actually extinguish the Christ candle at the end of the service. Instead we have the acolyte take the light from it and lead the procession out — that is, Christ leading us into the world to worship and work there. But the candle burns on.

    • We started having the acolytes do the Call to Worship a little over a year ago, and it seems the church now can’t remember a time when that wasn’t the case. It became normal very quickly.
      We, too, have the older acolyte problem, and I totally get it. I don’t know what to do about it either.
      What if acolytes did Scripture readings? Or assisted with other things, like communion and the prayers or the people? I’m not sure how that would look, but I’m interested in exploring it.

  2. parker says:

    We have used acolytes to help carry in the Bible and place on the lecturn. Its an old Scottish position called the…I can’t remember…

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