August 1 will mark the fifth anniversary of the arrival of the first copies of Lutheran Service Book at Concordia Publishing House back in 2006. The very next day we were meeting at the International Center with nearly 50 pastors and musicians, preparing them for the workshops they would be leading in the fall. You can imagine the excitement when we were able to put the actual hymnal in their hands while they were still in town! Those individuals, along with another 50 presenters, went on to lead a total of 281 workshops all across the country to a total of more than 22,000 attendees. The delivery was on time and the roll out a big success.
So here we are, five years later. Over one million copies sold and still going strong. What I am more interested in, however, is whether congregations are fully using the book. It's great that the transition from TLH and LW has gone so smoothly. But if congregations are just singing the same hymns and services that they knew from the previous books, then they're missing out on so much that LSB has to offer.
Here's a thesis that will guide my posts in the coming months: the staying power of Lutheran Service Book is directly related to our willingness to explore LSB and its companion resources to the fullest and to try out new hymns on a regular basis and maybe even a new service setting. The more fully we use LSB, the longer it will last, and, more importantly, the richer we will be for it! That doesn't mean that a congregation must constantly change things in the service, leading worshipers to wonder what might be coming next. But it does imply that thoughtful worship planning is behind every service that the faithful attend.
My goal will be to offer eminently practical posts by sharing insights that I gained during the development of LSB. We'll look at specific hymns, consider some of the seasonal choices that LSB offers, and look at ways in which LSB supports the inherent variety that exists in the historic liturgy of the church. Your comments and insights will also be welcome, especially as they lead us into further appreciation of the treasures of LSB.