There's been a lot of buzz in some circles about the potential EVIL of the Lutheran Service Builder, letting pastors play fast and loose with the ordo of the Divine Service and producing all kinds of oddities. I think, though, that whatever is good can be corrupted and that's just a case in point. The Builder is, in my opinion, good and on the way to becoming "tov maod" indeed!
Four ways that we've put it to use:
Compline doesn't vary, but sadly the rite as printed in the hymnal didn't include the appointed three psalms or the regular hymn. So there was more than a bit of page calling and paging around when we used to use the hymnal itself. A couple weeks back I remembered that I could do this in the Builder, and within minutes we had a fabulous and easy to follow ordo, ready to be printed up, collated and stapled. We've been using the printed ordos ever since and they make is so easy just to pray, to sing, to listen, and not to think: "where are we supposed to be now?"
2. Catechism Services
On Sunday evenings, we hold a Catechism Service using the Service of Prayer and Preaching. Here I've got a mix of adults new to the Lutheran faith and younger children. Having the whole thing printed out in an ordo that they can all follow along with, pray and sing from, and take home to work on memory - well, it was a God-send indeed. It takes mere minutes each week to ready the service.
3. Evening Prayer
We use this service in Advent and Lent during the midweeks. Again, this is a service where the flow of the liturgy is interrupted if we have to call out Psalms, or wait for folks to find them. It just makes sense to print it out and give the people the service entire in their hand, so that they can simply worship without worrying about where to turn next. Builder makes it a cinch not only to give them the words, but even the service music.
4. Divine Service Five
Whenever we use the chorale service, Divine Service Five, (pretty rarely for our parish), it again BEGS for printing out the music of the chorales instead of waiting for the people to catch up with paging through the book. Since the chorales used are only referenced in the liturgy itself in LSB, the Builder seems almost a necessity if the flow of the service is not to be disrupted.
Does this mean we print out every service? No. Divine Service, Setting Three, is our parish's chief service and it will always be such, I imagine. That liturgy the people know and hardly use the book for anyway. But we don't print it out. It's referenced in the bulletin, but no more than that. I was VERY hesitant to move to the Builder and thought it was really just a money-making gambit from CPH. More fool I! It has proven a great tool in our parish, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Is it perfect? No. Does it have a way to go? Yes. But Ryan Markel and team are constantly working to improve it. I hate it when Paul McCain is right, but he told me a long time ago: "get it, you won't be sorry." So I'm admitting it: he was right. I haven't been sorry at all.