that we are almost five years into the "new" hymnal, Lutheran Service Book. Wow! They have flown by. I think it was in early August of 2006 that the hymnals appeared in St. Paul's pews - we got to be the first congregation of Synod to have them. We also were the first to notice the misprinting in some of the volumes! Pr. Gleason's wife found yet another misprinted hymnal just the other day. We've mostly got them all replaced gratis - thank you, CPH!
There were disappointments, of course, but over all LSB has been enormously well received here as in the Synod as a whole. You can pretty much walk into any LCMS congregation (except the far out contemporary worship ones) and find it in the pews - though it is used to varying degrees in various places. Still, it's a comfort to find a familiar hymnal ready and waiting. It truly is the next "TLH" - the hymnal set to last for a generation and more - built to last.
In our parish, we've mastered Divine Service 3, 4, and 5. We also know Matins and Evening Prayer, and some of our members have learned Compline and Service of Prayer and Preaching (Catechism Service). We've learned a number of new hymns that have quickly become "old favorites" and we still have others we're working on mastering (like last Sunday's "Christ is the World's Redeemer"). Occasionally, we switch back to an old TLH tune (our folk absolutely love Spanish Chant for "Savior, When in Dust" - so we sing that though the new tune is a better fit to the text, in my opinion). Private Confessions, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Funerals are all "right out of the book." We've learned most of the Psalm tones and are comfortable chanting Psalms, Introits, etc.
Behind the scenes, the Hymn Selection Guide (also built into Builder) is an absolute God-send. We rarely depart from its suggestions. Builder is not Mac native, but since we use the One Year Series, I only needed to create the bulletins in Builder once - after that, I tweak them yearly in Word and rarely need to access Builder itself anymore. The Altar Book is remarkably complete and very easy to use. I set the ribbons before each liturgy (one at the Kyrie, Gloria / one at the Preface for the day / one at the Prayer of the Church / one for the Propers of the Day; and I keep a permanent tab at the Sanctus and following) - a little practice and the ribbon turning becomes second nature.
As far as I can see, the biggest mistake was NOT including the Passion Readings in the Lectionary and instead placing them in the Altar Book - that means that each Lent I have to bring my personal Altar Book from home and put it on the Lectern for midweek Lenten Vespers. And that's my biggest complaint! Honest injun! It's just an exceedingly well thought out and put together set of books. When I remember what it was like when I started, well, I'm just very thankful to the Synod and Commission on Worship for providing such an outstanding and unified resource. It makes being a pastor wonderfully simple - at least as far as liturgy is concerned.