What to Expect in Worship

What to Expect in Worship

We believe that biblical worship is commanded by the Lord (Deuteronomy 12:32; Acts 17:23-25), prescribed by the Lord (Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 4:15-20; Colossians 2:18-23), and dialogical between the Lord and His people (Deuteronomy 12:32). Biblical worship has one Mediator between God and man – Christ Jesus (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). The elements which God prescribes are enumerated below with Scripture support. In each move of worship, God initiates and we, His people, respond. Our prevailing theme is to worship the Lord in reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:18-29).

The Elements of Worship

Welcome: The welcome opens our worship service.

Announcements: Before worship begins, we hear announcements relevant to our congregation.  This enables us to participate in the life and community of this church.  At this time, fill out the insert with the requested information and circle any items of interest.

Prelude: Use the time before worship begins for silent prayer, meditation, reading the printed reflections, and examining the liturgy.  Prepare your heart and mind for worship (1 Peter 1:13).

Entering the Lord’s Presence: The first move in our worship is that God calls us to worship Him (Psalm 67).  We respond by acknowledging His glory and majesty through prayer, singing, and confession of sin. Assured of forgiveness, we sing a song of renewal to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and give offerings.

Call to Worship: A portion of Scripture is read to call God’s people to attention and to worship the One, living and true God (Deuteronomy 31:12).

Hymn or Psalm: This opening hymn, usually from the Trinity Hymnal, is a hymn of adoration, praise and thanksgiving to the God we worship (Psalm 100:2).

Prayer of Invocation: The pastor calls on the Triune God to be present among His people as we worship Him (Psalm 141:1-2).

Reading the Law of God: The law serves the believer as a mirror in that it reveals our transgressions, makes us despair of our own righteousness, and points us to Christ (Galatians 3:19-29).

Confession of Sin: Seeing a holy and righteous God, we immediately recognize our sinfulness.  To worship properly, we confess our sin in two parts: personally, silently, and meditatively, and corporately.  The corporate confession is read aloud in unison (1 John 1:9).

Assurance of Pardon: For those who have truly and sincerely confessed their sin and repented, God has forgiven.  We are assured of God’s grace and forgiveness (Hebrews 4:16).

Song of Renewal or Praise: Having been assured of pardon and forgiveness of sin, we rejoice in song for the Lord’s grace.  We sing either a hymn or psalm expressing our gratitude for God’s grace (Revelation 4:8, 11).

Confession of Faith: In response to hearing God’s Word, we confess our faith using a creed or confession of the Church (Romans 10:10; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 John 2:23). Our confessions of faith are taken from the early ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Council of Chalcedon, Athanasian) or any Reformation confessions and catechisms (e.g., the Westminster Confession).

Congregational Prayer: Paul commands Timothy to pray and make thanksgiving publicly for all people – the church, those in authority, and for evangelism (1 Timothy 2:1-3). This prayer is an intercessory prayer of supplication for the needs of the congregation, for the government, the church, missions, our sanctification, all with thanksgiving.

Old/New Testament Lesson: We read consecutively through a book of the Bible from the opposite Testament of our sermon series. Desiring to know all of God’s Scriptures, we don’t become too focused on one small part to the neglect of the whole.

Offering/Prayer: In response to hearing God’s Word, we give to Him tithes and offerings for the work of God’s Kingdom (Genesis 14:20; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

Doxology: We acknowledge God as the Giver of all material wealth and sing praise in accordance.

Receiving the Lord’s GRACE: The outward and ordinary means of grace –  those actions whereby Christ communicates to His people the benefits of His redemption are His  Word read and preached, His sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Table, and prayer.  During this move of worship, these means of grace are on display.  All of these are effectual to the elect for salvation.

Sermon Text Reading: This public reading of Scripture is the text for preaching the sermon (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We should give attention to it, receive it with faith, and practice it in our lives.

Sermon: The pastor or other qualified minister explains the text and its application to the congregation (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The Lord’s Table: As a sacrament, this is a sensible sign that shows Christ and the benefits of the New Covenant.  Particularly, we receive bread and wine by faith to partake of Christ’s body and blood and show forth His death until His return (1 Corinthians 11).

Departing in Gratitude: Having assembled and worshiped, God now sends us out with His blessing and assurance to be with us as we make disciples of all nations.

Hymn: We sing a hymn, usually from the Trinity Hymnal as an appropriate response to the preaching and demonstration of God’s Word.

Benediction: Through the minister, the congregation is blessed by God (Numbers 6:22-24).