The Liturgy of Our Worship Gathering

We come on Sundays to be formed in the faith. These are the practices that form us.

Formation in Worship

This quote comes from James K.A. Smith’s book You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit. It reminds us that a type of formation is happening when we gather for worship. In fact, it is a type of counter-formation to the ways that our hearts and habits have been trained by the world to worship other things. When we gather, we critique the idols and false gospels that are all around us by remembering grace, focusing on Jesus, celebrating what he has done, and practicing the habits (prayer, confession, thanksgiving, service, etc.) that align with our identity as God’s children.

Every aspect of our liturgy is purposeful, for the sake of our formation in Christ.

"The practices of Christian worship train our love— they are practice for the coming kingdom, habituating us as citizens of the kingdom of God."

The Elements of our Liturgy

Call to Worship

Eugene Peterson said, “Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.” We begin the worship gathering by reading from scripture, re-orienting our focus to God and our identity in him, as defined by his word.

Singing

Music has the capacity to connect the head and heart like nothing else. We select songs that communicate substantive truth in a way that captures our imaginations and emotions, usually of mix of hymns and modern worship songs. We believe our music should be creative (sometimes stretching us) and done with excellence, but humble in presentation and posture.

Prayer

In prayer we seek the heart of God and align our will with his. We draw close and speak to God with intimacy. As we gather, we pray, together, for our world, for our neighbors, and for one another. This is a formative act that reorients our hearts, our minds, and places us in right relationship with our sovereign God.

Greeting

We take five minutes in the middle of our gathering to greet one another – and get more coffee. In an ideal world, this time would be longer. In fact, we find it’s often difficult to stop this time and get people back to their seats, which is a wonderful problem to have. The greeting time is a conscious break in the pattern of sitting and receiving information from a stage. It reorients us to one another, the collective body of Christ.

Scripture Reading

Prior to receiving teaching on God’s word, we read it aloud together, standing as a physical act of showing God’s word the honor it is due. We believe the power is in the word itself, as illuminated by the Holy Spirit, not in our ideas. Therefore, the word must be elevated and center.

Teaching

Following the reading of God’s word, the purpose of the sermon is to bring deeper understanding and application of the text to real life in our present context. It ought to reinforce who God is, what he has done, what he promises to do, and our identity and purpose in him. This is always good news.

The Lord’s Supper

We take the bread and wine every week. This is a beautiful, physical ritual, instituted by Jesus himself, to remember him and the sufficiency of his life, death, and resurrection for our salvation. Because Jesus is the climax of the gospel – our hope and aim – this practice is the climax of our worship gathering.

Benediction

Because we are a sent people (John 20:21; Acts 1:8) we reinforce the teaching of the day and align our hearts toward living out the implications in all of life.

 

 

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