When we gather for worship on Sundays, we strive to ensure that our focus is upon the worship of God and in accord with the Word of God. We love the Lord our God and delight in all that He has done! Therefore, we teach God’s Word in all its truth and power through the preaching, we sing praises to His name as a congregation, and we strive to honour His name in all of our thoughts, words, and deeds.(Hebrews 12:28-29)
Explanation of Our Worship
In our day, it is customary to classify worship as “traditional” or “contemporary.” Since the God we are worshipping is timeless, we avoid such time-bound references to characterize His worship. We prefer to call our worship “biblical.” Worship is the highlight of our week, with the focus on God and not on ourselves. There are two fundamental principles involved in biblical worship (1) Worship is governed by what God has revealed about Himself in His Word. (2) Worship is a dialogue between God and his covenant people. God speaks to us through His Word and we respond to Him either in prayer or in singing.
The Consistory supervises and is responsible for every aspect of our worship service. The pastor, or guest pastor, leads us in worship, under the authority of the Consistory. The songs we sing are chosen primarily for their theology or biblical accuracy. Biblical worship is aware of the importance of music to God, and has always appreciated melody, harmony, and rhythm. But all of that is secondary to a higher, primary concern: faithfulness to Scripture. Our songs are also intended to complement, support, and apply the theme of the message.
Our Worship Service Outline
Call to Worship
The Lord officially summons us to worship Him. This is usually done with the reading of an appropriate Scripture passage.
God welcomes us in His house of worship, and greets us with His “Grace, Peace, and Mercy.”
Song of Adoration
We respond to God’s call to worship and his welcome by praising Him.
Reading of the Law
God’s law functions in two different ways in our worship: Either as a teacher of sin that drives us to Christ, or as a guide to living the thankful Christian life.
Prayer of Confession
Being aware of our sinfulness in God’s holy presence we confess our sins to God and plead for his mercy in Christ.
Song of Confession
In continuing acknowledgement of our failure to keep the Law, we implore the Lord’s mercy, or sing of His abundant grace and mercy.
Assurance of Pardon
The Lord responds to our confession and penitence, with the assurance that our sins are forgiven in Christ alone, wholly by grace, received by faith alone.
Here, the minister addresses the Lord with the petitions of the congregation. Prayer is often composed of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Song of Preparation
This song prepares us to hear the Word of God, sometimes anticipating the theme of the sermon.
Scripture Reading and Sermon
This is the center of the worship service. It is not because we highly esteem human speech or eloquence, but because at this point the Lord speaks to His people, through His Word and servant. The purpose of a sermon is to focus on Christ and His finished work. The desired response is never “what a preacher!” but always “what a Savior!”
In response to the sermon the minister prays that God would bring His Word home to his people, applying to them the very Word they have just heard.
Song of Response
We respond with appropriate singing to the Word, again emphasizing the theme of the sermon.
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
In obedience to Christ’s institution of these two sacraments, we witness God’s mercy and grace to us by means of the covenant signs and seals that He has given to His Church.
In response to God’s great mercy in Christ we make an offering to the Lord. In the evening this offering is for a cause we support.
This is a song in which we celebrate the glory and supreme majesty of God, while accentuating our complete dependence on Him and His goodness to us.
The worship service is officially over. The Lord dismisses us with His blessing.