How should a gathering of the church be organized? Is it possible to make sure the Gospel is not only preached, but also experienced through the various elements and activities of the service?
I have been interacting with these questions for a few years now. Along the way, I have been inspired by Joe Thorn’s comments and posts (like this one), sharing Redeemer Fellowship’s liturgy. His work, as well as the work of the folks at 9Marks and elsewhere, inspired me as I thought hard about how to structure our gatherings at Park Community Church (Forest Glen). I have also drawn on what the other Park locations are doing. The format we’ve adopted closely follows Redeemer’s, with a few tweaks.
The movements of a church’s worship gathering should follow the movements of the Gospel story–from God’s holiness, to man’s sin, to Christ’s redemption, to our repentance, faith, renewal and obedience.
We began with God’s self-revelation and responded in worship (adoration).
Then we acknowledged our own sin and hear the announcement of the Good News, that there is certain forgiveness in Jesus (“Proclamation,” “Confession & Assurance of Forgiveness”).
Out of that, we asked God to help us live in light of what we’ve just heard (“Supplication”) and commit ourselves to following him (“Dedication”).
We kept the conversation going by answering some of the questions that the congregation texted in during the gathering–some were in response to the teaching, others were questions that were on people’s hearts. If your church is not already taking questions in some way or another, I highly recommend it. It’s so important for our folks to see that the Bible has the answers to life’s most important questions!
Then we wrapped up with a “Commission,” an invitation to further prayer and a blessing (“benediction”) from Scripture. And then we’re dismissed.
Here is our worship order from this past Sunday. I pray it would be helpful to someone else thinking through how to order their church’s gatherings.
- Call to Worship – Psalm 111:10
- Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
- A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
- Our Great God
- Prayer – Joel
- Welcome – Joel
- Giving & Prayer
- Video: Faith in Action Story (Sincer Jacobs & Circulation medical fellowship)
- Teaching – Real Religion – James 3:13-18 – Dan Osborn
Confession & Assurance of Forgiveness
- Pastoral Reading on Sin & Repentance – Romans 1:18-24
- Lord I Need You
- Prayer of Response – Mitch McCarl, Kenny & Christina Tassone
- Prayer for Police Officers – Joel
- In Christ Alone
- Announcement (Marriage Retreat March 9-11)
- Texting Questions – Joel
- Reminder: Deacons are up front for prayer
- Benediction – Jude 1:24-25
That’s it. 80 minutes, start to finish. How does it compare with what your church does? Leave a comment and let me know.