The Place of Worship
As you come to church, you will be greeted by someone at the door, or perhaps even in the parking lot. The greeter will provide a bulletin and order of worship, point you to the sanctuary, or help you with your children to nursery. But worship is more than just a warm greeting at the door. It ought to be a solemn, yet joyful encounter with the living God. Upon entrance into the sanctuary, you will find a prevailing atmosphere of quietness in anticipation of worship. Worship involves the entire human being – mind, heart and hands. We pray that your minds will be informed, your heart expanded and your hands loosed to live all of life in worship of the God who made us and also proclaims redemption. During worship, we use the King James Version (1611) of the Bible and sing from the Psalter (1918). You will find these in the pew in front of you. To help prepare you further for worship, continue reading the principles that guide our worship and a brief summary of our practice of worship.
The Principles of Worship
All that we do must be governed by the Scriptures as God’s Word. Here are several key principles from the Bible. We believe that worship services must be:
- God-focused (Rev. 19:10).
- Christ-centered, (John 14:6).
- Spirit-moved, (John 16:13).
- Word-based, (Matt. 15:9).
- Heartfelt, (Matt. 15:8).
- Orderly, (1 Cor. 14:40).
- With instruction, (Col. 3:16).
- Shared as a church, (Heb. 10:25).
- Under oversight, (Heb. 13:17).
- On the Lord’s Day, (Acts 20:7).
The Practice of Worship
Our worship service is structured to intentionally direct our hearts to God. Before the service begins, the consistory meets for prayer and the congregation gathers expectantly to hear the Word of God. Upon entering the sanctuary, the elder of service shakes the hand of the minister and both say “blessing,” wishing God’s blessing on the preaching and hearing of the Word.
The worship service includes the following elements:
- Silent prayer: a prayer for blessing upon the Word.
- Votum: a confession of dependence from Psalm 124:8.
- Salutation: a blessing from God on the congregation from either 2 Corinthians 13:14 or Revelation 1:4-5.
- Reading of God’s Law (a.m.): a reminder of God’s holiness, Christ’s obedience and our sinfulness from Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:1-21.
- Singing: sometimes a Psalm is sung in response to the reading of God’s Law
- Reading of creed (p.m.): reminds us of core doctrines and calls us to examine ourselves.
- Reading of Scripture: this is the principle means of grace and the infallible foundation of preaching.
- Congregational prayer: the minister prays to God on behalf of the congregation for a variety of pastoral and public needs.
- Offering: our gifts to the Lord to show thankfulness to God for His abundant gifts to us.
- Singing: a Psalm is sung to prepare hearts for the reception of the Word.
- Preaching: Biblical preaching is central to worship and God’s primary means of speaking to us and saving us by grace (Rom. 10:14–17).
- Singing: a Psalm is sung in response to the preaching of the Word.
- Prayer: the minister prays for the Spirit to use the preached Word in the hearts of the listeners.
- Singing: a Psalm is sung in conclusion of the worship of God.
- Doxology: a Psalm that gives a final response of faith to the Word, giving glory to God.
- Benediction: pronounces God’s blessing on the congregation from Numbers 6:24-26, Jude 24-25, or Hebrews 13:20-21.