Friday, October 24, 2008

Corporate Worship

I have been thinking about corporate worship. My thoughts have been centered around the idea of how best we can organize our worship on Sunday morning. What is the best way to organize a God glorifying, Christ exalting, Holy Spirit filling worship service? Well here is a rough outline of what I would like to see accomplished.

1.) The true Gospel needs to saturate the service.

2.) Christ' Lordship needs to be a prevalent motif.

3.) Prayer should take place, at the very least, before, during and toward the end of the service.

4.) Pastoral prayer for the congregation should apply to the congregation and be thought out before hand but done with flexibility.

5.) Music should have traditional hymns but arranged in a contemporary way and newly written songs. This allows the music to be culturally relevant yet still helps Christians understand the unity they have with believers of past ages. Some of the songs done in the service would be happy and there would be clapping. Other songs would be solemn. Too often services go from one extreme to the other. In the Psalms we find that there are a number of different emotional postures. Services might also incorporate psalms set to music but arranged in a contemporary manner.

6.) Worship service should have contemporary songs that are theologically accurate and that are centered around God.

7.) There should be a lot of scripture. It would be nice to see scripture selection done in a way that incorporates a biblical theological method. Biblical Theology in a technical sense is the study of the unity of the scriptures. So how this applies is that scripture passages from all over the bible, both Old and New would relate to the main theme of the sermon. They would be read at different parts of the service. However the opening scripture would be based around an attribute of God and/or an action of God. That is how the service would begin. There would probably be three, four or five scripture passages read during the service. Preferably each quarter of the service would have a passage read. The last passage would be the main text for the sermon. The many scripture reading would help impress upon the congregation the importance of the word of God. It would also show that the service is centered around God in that we place so much importance on Gods very words.

8.) The ordinances would be taken toward the end of the service every Sunday.

9.) Preaching would be Christ centered expository preaching as the norm. Topical preaching would be done on special occasions (national tragedy, etc) and also to teach major doctrines. For instance after preaching the book of Philippians the teaching elder might do a series on the doctrine of sanctification. Preaching should be biblical, theological and explicitly applicable.

Anyhow these are some of the ideas I have.

Written by Stephen Stanford


Anonymous said...

Scripture reading is a good think to give a significant place in worship, it being the word of God. In music, we should remember that to some extent we want the music to connect with the people. That is, they should be comfortable with that style. This is aesthetic of course.
preaching should be explicitly applicable. This is a point that should definitely be in the sermons. It is important to show how the word connects to us.

Samuel Gantt

Anonymous said...

Why try to recreate the wheel? The church has had a basic liturgical form for 2000 plus years. Different 'uses' exist in different jurisdictions, but the core is the same:

What's actually fascinating is to read the Wikipedia article on it, believe it or not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Said #2 thanks for the comment. That link was very interesting. I like the outline. I especially like the two over arching themes a.) word b.) Lords Supper. However what I have said in my blog outline does not disagree with the basic core of the liturgical structure. For I have both a.) and b.). Of course I disagree with the so called orthodox understanding of the Lord's Supper. However, I do not think I am recreating the wheel.
Perhaps your point about recreating wheel is more of a reference to what you perceive as the the "true" wheel or true worship, which is following the structure of the liturgy in a more strict fashion. If that is what you mean, I suggest that our theological epistemology's are quite different. Scripture is the authoritative standard by which I derive my necessary principals for my liturgy. In other words, even if that is what Chrysostom in 95 AD did, that does not establish that is exactly what I ought to do.
The fact that he did it does not establish that I ought to do it.
Perhaps you are suggesting that your liturgy is more of a preference and not a divinely ordained law. That is fine. My point in the post is trying to create a liturgy that is both scripturally and theologically saturated as well as culturally sensitive. Our practice of worship must also be informed by our culture because the gospel promised from Genesis to Revelation is that God will make a people for himself of many nations. Thus the post is my attempt to think about how to apply the necessary principals of scriptural worship to contemporary America. I would not impose all of my suggestions on other countries or even churches in my own country.