Sunday Morning Worship The Old Testament is filled with rules and regulations of how public worship was to happen. The temple, priests, offerings – all of it had a definite shape. The New Testament is so vastly different – gone are the rules and regulations. Why? Because Christ has come. The physical temple in Israel is no longer the center of worship because Christ himself is the center of worship (John 2:19-21). When we as followers of Christ gather weekly, we gather to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in spirit and in truth. We have a lot of freedom in how we worship when we gather, and we want to use our freedom to help us keep our focus on the Gospel.
When you come to LEFC, you'll notice we follow an order in our time of gathered worship. We want our worship service to walk us through the truths of the Gospel every week so that we stay centered upon Jesus and his great work for us. We try to do this by having each part of our service lead into the next part. Here's the logic of how our worship service flow:
First, we call people to worship. We have come to church from distractions, arguments, frustrations, and recreation. The opening Scripture or prayer is designed to call us turn our attention to God, who is worthy of all worship.
Second, we move to a time of Praise. Having been reminded of God's claim on our worship, we sing to him a song of praise. This is where the flow of the Gospel really beings to shape our service. When we praise him, we are reminded of how far we fall short of God's greatness and glory.
So third, our praise leads us to confession. Whether by a prayer, song, or Scripture passage, we humble ourselves before God and in repent of our sin. To be clear, we are not confessing our sin in order to made right with God, for Christ has forgiven us. Rather, we are confessing our sins because we follow Jesus.
We greatly sin, but Christ is a much greater Savior. That is why, after we confess our sin, we receive assurance of the Gospel. Again, whether by song, statement, or prayer, we gladly remind ourselves of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and reigning now in heaven. By trusting in Christ's work, we have come boldly into fellowship with God our Father, through Jesus Christ. Oftentimes we will use a historic confession of faith (usually from a creed or catechism) to remind ourselves that we are part of the greater Church – the people of God who have followed Jesus since he walked on the earth. We also do this to remind ourselves that what we believe is not something our little congregation made up; what we believe has been given to the entire Church.
The Gospel changes lives. That's the reason we then move to a story of a Christian in the past. These stories about men and women who often traveled to foreign lands reminds us that the most important thing is people following Jesus, and when people follow Jesus, they are called to be Kingdom Laborers – serving our Lord and King, Jesus who has called us to be workers in his Kingdom in the midst of this present dark world.
So we want to be Kingdom Laborers, and so we turn to the Bible. We do this because God's Word is what changes our hearts when we believe what it says. One way we practice this is through memorizing God's Word. So at this point in our service, if not before, we sing a Scripture memory song together. Each month we pick a verse to learn in song. We usually have the kids come up front to sing the song and learn the actions...but the adults sing along so they can learn the words too.
Because it's the Word of God that changes us when we believe it, we spend time every week learning from a passage of Scripture. We seek to see how the passage points us to Christ and to understand the Life-Giving Truth of the passage. Since our hearts are changed as we believe God's truth, we will continue to seek to understand the Life-Giving Truth in our Life Groups which meet during the week (This Life-Giving Truth is one of our four Life-Giving practices).
About once a month we remember the Lord by his Supper. As our Statement of Faith says, the Lord's Supper visibly and tangibly express the Gospel. Taking the bread and the cup together is a way that together we confirm nourish our faith. We invite all believers to take this meal with us, and we leave it up to the parents discretion as to when they allow their children to partake in this act of faith.
Finally, we usually close our service by responding to God's truth in a song of response. These songs often have a focus on our eternal home, heaven, or how we walk worthy of the Gospel.