Every church has a liturgy, some simply call it something else. The work of the people, the order of worship. The list of things that happen on a Sunday morning. Have you ever thought about what things should be included in this list? What should not be included in this list? What does the Bible say about Christian worship? What elements have been included in that “list” since God’s people got together to worship Him in the time of Moses? David? Solomon? Nehemiah? Jesus? Peter? Paul? Augustine? Luther? Calvin? King James the First? John Wesley? Pretty much any Christian worship service until around 1900 when the revival meeting paradigm of preachers like Billy Sunday and Charles Finney started to become adopted on Sunday morning, stripping the service down to music, prayer and preaching. Up until then, there was more to it. Much more.
Are we starving our people? Are we careful to communicate the historical, Biblical faith? Are we providing every opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work through our services to build up the believers and reach out to the nations?
Something to Think About
In looking at the liturgies throughout history, it seems to me that there are 15 essential components. 15 elements that have not only been included historically, but should be included for the ongoing health and foundation of any body of believers. I’m going to list them with a brief explanation, I’ll be interested in your comments.
15 Essential Elements:
1. Introit (entrance) – Opening song. Music helps draw us into an attitude of prayer and praise. (Psalm 100:4, Colossians 3:16)
2. Invocation – A call for God to be present with us, specifically the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:19, 18:20, Eph 2:18) Side note: how long can a person attend your church before they know for sure that you believe in the Trinity?
3. Confession/Absolution – We acknowledge that in spite of our sins we are loved and accepted by God, in turn we love and accept each other. (John 1:8-10, Rom 7::14-8:4) We are reminded that if we confess our sins that God is faithful to forgive us and make us clean. (John 20:23) These are words of comfort and hope.
4. Praise songs, hymns, spiritual songs – We sing together as God’s people, thanking Him and giving Him honor. What we sing, we know and believe. Side note: What are we teaching our people through the songs we teach them? What are we preparing them for?
5. Salutation – We greet one another. There are people out there.
6. Reading of Scripture – We are to devote ourselves to the public reading of the Bible, all of the Bible. Law, Prophets, Psalms, History, Gospels, Epistles, OT and NT. (1 Tim 4:13)
7. Hymn or Song of the Day – A song that is specifically tied into the day’s teaching and readings.
8. Sermon – The teaching and application of the scriptures. What God demands of us (Law) and what God does for us through Christ (Gospel).
9. The Creed – The people proclaim their confession of faith and belief with the words of the Nicene or Apostles Creed. (1 Cor 15:1, 1 Pet 3:18, 1 Tim 3:16)
10. Prayers of the People – A time for prayer requests, intercession, and thanksgiving for the congregation, community and nation as well as the whole church. (1 Tim 2:1-2)
11. Offering/Offertory – Gifts, tithes and offerings are a response to God’s blessings. (1 Cor 16:2, Ps 116:12, Ps 51)
12. The Lord’s Prayer – We say the prayer that our Lord taught us to pray. (Matt 6:9, Luke 11:2)
13. The Lord’s Supper – We received the grace and blessing of our Lord through the meal that He instituted on the night of His betrayal. It is a time of thanksgiving, remembrance and examination. (1 Cor 11:23-26, Matt 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, John 1:29)
14. Benediction – The Aaronic blessing, given to Moses to be said to the people as they left worship, through Christ we have been blessed and now we are to be a blessing to the world as we go. (Numbers 6:23-27)
15. Baptism – Any reading of the Great Commission shows us that this is a vital work of the church.
With God’s help and blessing we intend to make sure that these elements are included in worship (at CrossPoint) on a weekly (or monthly) basis. We are asking Him to help us incorporate these important components in ways that are creative, missional, attractional, incarnational, and a natural out-flowing of the ministry He has entrusted us with.
What are your thoughts?
– What elements do you think you should add to your church service?
– What elements are not needed?
– Am I missing anything?