By Tim Juhnke
Being a creature of habit, I am usually not a big fan of change; but change can be good. Some of you might have noticed that we recently made a few alterations to the order of our worship service. Behind these changes are ardent desires that (in the words of our Philosophy of Worship) seek to “present the glory of God in such a way as to provide a framework for the congregation to respond in worship.” Thus, we want to be Biblical and intentional in everything that we do in our corporate gatherings. The following is a brief explanation of the order of our worship service.
The worship service should actually begin before you are seated. When possible, adequate rest is necessary. I know for some this is a huge challenge because they have to work the night before. But in general, the only thing worse than a sleepy Christian in the worship service is a boring preacher leading the worship service! Furthermore, Christians should arrive to church with sins confessed and heartfelt desires to experience God in the communion of saints. You might be surprised how important those prerequisites are! In ancient days the worship service began with the blast of a ram’s horn that aroused the attention of the worshipper. Our services start with a vigorous song of praise that serves as a call to worship for all the church. Sundays are often bustling with activity and warm chatter, but the call to worship signals that our gathering before God as His people is about to begin. After the call to worship, the congregation is seated. What follows is what I call a necessary (but not necessarily) evil: announcements. Announcements take care of family business, but we endeavor to keep them brief. It is after the announcements that our worship service actually begins. In the past, we simply started singing after announcements, but now the worship service will begin with a pastoral prayer and the reading of Scripture. The portion of Scripture read is almost always the portion of Scripture that will be expounded upon in the preaching service. After the reading of Scripture, our corporate worship in song will commence. By placing the Scripture reading at the beginning of the service, it is our hope that your mind and heart will begin to be prepared for the exposition of that Scripture through the songs and prayers and preaching that follow.