Imagine, for a moment, the unimaginable. Colors so vivid and deep that they seem as though they may never end. Songs so sweet that it seems as though you are hearing them for the first time. Beings so impossible, that your eyes must be lying to you about what they are seeing. A voice so powerful that the ground beneath you rumbles and shakes you to your very core. Is your first reaction one of how of much you have accomplished in life? The prophet Isaiah found himself seeing, hearing and feeling all of this. Isaiah 6 tells of how Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord and was not moved to see say how amazing he himself was but, by seeing the glory of the Lord, was immediately shown how much of a sinner he was by crying out, “Woe to me, for I am lost, For I am a man of unclean lips!”
This is the beginning of the Gospel and where we begin our worship services. We attempt to point a congregation to see the greatness of our Lord through songs of adoration. In doing so, we see His greatness, not our own. His greatness will always lead us to confession and repentance. During our services, our congregation will read aloud a prayer of confession or sing a song of confession. John Calvin spoke on why we do this as a congregation in his “Institutes of Christian Religion”:
We see (corporate confession) observed with good result in well regulated churches: that every Lord's Day, the minister frames the formula of confession in his own and in the people’s name, and by it he accuses all of wickedness and implores pardon from the Lord with all.
Once we have confessed and find ourselves under the redemption of Jesus Christ, we enter into songs of worship, thankfulness and preparation for the message from the pastor. Preparation for the message can be accomplished through prayer, bringing people up to date on the life of the church through announcements and the receiving and blessing of the offering. After the sermon, we respond to the message in songs of adoration and prayer. And we close with a sending of the congregation with a benediction with adoration.
It all begins and ends with adoration and glorying in the majesty of our great God! That is the vision behind the flow of our worship service at Gateway. Now, I will show you in a practical way how that is carried out by showing you our service flow for this week.
Welcome with Congregational Reading - Psalm of Adoration and Confession
I’m Going Free (Jailbreak) - Song of Celebration of forgiveness
Love Come Down - Song of Thankfulness
More Than Anything - Song of Worship
Announcements and Offering - Where we are and and who we are as a church
Message - Romans 2:6-11
More - Song of Response to the Word
Benediction - Sending of the congregation with adoration of the Lord
I pray that as you read this, that you would see that our desire as a church is to not be legalistic or dogmatic in our practice of service flow, but that we desire to be intentional about presenting orderly adoration of our Lord and the Gospel message of redemption in every service that we plan. Paul speaks in depth on orderly worship in 1 Corinthians 14, and I’d encourage you to read through that, but allow me to direct you to 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of disorder but a God of peace.” We begin and end with adoration and glorying in the majesty of our great God!