When I say “Liturgy” what pops into your head? For some it harkens back to a church experience you had growing up that warms your heart, while others may experience a shiver running up their spine from a rigid, cold church experience. Maybe it confuses you and you have no idea what it means. Liturgy means “the work of the people” and how that looks at Gateway is what I want to discuss in this short post.
As we design services here at Gateway, we endeavor to preach the Gospel every step of the morning. From the songs we sing, to the prayers we pray, to the sermons we preach, if the Gospel isn’t the centerpiece then we’ve missed our soul purpose for meeting. In his book Rhythms of Grace, Mike Cosper explains, “To talk about liturgy in its most basic sense is to talk about what the congregation is gathering to do. In this sense, every church has a liturgy; we all gather with work to do. At one end of the spectrum, that liturgy might be extremely loose-a general mood set through songs and pastoral leadership; the work to be done is a powerful emotional experience. At the other end of the spectrum, the liturgy might be detailed in a word-for-word script that walks the congregation through a collection of prayers, songs and scripture reading. “ He continues, “As we plan and order our services, discerning the content to include, we shape the beliefs and devotional lives of our church members. It’s a crazy pastoral opportunity if you think about it. When else do you have the opportunity to put words in peoples mouths?” That is why liturgy is so important. It’s an opportunity to shape the worship culture of your congregation!
Our liturgical flow at Gateway can be viewed as the acronym A.C.T.S (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication). I love that! We get to teach people at every step of the service how to adore God, confess their sin to God, express thankfulness to God and to humbly petition God. We then enter into a time of instruction from the Word of God where we hear the Gospel again and then finish with a charge and blessing to Go and live out the Gospel. This is our liturgy, and it’s a joy to craft and experience each week through this lens.
I want to use the next few posts to focus in on different aspects of our liturgy in more detail. For now, I pray your worship experience at Gateway is rich and filling.