What's a Liturgy and What Does It Have To Do With Me?

If you spend time at any of our worship leader meetings or planning meetings, you’ll likely hear the term “liturgy” tossed around during our conversations. It’s a pretty important part of what we do at our services, because it is what we do during our services.

The word itself is the combination of two Greek terms, but the most common translation used is “work of the people.” You didn’t ask for any of that, but it’s free, so take it for what it is, because it’s important. It’s important because, essentially, when we gather together as a congregation on the weekends, we have work to do. A liturgy should walk us through the story of the Gospel and allow to sing, celebrate, and be shaped by the Gospel.

Over the years, it seems like the word liturgy has gathered some dust as it’s been replaced with names like order of worship and the like. Regardless of what it’s called, every church has a liturgy of some sort. Every church has some list of elements that they’ve chosen to include in their services. Gateway is no different. The church staff and worship leaders take time to plan, plot, and discern what content to include in our liturgy. Part of that content is wrapped in important spiritual disciplines like prayer, singing, teaching, etc. One important thing to note here is that the church liturgy can help us develop personal liturgies for our daily lives, utilizing the same spiritual disciplines. Prayer, singing, studying Scripture, giving, and serving others, to name a few, are all important spiritual disciplines for a Christian.

Let’s put the rubber to the road by looking at the prayer we generally offer following the first set of music. We refer to this as our Prayer of Confession and Assurance. If you ever pay attention to that prayer, there is typically two elements at play. First, we acknowledge our sins, naming them specifically, and second, we then acknowledge the assurance of pardon we have because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. It’s powerful and important to acknowledge and name our sins, but it’s also equally important to recognize that our sins hold no power over us, because Jesus has conquered sin and death. He has claimed us as His own and sealed us for eternity by His work and God’s grace towards us. This particular prayer isn’t a spiritual discipline that we should limit only to our church gatherings, but a prayer and discipline we should incorporate into our daily prayers when we are scattered, as well.

Another obvious example of the church liturgy helping shape our own daily liturgies is that of worshiping God through song. This one is a pretty important part of our liturgy, and it’s an easy one. You have full license to go cue up the Gateway worship playlist on Spotify (yes, that’s a real thing) and sing as loud as you want while you’re driving to work, mowing the yard, or cleaning up those dishes.

Hopefully this helps provide at least a little insight into how our weekend services are shaped and how those services can shape us. There are rhythms to the Gospel and our church liturgy helps us find those rhythms, so that we grow in our admiration for Jesus and grow closer in our walk with Him on a daily basis.