Understanding Our Church Worship
The Prelude: Ten minutes before the worship begins, the Prelude should start. As the worshippers enter their seats, they should pray and meditate, preparing themselves to receive the Word of God. One shuts the worldly things out.
The Procession: This is symbolic of the approach of God’s children to His throne. The choirs march with togetherness, in step with music. This musicshould be a song of jubilation and triumph, sung with great favor. The choirs do not enter the Chancel (Choir loft) until God’s blessings have been invoked by the Minister, if such has not been done in the choir room. The Choir should pray together before ministering to congregation!
The Call to Worship: The Call to Worship is to remind those who are assembled, that God is a spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and truth. The Minister sounds the trumpet, calling the Church into a worship session. No matter what words he or she may use, it means nothing else is at hand except the worship.
The Invocation: The first act in the worship itself is the Invocation. This is a short prayer by the Minister, while standing, invoking God’s presence and blessings upon the choirs and congregation assembled to worship. This prayer should not be a long drawn out prayer but straight to the point of to calling upon a greater power such as God for help.
The Hymn of Praise: This is the first hymn of the worship. It expresses praise, rejoicing in gratitude. The hymn also ascribes glory and honor to His name. This should be a lively hymn with great jubilation and praise.
The Responsive Reading: The Responsive Reading gives the whole congregation an opportunity to share in the reading of the Word. It also
reflects the togetherness of the congregation toward its central theme of worship, God.
The Gloria Patri: The Gloria Patri is the connecting link between the Old and New Testament Scripture. The Christian faith includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; this makes the Christian faith, Trinitarian. It also expresses our belief in the Judeo Christian Faith. It is said or sung. It is a salute to the trinity and should never be said or sung while sitting or kneeling. The posture should be, standing, head up, eyes open, Remember it is not a prayer.
The Affirmation of Faith: This is a constructive act in rejoicing in the truth. To recite a creed is to declare a faith with boldness and convictio as a code by which to live and die. There is great value in confessing the faith that binds the worshippers to a common heritage. There are a number of creeds to recite. This is why it is necessary to name the creed to be recited. Any and every creed should be said while standing with the head up, eyes open and with conviction. Always remember, that is not a prayer.
The Scripture: The lesson from the Holy Scriptures is the sounding board of the sermon that is to be preached. It is also significant as religious meditation guiding through spiritual verities. The lesson should be carefully chosen. A reader, who is absorbed in the message to the point of forgetting oneself, becomes a voice for the utterance of truth. The Bible holds the central place in Christian worship as the voice of divine revelation. It is God speaking to us, for it is the Word of God.
The Call to Prayer: This may be said by the Minister or sung by the choirs and congregation. It is intended to prepare the people for prayer. It assures the congregation of God’s willingness to hear and answer prayer.
The Pastoral Prayer: This is a extemporaneous prayer of intercession. It is a meeting of communal or shared concerns of the congregation. The Pastoral Prayer is not only a priestly privilege but it is the responsibility of the Pastor, who is more sensitive to the needs of the congregation.
The Choral Selection or Congregational Song: This is a musical outburst to gratitude, express praise, rejoicing, faith consecration, and rededication.
The Ministry of Kindness or Benevolence Offering: This is the period of worship where Christians can share the blessings with those who are less fortunate. Christians practice, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. We could very well be on the receiving end. Since we are privileged to give, God will also reward the giver.
The Pastoral Observations and Announcements: This may be done by the Pastor or his designee. They should be concise and relevant to the Christian Church or concerns that it can support. In connection with announcements, visitors should be recognized and made to feel welcome.
The Offering: Here the celebrated commitment of sacrifice is actualized. Whether it is laid in the offering plate or brought forward and laid on a table, one’s sacrificial gift should represent his offering to God.. Tithing is strongly encouraged.
The Hymn of Preparation: This is a carefully chosen hymn, intended to give the congregation the final preparation to receive the message.
The Sermon: The Sermon is the central part in most protestant worship services, bringing a united search for the deeper meaning and concerns of the religious life, to declare and decide to follow this way. The Sermon expounds the Scripture that was read. All the foregoing preparations have been moving toward this point. Faith comes by hearing. How can we bear without a preacher? How can he preach unless he has been sent.
The Invitation: After the exposition of God’s Word, we “open the doors of the church” and extend the invitation to Christian Discipleship to those who would declare and decide to follow in the way. Those who accept the invitation and come forward, make an open declaration of their desire to flee from the wrath that is to come: and become a disciple under this fellowship.
The Hymn of Invitation: Is sung as an indication of our desire to be consecrated to Him.
The Closing Hymn: This is a carefully chosen hymn, expressing thanks and requesting God’s presence to be with us, that His guiding had sustain us until we come together in another corporate worship.
The Benediction: The benediction signifies an act of “at ease.” It also offers repose easily lost in closing the service. The benediction sends the worshippers forth with the guiding and sustaining presence, “even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20). Everyone is encouraged to stay until the Benediction (Blessing) is given.
The Postlude: This is the period of reflection on the worship experience. In these moments of quietness before departing, the value of the whole service may be summed up in perspective.