I recently shared an example of how we worshipped one Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church. Quite a few people seemed to appreciate that example of a worship service and asked me to share more. I will be glad to do so from time to time. Here is how we worshipped one Sunday just a few weeks ago.
This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher and lead worshipper and myself as service leader. Thushara read the Bible. The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the person who led the element in parentheses. Items in quotes represent roughly what the person said to the congregation. Items not in quotes are explanatory.
Call to Worship (Tim)
We began with a call to worship we “borrowed” from Immanuel Nashville. It is a cold open, which means these words are spoken without any introduction.
To all who are weary and in need of rest;
to all who mourn and long for comfort;
to all who feel lost and worthless and wonder if God even cares;
to all who fall and desire victory;
to all who sin and need a Saviour;
to all who hunger and thirst for righteousness;
And to whoever else will come,
This church opens wide her doors
and offers welcome in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ:
the friend of sinners,
the lover of his enemies,
the defender of the weak, and
the justifier of those who have no excuses left!
“We have been saved by a risen King, so let’s join together to sing his praise.”
“Our assurance is not based on how we live or what we have done, but all on the gracious choice of our King.”
Opposite Text Reading (Thushara)
“Listen to the Word of God.”
[Thushara read Acts 7:1-22]
“This reading was from Acts chapter 7.”
“As we will see this morning, the exodus from Egypt became a national identification marker to Israel that is repeated through the rest of the Bible. We are going to sing a Psalm that builds off this great event.”
Pastoral Prayer (Tim)
Explanation: The pastoral prayer is meant to reflect a kind of planned spontaneity, meaning that I prayerfully prepare for it and know in advance some of the items I will pray for. But I also attempt to be spontaneous and to pray “in the moment.” I thanked God for a successful event the day before at the local pregnancy care centre, I thanked God for mothers (since it was Mother’s Day), and thanked God for his financial provision for our church. It was perhaps five minutes in length.
“We are glad to offer an Early Years Program for children aged 4 and 5. If you would like your children to attend, then please send them to the front as soon as we begin our next song.”
Scripture Reading (Tim)
“We are going to hear from God through his Word, the Bible. Our reading today will be from Exodus 1, which you can find on page 45 if you have one of our church Bibles. If you do not have a Bible, please just raise your hand and one of the ushers will bring one to you. You will find it very helpful to read along and to keep your Bible open during the sermon. Now listen as I read. This is what holy Scripture says.”
“This is the world of the Lord,” to which the congregation replied, “Thanks be to God.”
The sermon title was, “The God Who Saves, Speaks and Stays…and the People Who Don’t” and was part of the series, “The God Who Saves, Speaks, and Stays: A Series on the Book of Exodus.” (Listen here)
- The God Who Saves (1-15)
- The God Who Speaks (19-31)
- The God Who Stays (35-40:33)
- The People Who Fail
- They Fail to Trust God (16-18)
- They Fail to Submit to God (32-34)
- They Fail to Get to God (40:34-38)
Explanation: I built from the theme of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” to commission the people of the church to expect and experience more of God’s faithfulness in the week to come. This then allowed me to speak of some of the church events, activities, and responsibilities that were coming up.
“Receive this blessing of the Lord from His Word: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”