Every now and again I like to share one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this to provide just one example of how a church applies the principles of Scripture to its public worship. If there is something you see here that would bless your church, you have permission to pilfer freely!
This service’s cast of characters included Patrick as our service leader, Dwight as the elder who prayed the pastoral prayer and read the Scripture, Allie as the lead worshipper, and Paul as the preacher. Our band consisted of piano and violin with two female vocalists. 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. The entire service took approximately 90 minutes.
In order to integrate a little more music into our time together, we often sing an extra song five minutes before our 10:00 AM start time. This year we are singing the same song for four weeks in a row in attempt to grow more familiar with it and to learn to sing it in parts. This week and month we sang “I Surrender All.”
Call to Worship (Patrick)
Patrick began the service with a call to worship. “‘Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.”’ This call to turn to God comes from Isaiah 45. The right day to turn to God is today. The best time to get right with God is now. Every single person will stand before God and explain their life. There are no exceptions. None whatsoever. So turn to Him now. And praise His holy Name.”
- “Come Ye Sinners”
- “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”
Corporate Praise (Patrick)
“We have sung of our intention to come to Jesus and our confidence in His abounding grace. What else is true about God that should encourage anyone to approach Him today. He is gracious … what else? What makes us sure that any person can approach Him? What do we know is true about Him from the Bible that should encourage all of us to turn to Him? Just shout those out.”
For a few minutes the congregation shouted out their answers.
“The only thing that holds us back from God is our sin. Let’s use the words of that great Psalm of confession, Psalm 51, to sing our plea for forgiveness and our confidence that He will grant it.”
- Psalm 51 (set to Crimond)
Pastoral Prayer (Dwight)
Dwight led the pastoral prayer. Each week we pray for some items that are urgent but also some that are “scheduled.” This week those scheduled items included one like-minded congregation in our city, the war in Ukraine, and one of our church members who was preaching at a nearby church.
Scripture Reading (Dwight)
“Please take your Bible and turn to Judges 2. We will be reading from Judges 2:6 to Judges 3:6. You will find that on page 188 if you are using one of our church Bibles. This is what Holy Scripture says…”
Dwight read the text, then closed with, “This is the word of the Lord,” to which the congregation responded, “Thanks be to God.”
- “There is a Foe, Whose Hidden Power”
Paul preached the opening sermon for a new expositional series on the book of Judges. This sermon was, in my opinion, a master class in how to introduce a book. It was titled “We Need a Savior.”
- “There Is A Fountain” (acapella)
Patrick tied the message of the sermon into a “commission” that challenged the church to live out its truths throughout the week. This commission replaces (and carries some of the content of) what would usually be labelled “announcements” or “notices.” It forces us to tie information we want the church to know into a call to action based on the truths of the Word.
The benediction was 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”