EXPLORING THE WHY BEHIND LITURGY
Liturgy is simply the structure of a worship service and the things it includes. Every church has liturgy, it just looks different for each church. For example some churches will include 3 contemporary songs, a sermon, and a closing song. Whereas another church will have a much more detailed liturgy that includes many ancient traditions and classic hymns.
When I tell people about my church I'm not quite sure where to start. Here's why:
Our church respects, cherishes and embraces ancient Christian tradition but is also living in the present as a contemporary church. Our church is strongly anchored to scripture in all that we do, believe, and preach but we also believe in following the moving of the Holy Spirit and practicing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the miraculous. Our church is extremely close knit but it's not because of some cultural similarity. Rather, our body is comprised of people who are very hungry for more of God. As we choose to take this journey together we grow closer than brothers. With this being the case, people from many different denominational and cultural background have found a home at our church. We are an inter inter-generational church that honors each other regardless of physical age or spiritual age. We choose to cross generational boundaries to worship God in one spirit.
We are a church that is hard to label with the typical church tags, but there is one thing that brings us all together as a congregation. We come together because we desire to be genuine worshipers to glorify our Triune God.
We are very intentional in our choice of an ancient-future worship service structure.
Before we discuss why we do what we do each Sunday I believe it it will benefit us to start by define who we are as a church. Let’s start with our mission statement:
RESURRECTION FREE METHODIST CHURCH
WORSHIPING THE LAMB OF GOD IN
SPIRIT, SCRIPTURE, SACRAMENT, AND SERVICE.
WHO ARE WE?
First and foremost, we are worshipers. This is what we are made for and the core of who we are as humans.
HOW DO WE WORSHIP?
We worship in Spirit
We desire to be filled with and surrendered to the Holy Spirit. We believe the Spirit is alive and active in our world today. We witness miracles in our everyday lives that bring glory to God. We celebrate Christ exalted in the churches around us and His Holy Spirit moving throughout the city. We believe God speaks in this age and guides His Church to a closer walk with Jesus.
We worship in Scripture
We are a Scripture Centered Church. The Word of God is living, active, and full of power. The Bible is the ultimate authority for what we do, believe, and preach. In our service, at the very least, you will hear four scripture passages read aloud which are found in both the Old and New Testament. You will get a few bonus scriptures throughout the sermon, music, prayers, and anywhere we can fit it in.
We worship in Sacrament
Sacraments are outward visible signs of inward spiritual realities. We believe Christ is present with us in the breaking of the bread and the waters of baptism. We receive nourishment and wholeness from these blessings. We celebrate in the sacrament of communion every week.
We worship in Service
We believe that God wants us to join with Him in His mission. We do this through a strong focus on prayer, the equipping of the saints, local mission outreaches, and global missions. We take seriously Christ’s charge to be salt and light and we equip our congregants for the ministry opportunities they will encounter in the week to come.
WHY ANCIENT AND FUTURE?
We incorporate some of the ancient traditions because we value how God's hand has been moving throughout history. There is great treasure in the wisdom we glean from previous generations as they sought to follow Jesus. This tradition unifies the body of Christ. Not only do we see value in the ancient but we also see how the Holy Spirit is alive and moving in the contemporary church. He invites us to join with him in his present and future mission. We have a blended service to reflect and embrace Christ among us. Our desire is that we may artfully combine the best of the old with the best of the new.
When we understand who we are it makes sense why we do what we do. We love the Spirit Who leads us into all truth and gives us the power to follow Jesus in our world today so we make room for this in our service. We love the God-breathed Scriptures that are our authority and comfort in this life so we make sure it is read when we are together. We love the sacraments and traditions that have been passed down throughout all Christendom so we worship using these tools with thankful hearts. We love serving because it is what God has called us and empowered us to do so our service has a strong focus on prayer and equipping of the saints. What else would we possibly want to fill our worship service with than these elements?
I hope over the next few weeks to answer why the old and new traditions of the christian church are good when used for the right reasons. We will go through each element of liturgy one week at a time. We will explain some background as to where these tools came from, their history, how they are intended to be used, scriptural examples, and how you can participate in these acts of worship.
As you follow along in our series, try to identify these themes.
GOALS OF OUR LITURGY:
UNIFY: our church body as well as the Church across culture and time
ANCHOR: to Jesus, to the gospel, to Scripture, and to good doctrine
EQUIP: strengthen spirit, equip for ministry, and send out
BECKON: to follow, to draw closer, and to love Jesus more
GLORIFY GOD: Most importantly, lifting high our Triune God.