Worship

We were created to worship God.

Worship gives unity to our lives, putting God at the center.

God graciously calls us to worship and teaches us in the Bible how we ought to honor and seek Him. 

Visiting a new church can be a little disorienting, and you might find yourself wondering why we worship the way we do. 

Our Confession of Faith (chapter 21) explains our theology of worship, but we are also offer the FAQ’s below for your convenience.

What is your worship service like?

In our worship, God speaks to us through His word and sacrament, and we respond to Him in prayer, song, and affirmation.

After our announcements and a brief time of quiet meditation, we begin with God’s call to worship from an appropriate Scripture passage. We respond in prayer and a song of praise.

We then hear His law read, as an expression of His holy character. We respond to this law by confessing our sins. We do this as a group, using a written prayer in the bulletin, and as individuals with silent prayers of confession.

Then we lift up our heads and hear God’s gospel promise declared to those who trust in Christ. We then approach our God with confidence in a prayer led by the pastor and another hymn. God speaks to us and consecrates us to His service through the reading and preaching of His Word, to which we respond in attentiveness and affirmation: Amen!

God then confirms His word and manifests His fellowship with us by calling us to partake of the Lord’s Supper, which is a spiritual participation in Christ’s body and blood. He calls us by the words of institution, which are explained by the pastor.

We give thanks, remember Christ by a short creed, pray for blessing, and then partake of the bread and wine together after they have been distributed. (The outer ring of cups in the tray is wine, the inner ring of cups is wine diluted with water.)

Finally, we respond to the Supper with another hymn or Psalm and receive His benediction, to which we respond, “Thanks be to God!”

This service is designed as a meeting between God and His people, but all are welcome to come.

Why do you worship as you do?

Our worship is regulated by holy Scripture.

This means that we worship according to the Bible: “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture” (WCF 21.1).

God, not us, decides and reveals what is pleasing to Him. He calls us to worship and to worship on His terms. Leviticus 10:1-3 gives a gripping example of this principle:

“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD has said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”’ And Aaron held his peace.”

We do believe that “there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God… common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” (WCF 1.6)

In other words, God tells us what to do in worship, but some of the details of how we do them is left to the general rules He gave us like “Let all things be done unto edifying” and “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:26, 40).

“Only when the elements of worship are those appointed in God’s Word, and the circumstances and forms of worship are consonant with God’s Word, is there true freedom to know God as he is and to worship him as he desires to be worshiped.” (OPC Directory of Worship)

Why do you worship on Sunday?

The first day of the week has been set apart as the Lord’s Day, the Christian Sabbath, and is a day of holy convocation. God calls His people to assemble to worship Him on this day.

Lev. 23:3 – “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.”

The sabbath day in the Old Testament was based on God’s works of creation and redemption on the seventh day (Exod. 20:11; Deut. 5:15). But the day of the new creation and completion of redemption in the New Testament is the first day of the week, the day Jesus rose from the dead. Thus, our observance of the Sabbath and its “holy convocation” also shifts to the first day.

Jesus met with his disciples on the day of His resurrection and broke bread with some of them (Luke 24, John 20:19-23). A week later, on the first day of the week, they were gathered again and He met with them again (John 20:26-29).

Seven weeks later, on the first day of the week, was the day of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-16), when the disciples were gathered again in one place and the Spirit descended upon them in the morning (Acts 2:1ff). They spoke in foreign tongues and Peter preached.

Later in Acts 20:7 we find that “on the first day of the week” they “were gathered together to break bread” and “Paul talked with them…and he prolonged his speech until midnight.”

In 1 Corinthians 11 we find that the Corinthian church gathered together as a church to eat the Lord’s Supper (11:18, 20, 33), and in 1 Corinthians 16 we find that this day that they met together was the first day of the week, since Paul tells them to collect supplies for the Jerusalem church on “the first day of every week” (16:2).

Finally, we find that the Apostle John received God’s word on the “Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10, a reference to the first day of the week, the day of the Lord’s resurrection.

The early church continued to gather on this day, as Justin Martyr records in A.D. 155: “We all make our assembly in common on Sunday, since it is the first day, on which God changed the darkness and matter and made the world, and Jesus Christ our Savior arose from the dead on the same day” (Justin Martyr, First Apology).

While there is more to the Christian Sabbath than worship, we can see that worship is a very important part of it, even central. It is a day of rest and worship, a feast day in commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a day of convocation, a day to worship with God’s people, a day to partake of the Lord’s Supper and to meet with the triune God.

What is a worship service?

We see in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 11:18,20,33 that the Lord’s Supper is a basic part of Lord’s Day worship – they gathered to eat the Lord’s Supper.

One thing this teaches us is that our worship service is a covenant ceremony – a ceremony that revolves around God’s covenant relationship with us. That is to say our Lord’s Day worship is more like a wedding ceremony than it is a family reunion, concert, or school lecture.

The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal, harkening back to other covenant ceremonies like Passover and the worship service in Exodus 24 with its words “this is my blood of the covenant” (Matthew 26:28, see Exod. 24:8). Thus, our Lord’s Day worship is a ceremony where God confirms His covenant to us and we renew our grateful acceptance of and dedication to this covenant relationship with Him.

“The triune God assembles his covenant people for public worship in order to manifest and renew their covenant bond with him and one another” (OPC Directory of Worship).

A covenantal pattern of worship that we find in Scripture (Ex. 24:1-11, for example) consists of the five “c’s” of worship: call, cleansing, consecration, communion, and commissioning with a blessing (DW B.5.b). In each of these, God graciously initiates and we respond in faith.

God initiates worship – He condescends to us and blesses us by grace. We do not merit His favor. But His blessing is intended to further a relationship – it is designed to provoke our response.

A covenant relationship is a two-sided thing. Thus, covenantal worship is interactive, participatory, shaped by call and response. We find the pattern when God’s people meet with Him in Scripture, such as in Exodus 24:1-11, Isaiah 6, and Nehemiah 9:3.

Thus, our Lord’s Day worship is a ceremony, distinct from serving God in all of life, through it is connected to all of life. It claims and commits all of life. In it we confess the sins of our life and gives thanks for the blessings of our life. It must be connected with faithfulness in the rest of life. It equips us and directs us for our daily life. Our spiritual worship (Rom. 12:1) is to present our bodies as living sacrifices in worship and then to live out this commitment the rest of the week.

Is your style contemporary or traditional?

While God calls us to worship Him in private and in families, He also calls us to worship Him corporately on the Lord’s Day. The fact that our Sunday morning worship is corporate has a few implications.

1. The congregation participates as a body. Thus, we use some forms like hymns and written prayers and responses for the congregation to say together, as well as extemporaneous prayer led by the pastor, to which the congregation assents by saying “amen.”

2. Our gathering is inclusive of the whole covenant community. It ought to manifest the unity of the church without favoritism (James 2:1-4). This gathering includes our children (Deut. 31:12, Mark 10:13-16), since we believe the children of believers are heirs of the covenant and members of the church (Acts 2:38-39, 1 Cor. 7:14, Gen. 17:7).

3. We worship in unity with the historical church. The church transcends our period in history and includes those who have gone before and continue to worship God in heaven. We benefit by using an order of worship that is shaped by centuries of use and biblical reflection. In addition to biblical Psalms, we sing hymns produced by the church over the past two thousand years.

While we worship in a way understandable in our age, it will seem traditional and “churchy” to many. We desire to avoid fads and to have a multi-generational vision for worship.

Why is your worship so serious?

While there are a number of emotions appropriate in worship – such as thanksgiving, love, sorrow, and joy – they are all informed by the attitude of reverence. This attitude is based on the character of God, which is central to worship.

As Hebrews 12:28-29 says,“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

Why do you meet in a Masonic lodge?

We currently rent the Masonic lodge here in Wentzville for our Sunday meeting. We are thankful they have allowed us to do so, and on generous terms. But we have been clear (even to the local Masonic lodge representatives) that we do not approve or support Masonry.

In fact, one of the first study reports in our denomination’s history was on Masonry, which you can read here. In short, it concludes that Masonry is religious but not Christian – rather it is universalist and anti-Christian.

We meet in the downstairs of the building, in part for logistical reasons, but also because we can thereby avoid some of the more distinctive Masonic aspects of the building.

We are currently looking for a more permanent meeting location, but we also take heart from the fact that the church is not a building, but rather a people “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20-21).

What should I wear to worship?

The Bible actually gives us instructions us about clothing in worship, and they can be summarized with these two points:

1. The Bible teaches us to not look down on someone for their clothing. So don’t worry about impressing people with your clothes. James 2:1–4 tells us, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

2. The Bible teaches us to come to worship “in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Tim. 2:9). It actually directs this exhortation particularly to women, but the principle applies to both men and women. This means avoiding ostentatious and provocative display as well as wearing clothing that expresses respect to God and one another. The the condition of the heart is central, and this can be expressed in clothing in a variety of ways (as it is in our church), so we show grace and understanding to others in line with point 1 above.