When you arrive at Graceway on Sunday morning, what has your morning looked like? Maybe you’ve spent some time with God and focused your heart. Maybe you’ve done your best to maintain some semblance of sanity while trying to get sleepy children dressed (sort of) and fed. Maybe you’re just getting off work, maybe you’re still tired and worn out, maybe you’re excited, fearful, worried, or a whole host of other adjectives. But in any case, you’ve arrived at church. Now what?
For most of us, Sunday mornings are a time that we’ve set aside to gather with others and have church. We come up with a lot of creative things to do at church, but the bottom line, the overall purpose of this gathering is to worship. And at Graceway, we gather for worship services.
After Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, in chapter 8 of his book, all of the “people gathered together” and desired to hear the Word of God read, something they’d not heard in over 70-years. In this “worship service” there was praise, face-down worship, and the reading of God’s word which are all similar elements to the things we do today.
Let’s look at the elements that make up our worship services.
We gather so we can sing God’s praises together. This isn’t a buffer to cover latecomers, it’s our chance to lift up the praises of God together in song, to let the praises of God “be in our mouths” (Psalm 149). The New Testament speaks of the early churches singing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual song” together, something we continue to practice in our church.
We gather so we can learn and be encouraged by the Word of God, an act of worship! As Pastor Jeff teaches us about what God’s word says we worship through the hearing of the Word, followed by a chance to worship God through the doing of His word throughout the week.
We gather so we can worship in prayer. Whether you pray from your seat or you choose to come forward, prayer is an act of worship.
We gather to worship through God’s commanded ordinances. That’s a churchy phrase to say that acts like Baptism and the Lord’s Table are beautiful moments of worship, for the participant and the observer.
Even things like Parent Dedication, ordinations, and special celebrations are acts of worship.
We gather so we can worship in the work of the ministry. Yes, I am saying that those announcements are, or should lead us to, worship. Each week you have a chance to be mobilized to share.
And we gather so we can worship through sharing. We share our time by putting a priority on activities like church. We share our talents by serving the body in various capacities. We share our treasure by giving (yes, money) to further God’s kingdom. So every diaper you change, every person you shuttle, those hours you spend greeting, the notes you sing in choir, and the moment you drop that envelope in the bucket are acts of worship.
Each element alone is an act of worship and we can have a complete worship service even if one is missing. The point is to gather and worship together to one ultimate end: give God the greater glory.
See you Sunday – let’s bring God glory together.