Why do people show up?

We have discovered that Jesus Christ is the most extraordinary person imaginable. He is our Savior and Lord. Relating to him in worship is an adventure. Focusing on him brings joy and fulfillment. We come here at God’s invitation. His Word controls our worship and his Spirit directs us to Jesus, on whom our worship is centered. As God speaks and we respond through the order of worship, our oneness with Christ grows more intimate.

Will I know what to do?

This congregation is a family, and every Sunday is our opportunity to celebrate together. Happy families whose members love each other enjoy guests; and the God we serve welcomes you too. There is no discrimination here–regardless of your age, race, income, or education.

In worship, God and his people meet. But worshipers give and receive from one another, too. The presence of people is absolutely essential. It is part of the reason we come together instead of merely listening to radio or television.

As you worship with this family, you will not be embarrassed or tricked into something unexpected. We will follow an order of worship carefully planned to help us offer a fitting response together to the majestic God we worship.

Why is there music?

There will be music and singing from beginning to end. The music before the service helps us move from a hectic life to the quietness of meditating on God. During congregational singing, all of us participate in praising God. The music played as we leave sends us away in gladness.

We take many of our songs directly from the Psalms. To these we have added hymns that are biblical in content and centered on God. The choice of song depends on the worship theme and the song’s specific place in the order of worship. Whether you can sing well or not is unimportant. God wants everyone to celebrate.

What is the furniture in front?

The pulpit is the most prominent. You will always hear a sermon from it in a Reformed worship service. Sermons have a central place in the service. However, the songs, prayers, confession, and giving are also integral to worship, not merely preliminaries to the main event.

God speaks both through his Word and through the Sacraments–baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The large table with the chalice and tray represents the Lord’s Supper. From here, elders distribute bread and wine to believers, visual reminders of Christ’s sacrifice made once and for all on the cross.

A baptismal font stands nearby. In holy baptism, those coming to faith as adults are baptized to visibly declare their conversion. Infants born into believers’ families are baptized to seal God’s promise to the children of his covenant.

Does one person pray, or does everybody?

Worship is dialogue between God and his people. When we pray together, we respond to God’s speaking to us. We talk to him in simple language that expresses our thoughts and feelings. Whether the minister prays or the choir sings a prayer song or we recite a prayer in unison, we are all praying at once. The pastor does not pray instead of the congregation. He merely speaks to prompt us to pray in unison with him. God hears the silent praying of the people as clearly as he hears the minister speaking.

The various prayers in the service have special purposes. Through them we confess sin, praise God for his greatness, request his help, and thank him for his blessings. We pray alone or with families and friends during the week. Worship provides a unique opportunity to pray as a congregation.

Why talk about sin?

Reformed worship always emphasizes God’s grace, but the order of worship does include a confession of sin. Because of the holiness of the God we worship, we want our minds and spirits cleansed anew in his presence. Thus the worship service reflects a biblical pattern–sin, salvation, service. The Scriptures constantly remind us of these themes and give us countless examples of those who confess their sins, receive forgiveness in Christ, and then live in new obedience.

Some who are worshiping today must still experience a first-time conversion from a life of unbelief. But God’s people must confess sin too; they are still tempted away from the path of holiness.

Must I give money?

The offering is an act of worship. Our money is our time, our energy, our lifeblood, minted into coin. By presenting in worship the firstfruits of our pay, we show that God really comes first in our lives. We respond thankfully to his gift of himself for us, and this response is made concrete by the gift of money.

The offering is also one way to participate in the exciting work God is doing in the world. The deacons carefully account for our contributions, then gladly use them to feed the hungry, educate children, give shelter to the homeless, and lead others to be followers of Jesus. God expects cheerful and regular giving as he has prospered us.

Why does the minister raise his hands?

The service is closed with God’s farewell. He speaks the last word–one of blessing. The gratifying experience of meeting God ends with the promise that his presence will be real and constant as we leave for our daily activities. In the benediction we are reassured that the peace of God will guard our hearts and lives in Jesus Christ.

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine upon you

and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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