How Do We Worship?
Worship is a dialogue between God and his people. God speaks to us and we respond in praise, confession, and adoration. Sunday worship at Christ Presbyterian Church has a three-fold purpose. We seek to be grace motivated, corporate, and thoughtful in all that we do.
Grace Motivated - Our heart's affections are poured out in response to the magnitude of God's grace in Christ. We can't help but sing and make music to Him as we grow in our understanding of this reality.
Corporate - God calls His people to gather together in worship of Him. Our worship service is structured to engage us as a community of believers to participate in the dialogue of worship.
Thoughtful - We think carefully and deeply about everything we plan and do in worship.
“The essence of worship is satisfaction in God…worship can't be a means to something else. You simply can't say to God, ‘I want to be satisfied in You so that I can have something else.' Because that would mean that you are not really satisfied in God but in that something else. But, for many, the event of ‘worship' on Sunday morning is conceived of as a means to accomplish something other than worship. We ‘worship' to raise money; we ‘worship' to attract crowds; we ‘worship' to heal human hurts; we ‘worship' to recruit workers [or] improve church morale; we ‘worship' to give talented musicians an opportunity…In all of this we belittle worship and God. The essence of worship is satisfaction in God.”
-John Piper, Dangerous Duty of Delight
Our songs, prayers, readings, and sermon all help create a worship experience where you can encounter the living God and respond to His work in your life.
Questions & Answers:
What is your style of worship?
Bill Hybels, pastor of mega-church Willow Creek, once said, “I could change our theology and no one would notice. If I change the smallest thing about worship, I could lose my job!” Worship rightfully matters to people. Usually, however, people are less concerned with the Biblical principles of worship than they are with the style of worship. But styles are not Biblical; they are simply human preferences. One person likes traditional worship, which to them means hymns sung to either piano or organ. Another person likes contemporary worship which to them means songs written in the 80’s and 90’s accompanied by a worship team.
At Christ Presbyterian Church, we want our “style of worship” to be a reflection of both our ancient Christian heritage and the modern church culture. This means that we recognize that the church has a long and important history as well as a vibrant present and future. We want to draw upon the ancient creeds and confessions while recognizing that God is at work in Christian artists and musicians today. It would be equally as arrogant and foolish to disregard what God has done in the past as it would be to ignore what He is doing in the present. By reflecting both the church’s past and present we hope to preserve our rich Christian heritage while remaining relevant as we carry God’s truth into the future.
Why is your worship structured (shouldn't we be free to worship as we are led)?
Of course we should worship as we are led. However, being led in private worship and being led in corporate worship are two different things. The metaphor we can learn from is a musician. When a musician plays by himself, he has great freedom to play whatever he wants in whatever way feels best to him. When he plays with others, however, they must play the same music or chaos will result. It is the same with worship. Private worship can occur at any given time in any number of settings and can take various means of expression. Corporate worship, on the other hand, must out of necessity follow an order. This is the purpose of liturgy. A congregation’s liturgy allows the congregation to be “led” in unity into the presence of God as a corporate body.
What does it mean to have a liturgy?
The word ‘liturgy' comes from Greek and means, "the work of the people." In the context of the church, it refers to the structure of the worship service. Every church has a liturgy and some are more structured than others.
The Bible indicates that there should be some order and intelligibility to the way that we worship (Ex. 25-31, 1 Cor. 14:6-19, 40). However, there is no prescribed liturgy mandated in the Bible. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each congregation to attempt to establish a liturgy that will both edify its members and glorify God.
At Christ Presbyterian Church, we strive to be sensitive to God’s leading in this area. Currently, our basic liturgy typically includes the following elements:
- Call to Worship
- Confession of Sin
- Prayers of Intercession
- Scripture Reading
- Creedal Statements of Faith
- Sacrament and Response
Although we believe this liturgy follows both a logical and biblical progression, we do not think that we have the ‘perfect worship' and therefore we lean heavily on God’s grace.
Why do you use the instruments and styles of music that you do?
The short answer is because we want to minister to the culture where God has placed us. To explain further, we want to communicate the Gospel to a 21st century community in Georgetown, TX. If God had placed us in 12th century Western Europe we might consider adding some Gregorian chants to our worship service. However this is clearly not the case. The reality is that we live very close to the self proclaimed “Music Capital of the World!” This fact dictates that our culture communicates through modern styles of music. While not all modern styles of music are conducive to worship, we are open to the modern styles that are conducive to worship and help to worship effectively. To do any less would be to turn our backs on communicating to the very culture that God is calling us to reach.
Why do you have a confession of sin?
As followers of Christ, we are totally forgiven for all of our sins (Rom. 8:31-39), yet we are still sinners at war with our flesh and evil in the world. Confession is a way of cleansing our conscience and preparing ourselves to hear the Gospel preached. We do not believe that corporate confession makes us any more acceptable to God or that we cannot worship if we have unconfessed sin. Rather, in confession we are training ourselves to recognize the areas of our lives that have not been conformed to the lordship of Jesus Christ and which we hold on to out of fear and pride.
Why do you use creeds?
In a culture that makes the individual the ultimate source of truth; professions of faith through creedal statements (like the Apostle’s Creed) underscore how we are to live as a community that is called to live by faith and glorify God. Professor John Frame wrote that a creed is, “simply the church's statement of what it believes the Scriptures to teach. When people meet in the name of Christ, it is altogether fitting that they identify themselves as His people. A creed does that, by setting forth the Gospel.”
What is the benediction?
The benediction comes from a Latin word meaning ‘to speak well' or ‘to speak a good word'- it is a blessing from God as He sends His people out into the world. The call to worship and the benediction act to ‘frame' the worship with God's words. We begin with God's gracious invitation into His presence and we end with God's promise to always be with us as we go out. Many of the books of the New Testament contain benedictions at or near the end of the book.
Why do you take communion every week?
Because it is Biblical and historical.
The Bible does not make it sufficiently clear that the celebration of communion is required wherever and whenever true Christian worship occurs. However, the clear pattern in the Scriptures is that the apostolic church celebrated communion as one of the regular elements of worship (Luke 22:19, Acts 2:42; 20:7; I Cor. 11:17-20; cf. 14:26).
Because of what we believe about communion.
We believe that communion is a 'means of grace' through which the Lord richly blesses us. We believe it is not just a remembering of the work of Christ, but a present communion with Christ himself (I Cor. 10:16), where we find strength, renewal, and spiritual nourishment.
Because it encourages us to experience Jesus and the gospel.
For a culture that is visually and experientially oriented, the Eucharist (biblical word that means "thanksgiving") presents the gospel in a three-dimensional, visual manner and urges us to come to Christ that we might "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 24:8). Because a person must be a genuine Christian before receiving communion, it also provides us with a winsome alternative to what some churches have in an "altar call." As we "proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (I Cor. 11:26), we invite everyone to consider their standing before God and place their faith in Him.