We believe that God teaches us how to worship him in Scripture. In other words, we are not in a position to just make up how we are to worship God; he has already laid it out for us. The simplicity and reverence of our worship is found in the presentation of God’s Word in hymns, Scripture readings, faithful preaching, and the administration of the sacraments.
The order of our worship service is divided into four main parts, and you will notice during your visit that there is a “two beat” structure in each—God initiates and we respond.
1. Entering Into Worship
2. Adoration, Praise, and Confession of Faith
3. Worship in Prayer, Word, and Sacrament
4. God’s Blessing on His People
Below is a brief explanation of each part of our liturgy.
Entering Into Worship
Greeting and Blessing
The call to worship at the beginning of the service serves to draw our attention away from worldly distractions and to focus our thoughts on God. It is a reminder that God has called us to worship, and that our worship is a response to his call. The call to worship is also corporate, meaning that we enter into God’s presence together as a church and join with the Church universal and the heavenly hosts who never cease to praise him. We then stand and hear God's greeting to us, confessing that "our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 124:8).
At this point we read responsively one of the psalms printed in the Trinity Hymnal, meaning Pastor Ben reads one verse, and then we as a church read the next verse, and so on.
Hymn of Preparation
Having heard God's call to worship, we respond with a hymn of praise. Each of our hymns are carefully chosen to make sure they are biblical and connect with the overall beauty and reverence of worship.
Confession of Sin
We read a prayer that highlights the Law (which teaches us how we fall short of what God requires). We first do this together as a congregation, and then we have a short time of silent prayer, confessing our own individual sins.
Assurance of Pardon
Having confessed our sins, the Ruling Elder reads a passage from Scripture that assures us of God's forgiveness to all who repent and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This ends our first section of worship.
Adoration, Praise, and Confession of Faith
This Scripture reading is usually from the Old Testament and connects in some way with the sermon. On the first Sunday of every month we read the 10 Commandments together as a church.
Hymn of Response (hymn of the month)
We respond to God's Word read by singing a hymn. We usually choose an unfamiliar hymn and sing it every Sunday for one month in order to learn it. The hymn often connects with the theme of the preaching series.
Confession of Faith
During this portion of the service we read aloud a few questions and answers from one of the Reformed catechisms. Doing so helps us grow in our understanding of our faith, and it also helps reinforce what we believe together as a church united in Christ, that there is "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all" (Ephesians 4:5-6). On the days that we celebrate the Lord's Supper, we read aloud either the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed at this point.
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Stewardship
Tithes and Offerings
Before we worship the Lord with out tithes and offerings, the Ruling Elder leads us in prayer, thanking God for his blessings and asking for his wisdom in how our church uses the tithes and offerings for advancing the gospel of his kingdom.
Gloria Patri or Doxology and Lord's Prayer
After the offering is received, we sing either the Doxology or the Gloria Patri. We conclude this section praying the Lord’s Prayer together.
Worship in Prayer, Word, and Sacrament
This Scripture reading is usually from the New Testament and also connects in some way with the sermon. Having Scripture readings from both the Old Testament and the New Testament helps emphasize that we believe the whole Bible is the Word of God, and it helps us see how God's plan of redemption was promised in the Old and fulfilled in the New.
Hymn of Response (psalm of the month)
We respond to God's Word read by singing a hymn. This time we usually sing an unfamiliar psalm every Sunday for one month in order to learn it. The psalm often connects with the theme of the preaching series.
Pastor Ben prays on behalf of the congregation, thanking God for his goodness and interceding for our church and the world.
God continues to speak to us through the preached Word. We believe that "the Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effective means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners, of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them up to Christ, of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will..." (Westminster Larger Catechism Q/A 155).
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the last Sunday of every month. The Ruling Elders of our church assist in the distribution of the bread and wine as a demonstration of their pastoral care of church members. In the elements we see, smell, taste, and touch the Word. In the public reading and preaching of the Word, God nourishes us through hearing the gospel. In the Lord’s Supper, he nourishes us through our other senses by making his promises tangible.
Hymn of Thanksgiving
We sing in repsonse to hearing God's Word, thanking him for his grace in our lives.
Congregational Benediction Response
At this point Pastor Ben raises his hands and pronounces the benediction from either Numbers 6:24-26 or 2 Corinthians 13:14. This is not just a formal way of concluding our service, but it has a biblical basis—it is God’s promise of blessing upon his people. In the Old Testament, the high priest would pronounce such a blessing. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, pronounced a benediction upon his people before his ascension (Luke 24:50). And the Lord continues to pronounce his blessing upon his people through ministers, his appointed means. The benediction, therefore, is not wishful-thinking but the reality that God in Christ blesses his people. The benediction at the end of the service is God’s final Word to us—a promise that he is gracious toward us and is present with us as we are sent out into the world. It is God’s sure Word to us that we begin the week with his blessing upon us as we seek to do his will in the world.