Below is an outline of the shape of our worship services. This sort of thing is often called a “liturgy,” which simply refers to the elements and order of our worship. Each Sunday includes the following:
Call to Worship
Worship begins with God. Because God has first spoken to us through his creation, through his written Word, and ultimately through his Son, we joyfully respond to his revelation in adoration and praise (Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:9). After a prelude song, during which some are still finding their seats, we begin our service with a reading from God’s Word which invites us to worship him in spirit and truth.
We sing songs that exalt the triune God, declaring who he is and what he has done through Christ Jesus. Our primary emphasis is on helping the congregation sing praise to God so that the Word of Christ will dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16-17). Our musical style is contemporary, singing mostly hymns and modern worship songs that are rich in biblical doctrine and help to awaken our emotions with truth. Some weeks, we will utilize a full band for our musical accompaniment; other weeks, it will be more of an ‘acoustic’ feel with just one or two instruments. The goal is for our singing to be a participatory experience, not an observational experience.
Confession & Assurance of Pardon
While our initial response to God’s revelation is both wonder and worship, we are then reminded of our uncleanness, brokenness, and unworthiness before him. After a song of praise or two, we enter into a time of corporate and individual confession. By confessing our sins to God in prayer, we are acknowledging that apart from his mercy and grace, we offend His holy character. After confession comes the Assurance of Pardon, a corporate reminder from Scripture of the forgiveness given to those who confess their sins by faith (1 John 1:9). This includes a song focusing on the story of the gospel: the good news of what God has done for us in Christ and by his Spirit
Part of God’s goal in reconciling Himself to us was that we might likewise be reconciled with one another (Eph. 2:11-22). God’s pardon of us sets us free to love and forgive one another without reservation or qualification. During this part of our worship service, while we dismiss the Toddlers & Preschoolers (ages 2-5) to Kids Church, you have an opportunity to turn to those around you and greet them in Jesus’ name, to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7).
As we conclude our brief time of fellowship in song, we transition into a time of prayer led by one of our pastors. Since everything we do is dependent upon God and his grace, prayer is an appropriate, worshipful, and thankful expression of that dependency (Matt. 6:7-13). This is a time when specific needs and issues related to the life of the church, as well as our community and the nations, are addressed.
Following a few brief announcements, we stand, sing, and provide a time to worship God through the giving of offerings. If you are a guest, then please do not feel any obligation to give! This is an act of worship for our church members, allowing them to thank God for the work he is doing in their lives and to help support the gospel ministry of ECC (2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:6). You may also give online through our website or through the Tithe.ly mobile app.
Preaching is the act that opens up, explains, and applies the Scriptures to us, and it is absolutely essential for the growth and spiritual nourishment of the church (2 Tim. 3:16-4:2). As the Shorter Catechism puts it: “The Spirit of God makes the reading but especially the preaching of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners and of building them up in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.” Therefore, each week the sermon is founded upon biblical truths that will challenge and encourage us to grow in the grace and knowledge of God; we preach “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). We are committed to the faithful exposition of the Scriptures in order to declare the whole counsel of God. This is the heart of our service and is typically about 45 minutes in length.
The Lord’s Supper
Every other Lord’s Day we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted this meal on the night before his crucifixion as a way for us to remember and proclaim his death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26). When we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are dramatizing our union with him and communion with one another (1 Cor. 10:16-17). We are declaring Jesus to be the Lord, Savior, and greatest Treasure of our lives—and because it symbolizes that, not every guest participates. If you have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, if you are not a member of his body, you can simply pass along the bread and the cup to the person next to you.
Following one last song at the conclusion of our service, one of our leaders will read a passage of Scripture, pronouncing a blessing on those gathered to worship. As God’s church, empowered by his Spirit, we are then scattered to worship—sent out into the world to make disciples and change our communities through the gospel. We go with the pardon, presence, and peace of Christ (John 16:33).