If you have come from a more formal church background, our worship services will seem rather informal - that’s intentional. However, there is a liturgical backbone to our services. And since we have found rich resources in various Christian traditions, you will find variety within the various components that make up the liturgical backbone of our worship services.
Our singing includes a mix of choruses and hymns. Choruses often include Scripture quotations; they tend to be more contemporary and are often more personally directed to God than hymns. They often use “I-You” language. Hymns usually contain more robust theological language and are often poetically stirring.
Every Sunday we want to read and hear the Scriptures so we can be shaped by God’s Word to us. So that we do not read only familiar or favourite passages, and in order to read most of the Bible during a three-year cycle, we follow the lectionary as presented in the Revised Common Lectionary. Different lectionaries, or lists of Biblical texts for reading in worship services or private prayer, evolved in the varied liturgical traditions of Christianity. The lectionary of the Anglican Church helps balance Biblical readings related to Sundays in the liturgical calendar with continuous Biblical readings from both Old and New Testaments so we are able to listen to or read much of the Scripture in our worship services over a three-year period.
When we started our church, we committed ourselves to be as child-friendly as possible. In the first part of the service we try to include songs the children enjoy, invite children to participate as readers or do actions to songs, and provide a “kids’ time” which often relates to the theme of the worship service. The children then go to Kids Club, where the teaching is geared to their age level.
Prayer is an important part of the Christian life, both as individuals and in groups of two or more people. Each Sunday, in addition to prayers of worship or confession, we try to include a time of community prayer in which we can share our burdens with God, thank Him for what He has done for us, and pray for others. We ask different members to lead our community prayers. After the service, people can request personal prayer with a leader of the church.
On a majority of Sundays we try to say a creed, or affirmation of our faith, as well as the Lord’s Prayer. The regular repetition of these foundational parts of our Christian life helps the words sink deeply into our souls, whether we are children, youth, or adults.
In each service we set aside roughly 20 minutes for expository teaching through the Bible. Several people in our church are gifted in helping us think about the Bible and how God wants us to live. We regularly invite speakers from elsewhere to ensure that we receive a varied and broad perspective. Throughout the year the teaching is related to series in which we explore entire Biblical books or selected passages, a series of related topics, or Biblical stories. Each year we try to include series from both Old and New Testaments in order to keep well rounded in our Biblical instruction. In the summer we usually encourage speakers to choose topics in which they are particularly interested.
After the teaching we open the floor for responses. Questions, observations, discussion, and personal responses provide a way for us to consider and respond to the teaching more fully. We encourage honesty, respect for the opinions expressed, and humility that frees us from trying to force others to adopt our own perspectives.
We close each service with a benediction, through which all of us receive the blessing of God as we go into the rest of our week.
Probably you will find that some parts of our service are meaningful to you, while others may not be. Or some of the ways of doing things are comfortable and resonate with your background, while others make you feel uncomfortable or not at home. In working through your struggles, please remember that what is meaningful to you may not be meaningful to another person, and vice versa. Each of us is given the opportunity to give up our own preferences so someone else’s preference can be satisfied. Another time that person will be able to make a similar sacrifice of love so our preference is satisfied. This is one of the ways we can serve each other in worship.