Christ Community Church is a Worshipping Community.
The chief task of the church is WORSHIP—we were redeemed, in the words of the Shorter Catechism, that we might “glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Worship is the central task of the Christian church. But what is worship? Tim Keller defines worship as seeing the worth of God and giving God what he is worth. In all Christian traditions—whether formally or informally liturgical (there is always a liturgy, a shape to the service)—these two core elements exist:
- There is hearing from God, seeing anew what he is worth. The Scriptures are read, heard, and proclaimed in a variety of ways.
- There is giving to God, giving him what he is worth. We give him our sins (confession), our substance (offering), our praise (singing, other responses), and our needs (prayers of the people). We give him our problems (completely trusting in him), our devotion (recognizing and repudiating our idols), our thanks (eschewing self-pity).
In the words of Jonathan Edwards, worship is setting the “affections” on God. Your affections are not merely your emotions, but your motives, the things that drive you, things that you truly treasure. Because we were created for worship, when we do not worship God, we worship other—finite—things; we set our hearts on relationships, careers, money, accomplishments, approval, comfort, power, and control. We set our affections on idols, deriving our meaning and sense of self-worth from them. When we worship God we pull our affections away from these things and set them on God.
The Shape of our Worship:
Prelude: Instrumental to cue our people that we are starting the service.
Welcome and Announcements (Romans 15:5-7)
Call to Worship (Psalm 95:1-7; Hebrews 12:28-29): A passage is read to serve to orient our hearts and minds to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Historic Confession: Depending on the sermon series, we will participate in reading a historic confession or prayer together to connect with the historic church.
Prayer of Invocation (Psalm 105:1-6): In this prayer, we thank the Lord for His presence in our midst.
Song of Preparation and Praise (Psalm 100:1-5): This song serves to lift our hearts and minds to God.
Confession of Sin (1 John 1:9): During this time, we confess as a congregation that we are sinful in comparison to a holy God and in eternal need of a Savior.
Assurance of Pardon (1 John 1:9): These words serve as the healing, encouraging reminder of our union with Christ through faith alone by grace alone. This could come from Scripture, a confession, a prayer, or other writing but always founds the assurance of pardon on Christ alone.
Song of Comfort (Psalm 32:1-11): This song serves to remind us of the person and work of Christ to purchase our forgiveness and restore us to our Abba Father.
Offering of Tithes and Gifts (2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15): This is the time where we recognize God as the Abundant Provider, and we give cheerfully to the work of the Church to use to glorify God and love our neighbors near and far.
Prayer for Children (Psalm 127:3-5; Matthew 19:13-15): This prayer recognizes the blessing and deposit that has been granted to the Church to be overseen with great care to provide for the future of the Church.
Sermon (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12-13): During this time, we exegete the Word of God for encouragement, edification, maturation, conviction, and healing as the Spirit leads.
Song of Response in Praise (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16): These songs grant us a time of praise and response to the Biblical truths that were preached.
Benediction (Numbers 6:22-27): This is the priestly blessing that serves to empower and encourage our people as they depart to their various missions and callings to apply the Word prayed, read, sung, and preached in the service.
The Sacraments (when offered):
Lord's Table (the bread and the cup) (1 Corinthians 11:14-23)
Baptism (Matthew 28:19-20)
Distinctives of Worship at Christ Community Church
Here are some of the things we aim for in our worship services at Christ Community Church:
- Worship that values both our rich heritage and present community. We attempt to combine an appreciation for the richness of the church’s heritage of music and liturgy with the best of contemporary worship. Our worship will endeavor to focus on both the immanence (near) and transcendence (far) of God. We desire to cultivate an appreciation for the richness of our ancient faith with a vibrancy that is refreshing—especially to those who may have been away from the church for some time. We avoid both uncomfortable novelty and stuffy formality. Worship is not a matter of taste. Worship is offering our best to praise our worthy, triune God. “The ‘traditionalists’ need not be deprived of new expressions of faith and ‘contemporaryists’ need not be robbed of continuity with the ancient church throughout time.”
- Worship that is God-centered and yet seeks to welcome the unchurched into our gathering. We want to combine a transcendent focus on Jesus Christ with a welcoming attitude toward those who are spiritually skeptical or curious. We design our services to edify and equip believers to grow in grace while expecting non-Christians to be present. We believe the experience of God’s presence in our midst will be used by God to lead many to embrace Christ in their own lives. We tend to avoid worship services that either dissolve into entertainment, or theological or ethical trivialities. We want to keep the gospel of Jesus Christ central to our worship.
- Worship that speaks to the mind and to the heart. We attempt to provide services that are both deep and practical, both intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying. We want informed minds with inflamed hearts.
- Worship that is joyful and reverent. Our worship must be joyful, hearty, and celebrative because it serves as an anticipation of that heavenly worship that we will enjoy one day forever.
As we structure, arrange, and plan our weekly services of worship, our goal is to continue telling the story God's been revealing to us throughout history. We pray, in the words of the Apostle Paul, that the “eyes of your heart” would be enlightened so that you grasp the immensity of God’s love (Ephesians 1:7-8, 18).
When you’ve truly worshipped, every part of you has been engaged—mind, will, emotions. Ask yourself, “Has the truth touched my emotions and led to a changed life?” If all three are not organically connected, it is an intellectual event, an emotional experience, or volitional pressure, but it is not worship.
Living as a Community of Worship
Of course, like our human families, the family of God isn’t perfect. Eugene Peterson has often commented that the church is equal parts mystery and mess! But this communal structure is part of God’s plan of redeeming the world, and therefore the Christian life cannot and should not be lived in isolation; rather, God calls his adopted children to live in face-to-face relationships in which encouragement, accountability, and friendship are living realities.