Over the past week, I wrote five posts about congregational worship. Now I am going to do what I was actually asked to do and try to put everything into one brief post.
The New Testament gives five main ways in which people should worship as a congregation when they meet on Sunday mornings. These are: 1) prayer, 2) singing, 3) reading and teaching of Scripture, 4) partaking in the Lord’s Supper, and 5) giving.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul writes, “Pray without ceasing.” This is actually an exhortation to the church, not the individual (though it has a lot of application for the individual as well!). The church is called to be a praying church! We should pray prayers of supplication, intercession, conversation, and thanksgiving. God is worshipped through our prayers. Will we make our church a church that prays without ceasing?
In Colossians 3:16-17, Paul writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” God wants us (the church) to sing together. Singing not only glorifies God, but this passage says they also teach and admonish the people around you. So we should intentionally sing music that is both honoring to God and edifying to others. Is our music honoring to God and edifying to others?
In that same passage we see the importance of Scripture as well. He encourages us to, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Of all days, Sunday during church should be a time when we hear the word of God! It should be read, preached, and prayed. Scripture should be the dominant and guiding force. After all, it teaches us how we can live a godly life. Will our church let the word of Christ dwell among us?
Scripture also makes it clear that the Lord’s Supper is an important practice. We take the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of what Jesus Christ did for us. Not only is it spiritually nourishing for us but it is also glorifying to God. Will we obey Jesus and partake in the Lord’s Supper?
Finally, Christians should give during worship. Giving is not only practical (it supports those in need and pays the church’s bills) but it is also a way that we can glorify God. God gave so much to us. We do not give to earn anything back. We give because we want to obey and also have a giving heart just like Jesus. Will we be a church that cheerfully gives?
When we think about what we want to be as a church, these five elements should be part of the worship. We want to be a church of prayer and singing, grounded in Scripture, participating in the Lord’s Supper, and cheerful givers.