Each church worship service is different and unique. We rejoice for this! This is a good and beautiful thing. It is good because in each church service one can see and experience the diversity among the people of God. No one church is the exact same. But in another sense, each worship service should be similar in biblically authentic churches. This means there should be similar aspects within the worship service. At GCC we are convinced that the New Testament teaches us about the important elements of a worship service.
Here is what you can expect at a GCC worship service:
Our worship service is filled with joyful singing. The Bible teaches us that singing is one of the many ways to worship God. Paul says, “but be filled by the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord…” At GCC we sing the historic hymns of the faith. While we respect “contemporary worship songs” we prefer to sing traditional hymns. We do this for a few reasons. First, most people regardless of age know the hymns. Second, they are easy to learn and sing corporately. Third, they are historical. It is humbling to sing a hymn written from the 17th century or older. Our song leader, piano player, and choir lead us in praising God Almighty.
Within our worship service we take specific time to pray at the beginning of the service, during the offering, prior to preaching, and during the preaching moment. We desire to seek the Lord in worship through prayer. Prayer isn’t about us rather it is about God. So we confess our sin and dependency. We share our needs and pray for them. Our hearts desire as His people is to know Him and hear His voice in prayer. During the pastoral prayer, we stand corporately and verbally say “amen.” In this we show unity and reverence in the name of Christ.
“Each person should do as he has decided in his heart — not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8 CSB). We believe giving financially is an important act of worship to God. God has blessed us, so in turn we are to bless others. During the worship service we “pass the plate” not as a means of manipulation but as a way of sacrificing back to God in worship to Him.
Public Reading of Scripture
Paul states “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture.” Unfortunately in some contexts the only Scripture read out loud is the sermon text. In other contexts one might be surprised never to hear the Bible publicly read. At GCC we want to hear the Word. Each service we hear a Scripture reading from the Old Testament and the New Testament, plus the sermon text read out loud. During the sermon text we stand out of reverence for the reading of the Word. We follow the pattern of Ezra in Nehemiah 8:5, “Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up.”
The Bible says, “faith comes by hearing…” We firmly believe in a form of preaching called “expository preaching.” Pastor Michael also refers to this as “text-driven preaching.” This is the form of preaching that takes the message of the text as the message of the sermon. The preaching of the Word creates life in God’s people. We desire to hear from God through His Word (Pastor Michael has written about the important of expository preaching). We believe preaching is the first mark of a healthy church.
Practice of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
As a Baptist church we practice the ordinances of the church. When a sinner repents we believe they should follow the Lord in baptism, being fully immersed. We celebrate this time! We also remember the Lord’s death in the Lord’s Supper. We set aside a time for the Supper during the first Sunday of the month. We are convinced that any baptized believer can partake in the Supper. Historically the ordinances are the other marks of a healthy church. The ordinances identify the “who” of the gospel.
The Bible teaches us not to forsake the assembly of the church (Hebrews 10:25). While we seek to incorporate all these Biblical elements into our worship service, you can expect a joyful time filled with laughs and encouragement. We try not to take ourselves too seriously but we desire to take the gospel seriously. Our church believes the best way to show the love of Jesus is through hospitality. You can expect to be embraced and loved in the Gospel of Jesus.
Will you come visit us this Sunday?