We have just completed a template for our church's new order of worship. It, however, is not anything new and innovative. Christians have been using the four-part structure of worship since nearly the beginning of the Church. The flow of the service is as follows: Gathering, Word, Table, Dismissal. Go to any liturgical church, and this is what you'll find.

Now, our church is quite far from practicing in the traditions of the high church, but we are finding great value and effectiveness reaching back to the principles of some ancient practices. For one, we have decided that as humans who constantly forget the gospel we need to be reminded of Christ's life, death, and resurrection every time we gather. So, instead of taking Communion once a month, we will partake of the Lord's Supper weekly. And not only will we receive the elements weekly, we will actively come to the Table rather than remain in our seats as the elements are passed. For another, we have moved the bulk of our music to the Table portion of the service. This way we have already received the Word and Communion and have a whole lot more to respond to in musical worship.

Here is our new (old) four-part template as of today. I'm sure we'll occasionally change stuff around, adding a reading here, or a song there, and perhaps maybe even a confession over yonder, but I hope it is at least a small help to you if you are considering changes. Also, we have decided to print the order in our bulletin for everyone, especially visitors, to follow. Here's the template:


Today’s Celebration

We follow the historic four-part structure of worship: Gathering, Word, Table, Dismissal.

Gathering
  • Opening Song [title]
  • Offering - This is an opportunity for us to give back to God for the work of His Kingdom. Offering boxes are located in the lobby and at each auditorium entrance.
  • Fellowship - Here we have a couple minutes to say hello to each other and get caught up on what’s happening in our community.

Word
  • Teaching [name of speaker] [series Title:] [sermon title] [scripture reference]
  • Response Song [title]

Table
  • Communion - Everyone who is a follower of Christ is invited to come to the Lord’s Table, where together we remember His life, death, and resurrection.
  • Communion Song [title]
  • Praise Songs - Music is one way for us to respond in worship to God’s Word and Communion. We lift our voices to Him as an expression of our love and gratitude for who He is and what He’s done.

Dismissal
  • Blessing - Our worship doesn’t end in this building. We go in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to impact the world as we follow Jesus together.
  • Ministry Prayer - We have ministry teams available at the front to pray with anyone who has a need or concern.

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