The Bible teaches us that the corporate worship of God’s people – our gathered worship on the Lord’s Day – is, in the words of Robert Rayburn, “the defining center and the great engine of the life of faith.” In one particular discussion about worship, the Lord Jesus said that the Father seeks true worshippers who will “worship him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). Certainly private devotion and family worship are vital to the lives of all believers. But the Bible places the clear emphasis on the priority of the church’s worship together.
Most of the instruction found in Scripture regarding worship is for the purpose of teaching God’s people how to worship. God cares about how his people worship him. He never invites us to worship him with whatever forms and practices we desire. God is holy so he must not be worshiped in the same ways that the nations worship their false gods. Neither is worship to be regulated according to the personal preferences or imaginations of a particular individual or group.
Therefore, we seek to order our worship according to God’s Word, making use of only those elements prescribed in Scripture. The typical Lord’s Day worship service at Covenant Presbyterian Church will be characterized by the following elements:
Reading God’s Word
We read from the Bible every Lord’s Day. Each service is bookended with specific readings from Scripture:
- Call to Worship – We open every service of worship with reading one of the passages from the Bible in which God calls his people to worship him. We encourage you to be on time to worship so that you can hear and receive God’s call to worship.
- Benediction – Every service is closed with the pastor proclaiming over the congregation a benediction (blessing) from Scripture.
- Assurance of Pardon – In each service, following a corporate prayer of confession of sin, a passage of Scripture is read which reminds us of God’s forgiveness of all our sins through the work of Jesus Christ.
Singing According to God’s Word
We sing those great Christian hymns – both old and new – which honor God and edify his people through rich biblical truth. It is not our aim to use music in order to appeal to a particular market niche. Our goal is to glorify God by singing according to God’s Word with the help of those musicians with which the Lord has blessed us.
Praying According to God’s Word
Prayer is vital to the life of God’s people. It reminds us that worship is a dialogue whereby we hear God speak through his Word and we speak to him in prayer. Each Lord’s Day we offer prayers of praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, and request.
Preaching God’s Word
God’s Word is the authoritative, unerring and life-giving means by which God produces faith in the hearts of unbelievers and conforms his people more and more to Christ (Romans 10:14-17; John 17:17). Since the day God gathered his people together at Sinai to receive his law (Exodus 20) he has used the proclamation of his Word to teach, correct, and train. Jesus and his apostles made preaching central to the life and growth of the church. Our aim each Lord’s Day is to glorify God, make disciples, and evangelize unbelievers through the preaching of God’s Word.
Seeing God’s Word
The Lord Jesus gave to his church two sacraments or holy ordinances. They are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The sacraments are visible and tangible means by which the Lord builds up his church and confirms his promises to his people. We often call these sacraments “visible sermons” in that they declare visually God’s gracious promises to save and keep his people. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are administered in our corporate gatherings in conjunction with the preached Word and under the care of the elders.