Learning from Historical Liturgies

We don't do worship that way.

We don't have a liturgy that we follow.

Our order of service is different each week.

I have made those statements.

That was my 'worship history.' That was all I knew about worship. I thought that churches that followed a liturgy were stuck in a routine and were just going through the motions of worship.

I worked for a pastor who didn't want me to even print an order of worship for the people on stage. His thinking was that I need to let God lead me from one song to the next.

Two thoughts:

  1. You can hear from God other than a Sunday morning. If you think otherwise you limit God.
  2. Making a plan of your own choosing can lead to selfish worship that is based on feelings and not the gospel.

In the book Christ-Centered Worship the author, Bryan Chapell states: "where the gospel is honored, it shapes worship. No church true to the gospel will fail to have echoes of these historic liturgies."

The Bible is a presentation of the gospel, all scripture glorifies God and points to His plan to redeem people through Christ.

If the whole bible is a presentation of the gospel, then our worship should be a reflection of it also. That is what we can learn from ancient liturgies that have been passed through generations. Those liturgies present the story of God.

This is a subject that my team and I discuss regularly. When we plan and preview upcoming worship services we ask 'how is the gospel communicated?' There is an expectation in our planning that we have been intentional to present the gospel.

There is also freedom to vary how we do that each week, we learn from historical liturgies, we are not locked into them.

Here is the worship outline we used last week. We pray that the gospel was evident in the songs and other elements we used.

God is God...we worship Him for who He is

Holy Is The Lord Glory to God Forever

Confession of Sin

Spoken introduction using theme of Isaiah 6

Lord Have Mercy (soloist sang verses, congregation responded on chorus.) Spoken Confession (between chorus 2 and verse 3 the worship leader read the following prayer)

Merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you

with our whole heart and mind and strength.

We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been,

help us amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be,

so that we may delight in your will

and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone


Songs of Testimony

I Stand Amazed We Will Declare Your Name

The Spoken Word

A look at Luke 17:1-13 (podcast for February 5, 2012, is uploaded here)


An intentional time of reflection on God's Word


This post is my participation in the blog carnival, Sunday Setlists, found at The Worship Community.

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