Worship, in its simplest form, is recognizing who God is as the Giver, Restorer, and Sustainer of life, and then giving thanks. A worship service is not a program — it is an encounter with the Living God in the context of the community of God’s people. While its focus is not on individual preferences, it is a space that invites us to acknowledge who we are and what we carry; helping us rename our reality in light of who God is. A worship service shapes us into a people following Jesus in whatever realities we face. Within this framework, there is movement from praise and adoration, to sharing, to hearing the Word, to confession and response, to being sent forth. The arrangements of the elements that make up a service may vary, but the reason we worship never changes.
WPMF’s Vision Prayer:
Grant us your grace, O God, to grow as a joyful community of Jesus’ disciples, who honor you in worship, seek your presence daily, encourage each other in faithfulness, invite others to faith in Christ, and work for the shalom of our city.
Elements of the service
A typical service will include the people of God gathering to praise, to share with God’s people, to hear the Word and respond, and to be sent forth with God’s grace.
1) To Praise
In the first part of the service invite the congregation into God’s presence by using songs, Scripture and prayers about and to God. We gather from varied places and experiences from our week, and often need help in focusing our minds and hearts on God. This part of the service can help us open ourselves to God as we move from the rush of the week. This section can be separate from the theme of the day.
2) To Share with God’s People
This section of the service acknowledges the community of people gathered to worship God together. During this section, we greet one another with the peace of Christ, introduce and welcome visitors, and share our joys and concerns. Confession & pardon or a moment of reflection could be used to transition into the next section; inviting space to name what we carry and experience God’s grace.
3) To Hear the Word and Respond
This section is a time to hear God’s word, through Scripture, children’s time, preaching, and congregational response, as well as to respond through offering, confession, and congregational response.
5) Sent Forth
As the worship service concludes, the focus is on encouraging and blessing as we are sent into the world to follow in the ways of Jesus. This is done through the sending song and benediction. Consider having the announcements right before the last song and benediction.
Example of an order of worship
- CALL TO WORSHIP [or start with singing to ‘gather’ people]
- SINGING [3 songs] “song title” (Hymnal or Supplement number)
- PASSING THE PEACE & WELCOME VISITORS
- SHARING & PRAYER
- CONFESSION & PARDON/MOMENT OF REFLECTION [space to recognize what we carry and receive God’s grace. Include silence]
- OFFERING / SINGING [2 songs] “song title” (Hymnal or Supplement number)]
- CHILDREN’S TIME
- SCRIPTURE READING
- SINGING [song that relates to sermon] “song title” (Hymnal or Supplement number)
- CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE [invitation to share what stirred or spoke to us in the service]
- SINGING [song that helps to send us back out into the world] “song title” (Hymnal or Supplement number)
Typically there are 7 congregational songs in one service
Timing of service
Here are some approximate times for the different parts of the service:
~ 3 minutes for each congregational song
~ 3 minutes for litanies
~ 2-3 minutes for Scripture reading (depending on length)
~ 10 minutes for communion, children’s time, and sharing time
~ 20 minutes for sermon
~ 7-10 minutes for sermon/congregational response