At Redeemer, we believe that the deepest longing of the human heart is to worship God. As a result, we try to provide ample opportunities, both in the Sunday service and at other times, for you to worship God—whether in song, in speaking, or even in silence. To learn more about worship at Redeemer, we encourage you to read our philosophy of worship below.
Redeemer's Philosophy of Worship
A commonality among all churches is that they have a "worship service," but why? Why does Redeemer Presbyterian's worship service look the way it does? Here are some thoughts on what we call our "philosophy of worship" here at Redeemer.
Worship is what we were created to do. Everyone worships something. Christian worship (derived from “worth-ship”) means declaring the infinite worth and the gracious, redeeming work of God. It is glorifying God for who He is and for what He has done. That is what is taking place in heaven right now, and it is what the Church will do for all of eternity. For this reason, worship is at the center of all that we do. It is what everything else in the life of the Church revolves around. We study the Bible so that we can know who God is, in all of His wonder, and know the exceeding greatness of His being. Further, we examine His loving plan of redemption through Christ. His greatness and grace lead us to worship Him. And we worship as a community, being continually shaped by the gospel.
Worship gives us a place to express the whole range of human emotions—from great joy to mourning, from sorrow over sin to thankfulness to the God who redeems. God doesn’t expect us to check our emotions at the door. But worship is also primarily a formative experience, where God actually shapes our hearts and desires to conform us into the image of His Son.
Our Worship Strives to Be God-Centered
Worship is about God and His glory. For this reason, OUR worship must always center around the one true God. He is the main actor, the main event. We worship because God is worthy of worship—it is what we were created for (Psalms 19, 148)—and because it gives us a foretaste of heavenly worship (Rev. 4-5).
The Structure of Worship
The word “liturgy” may make some people feel uncomfortable. It may conjure up ideas of lifeless formality or words without meaning. But the word “liturgy” simply means the “work of the people” and refers to an “order of worship.” Every church and every worship service has a “liturgy"—some more basic, some more detailed.
There is not just one biblical order for worship. But the questions we must always ask are these: Why do we do what we do in worship? Why do we do it when we do it? What structures our service, and what does the flow communicate?”
At Redeemer Presbyterian, worship is ordered around the gospel.
What does it mean to shape our worship around the gospel? It means that weekly corporate worship is a “drama of redemption.” It is the truths of the gospel lived out before us, week by week. Worship is a drama which has actors, a set, and a story or plot line.
The central plot revolves around a key theological term—“covenant.” God’s covenant promise spans the entire Bible. It is the unconditional grace of God extended in his promise: “I will be your God and you will be my people.”
Worship is a weekly covenant-renewal ceremony where God assures us of His love, forgiveness, and presence as we trust in His provision of Jesus Christ for us. So, in worship, God is seen to be the great Giver. In worship, we receive gifts from God.
God is the main actor who enters into conversation with His people. Worship is dialogical, which means that it is a conversation between God and His people. God, the main actor, initiates this conversation, just as He initiates grace in the gospel of salvation. In worship, God speaks and we respond. To that end, we incorporate a variety of different liturgical elements that shape our communication with God.
In the Call to Worship, the Sovereign Lord summons His people into His presence to worship Him.
In the Invocation, God’s people ask for God’s presence and the Holy Spirit to help us worship.
In Adoration, we worship and adore Him for who He is as we reflect upon His worth and holiness through the use of song and Scripture.
We then respond by telling God who we are in the Confession of our Sins. Here, we acknowledge corporately what we acknowledge and know privately: that though we are redeemed, we still sin and are still in need of God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
God then Assures us that those who repent of their sins will receive His pardon and forgiveness.
In turn, God’s people respond to His grace with gratitude and Thanksgiving.
God tells of His Provision and we respond by bringing our Needs to Him.
God nourishes and instructs us through His Word and sacrament and we respond to that Word.
Our Worship Will Be Word-Centered
God’s Word will fill our worship. The “means” God uses to communicate His redemption to us, to give us His grace, are His Word, the sacraments, and prayer. Preaching is not just words about God, but God speaking to us! The sacraments—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—are a “visible word” through which God communicates the gospel in symbols. The sacraments communicate to all our senses.
Preaching is the means God uses to bring life to our dead hearts and to grow us into the likeness of Jesus. Preaching is how God proclaims the gospel, bringing people to faith, repentance, and new life.
The sacraments confirm the gospel and nurture our faith. The Lord’s Supper, along with God’s Word, is how God spiritually feeds His people with Jesus. In the Lord’s Supper, Christ is actually present to our faith. We “taste and see that the Lord is good.” The Lord’s Supper is one of the primary means God has given for our spiritual growth, and so we celebrate it every week.
The Lord’s Supper symbolizes not only communion with God, but also communion with each other. It reminds us that we are a body. Christianity is not a private affair, but takes place in community.
In worship, God reorients our hearts through His living Word. We are reminded week-by-week of what is true reality as God speaks to us authoritatively. Therefore, our worship will be saturated with God’s Word through Scripture readings, prayers, and songs.
Worship Is a Community Event
In worship, God really is present. He really meets with His people...and not only adults! The church is a community of all ages. God wants to meet with our children. So our goal is to have our children involved in worship as early as possible. Sure, there will be much that they do not fully understand. But worship is not just a place to gather information. It is a place for transformation and covenant renewal, and there is much that even children can understand and participate in. God speaks to His people, affirms His covenant, calls us to confession, and assures us of His grace. What a blessing to our children to receive this from an early age!
We have a time of age appropriate worship available for children, post nursery through 5th grade and we also offer a nursery. Click here for more info.
Worship Is an Evangelistic Event
Worship is one of the main evangelistic opportunities of the church. The technical term for this is doxological evangelism—proclaiming the truth of the gospel through worship.
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:3-4 ESV).
In worship God’s people declare, in the midst of the nations, God’s glory, His holiness, and His grace, calling everyone to repentance, faith, and worship. Our worship is on display for all to see and hear! Through the finished work of Jesus Christ, God is in the process of calling people to Himself, and the Church is the primary means by which He is doing so. Thus, we must seek for our worship to be Christ-centered yet understandable, attractive, and intelligible to the outsider who has come to Redeemer for the first time.
Our Worship Will Be Intelligible
We use formal and informal liturgical elements in our service. Our preaching will strive to be deep, theological, and expository—yet, it should not be unnecessarily difficult for people to grasp what is taking place in our worship services. Children, new Christians, and those exploring Christianity should be able to understand what we are doing. Much will be foreign and new, of course, but we need to communicate what we do and why. This does not mean that we will "dumb things down," but that we will simply strive to make them accessible to all. Throughout the Bible, the worship of God’s people is supposed to take outsiders into consideration. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul commands that outsiders be able to understand what we are saying.
Worship is at the center of the life of Redeemer Presbyterian. We believe that God really shows up in a way He does not elsewhere. This is the place God has said He will meet with His people. This is where God communicates His grace to us. Worship is where God gives us what we need most . . . Himself. In worship, we receive Jesus as He gives Himself to us in His Word and the sacraments. God communicates to us and we respond in songs and prayers of adoration, confession, and praise. Worship pumps the gospel to and through the Church body week after week, so that we are empowered to love and serve our neighbors and our city.
-Adapted from Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Temple, TX