We have created this guide to assist visitors in their participation in our Sunday services. We want everyone to understand why we do what we do during this time, for we believe this is the most important hour of each week.
What Exactly is Worship?
To worship God is to ascribe to God’s supreme worth. God is both the subject and object of worship, meaning worship is both for God, and about God. It is always active and participatory. Worship is not something your observe; rather , it is something you DO. Worship is both private and public. It is done both individually and in groups. When done individually, worship is mainly contemplative. When done in groups (called the church or congregation), worship is celebrative, as the congregation rehearses, relives and rejoices in its history as the people of God.
The Framework for Our Worship
The Church Year (sometimes called the Christian Year) provides the framework for the worship experience here at Edgebrook. This annual cycle of seasons is a way of giving a rhythm and a meaningful ritual to the ongoing worship life of the Church. There are six seasons in the Church Year. The first half of the year (which includes the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter) emphasizes the mighty acts of God in the life of Christ. The latter half of the year (made up entirely of the season of Pentecost) emphasizes the response of the people of God for what God has done in Christ.
Traditional but Not Rigid
Here at Edgebrook, we seek to creatively blend in our worship the richness of tradition with the freshness expressed in the Church today by men and women, children and youth. It is hoped that understanding the purpose of these will make this time more meaningful for you.
The Church gathers…
- Prelude – This time of music serves to gather us together and help us prepare to worship.
- Introduction to worship
- News of the congregation is shared and the theme or themes of our worship is introduced.
to worship God…
- Choral Introit – Our Chancel Choir invites us through song to come and worship.
- Call to Worship – Signals the beginning of our worship and should be spoken or sung energetically.
- Hymn of Praise – Chosen to allow the congregation to respond to the Call and sing with spirit!
- Invocation – The purpose of this prayer is to invoke or ask God’s blessing on our worship and express our confidence that God will open our hearts to His Word.
- The Lord’s Prayer – Is our opportunity to ask God to set our hearts right by praying the prayer Jesus taught the disciples. It may be either spoken or sung.
- The Reading and Hearing of God’s Word – Usually these readings are selected from the lectionary, a system which provides Bible readings appropriate to the Church Year. Following the lectionary texts emphasizes the centrality of the entire Bible in the life of the Christian and the Church.
- Gloria Patri – The congregation’s response of joy to hearing the Word of God. It affirms that the God at work in the people of biblical times is the God at work for human salvation in Jesus Christ and the one who dwells in us as the Holy Spirit.
- Special Music – The Chancel Choir, an ensemble or individual, continues our praise to God.
- Pastoral Prayer or Prayers of the People – The needs of our congregation, our community and the world are brought to God in prayer.
to hear God’s Word proclaimed…
- Hymn of Preparation – Prepares our hearts and minds to listen to what God has to say to us through the sermon.
- Young Children in Worship – Our children (age 4 – 4th grade) are dismissed to continue to worship in a setting specifically geared to them. Bible stories, movement, singing and prayers are designed to engage them and help them understand what worship is and why it is so vital to life.
- Sermon – The proclamation of the Word of God by the preacher. Its purpose is to convince, instruct, comfort, encourage, or convict the listener. The sermon is always based on a particular Biblical passage or theme.
and respond with faith and thanksgiving
- Offering – Our opportunity to both praise God and respond in tangible gratitude for his mercies to us. It also symbolizes our willingness to offer ourselves in service to the Lord.
- Doxology – As our offerings are presented, we sing praise to God in recognition that He is the source of our ability to give and that all we have comes from Him.
- Prayer of Dedication – Through prayer, we ask God to help us use the offerings to serve humanity through the Church to the glory of His name.
- Hymn of Commitment – Sung as our affirmation of the Word we have heard and our commitment to obey it.
- Benediction – A blessing of assurance that God’s presence continues to go with us even though the service is ending.
- Response – Our final affirmation that we believe and receive what we have said and heard. May be either spoken or sung by the Chancel Choir or the congregation.
- Postlude – This musical piece signals the end of this particular service and helps us take Christ with us into the world.
Some Final Words
We observe the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper monthly, usually on the first Sunday of the month. We invite anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of church affiliation, to join us in celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
On any given Sunday, other elements may be incorporated or substituted into the service, such as the singing of hymn favorites or praise choruses, a drama, personal testimonies from individuals, a baptism, children’s sermon, a corporate confession of sin, the sharing of the peace, an invitation to personal response, etc. These, along with the variety of expression given to the traditional parts of our service, are intended to keep our worship experience fresh and vibrant.
Please join us in making this the most important hour of YOUR week!