Each week we strive to incorporate various elements into the following worship structure :
Adoration > Confession > Assurance > Thanksgiving > Petition/Intercession > Instruction in the Word > Communion/Fellowship  > Charge and Blessing (Benediction)
The worship service is inaugurated with the “adoration” aspect. A worship component embodying the adoration of our Lord is the scriptural “call to worship.” At tonight’s service I (John Leone) began with a welcome to all assembled and read aloud Psalm 100:
Psa. 100:1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Following this reading, I led the congregation in the following prayer:
Our gracious God and Father,
We desire to worship You and give You praise for who You are and for what You’ve done for us in the person of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We desire to worship and give You praise for establishing this community of faith by the power of Your Holy Spirit.
Warm our hearts with Your presence, O Lord.
Open our minds so that we may rightly respond to Your revelation.
Enable our wills, O Lord, so that we may respond to Your invitation of grace and salvation in Christ our Lord.
O God, we give You thanks, for You are good and Your love endures forever.
Bless now our gathered worship for the glory of Your name,
We pray in the power of Your Spirit,
and in the name of Your holy Son,
“Adoration” begins worship “with the recognition of the greatness and goodness of God” . After the “call to worship,” the congregation sang the song “Glory” which includes lyrics such as “Great is the Lord God Almighty; Great is the Lord on high; The train of His robe fills the temple; And we cry out highest praise.” Following this, we sang the great hymn “How Great Thou Art.”
Naturally, as we approach the majestic and awesome God of all creation, we become acutely aware of our utter sinfulness before Him, thus driving us to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, the second aspect of gospel-centered worship.
Tonight’s corporate prayer of confession was led by Steve Davis:
God of mercy and forgiveness, for the times when our love of indulgence and ease have weakened our hold on spiritual things, Pardon us.
For when we have not held our bodies in subjection, and have forgotten that they were meant to be temples of your Holy Spirit, Pardon us.
For the times we have failed those who trusted us, and have been concerned with ourselves when they needed our concern, Pardon us.
For the times when we have failed in courage, when we have failed to stake a stand for righteousness, Pardon us.
And make us new,
In Christ Jesus our Lord,
From these few examples, you can see how we work to flesh out the aspects of gospel-centered worship. Although the components are subtle and not necessarily consciously noticed by participants, our desire is to lead the congregation in spiritual worship in a manner that is faithful to the way in which the Church Universal has approached Him over the millennia.
While our desire is to be a church that is outward-facing, relational, and relevant to our culture, we also believe that discarding ancient Christian tradition and wisdom in its entirety may not be the best (or most faithful) way forward.
To Him alone be all the glory.
1. This structure can be found in Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009).
2. We celebrate the Lord’s Table every week. We agree with Chapell when he states, “Most historians agree that the common practice of the early church was weekly Communion…. During the Reformation, concerns about sacerdotalism (the idea that the mere practice of the sacraments communicates sanctifying grace) led many Protestants away from ‘ritualistic’ practice of the Lord’s Supper…. The apparent practice of Scripture, the precedent of the ancient church, and the appreciation for the ways Christ ministers the gospel to his people through the Lord’s Supper persuade me of the efficacy of weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper – but my enthusiasm is measured. Weekly Communion is my preference, but I do not consider it a mark of orthodoxy or mandate of Scripture…. Even if we believe the Bible indicates the practice of the early church was weekly Communion, we must confess the Bible does not command weekly Communion” (291-92, emphasis in original).
3. Chapell, 86.