What is Christian Worship?

Christian worship is God’s primary tool for shaping our identity as his beloved people, the Church. Worship is not a concert; nor is it entertainment for spectators. Rather, worship is a divine, community reenactment of the great story of the scriptures: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. Thus, as we gather to sing, pray, celebrate the sacraments, read the scriptures, confess our sins, and profess our common faith together, God’s story becomes our story and, over time, by God’s Spirit, we are shaped both individually and corporately into the image of Jesus Christ- the Church. Worship approaches, preferences, and styles may differ among contexts and communities, but the essence of Christian worship remains the same! The liturgy or structure of the worship service helps us tell this great story.

And, in short, the liturgical flow goes something like this: God communicates to us and we respond in worship. That is, first God calls us to worship. Accordingly, we respond in song and prayer. Next, God cleanses us in confession as we offer our honest prayer. Then God covers us with his gospel assurance, and so we respond in thanksgiving. In the preaching of the scriptures, God consecrates us with his word, to which we respond with an affirmation of faith. Finally, God commissions us with his blessing and we respond by lifting our hands to receive his benediction (blessing).