Ordered Worship

Mainline denominations tend to think more about an order of worship. In my experience in a contemporary church, we followed a pattern in our worship but we didn’t think of it as order. 

Most of the people I have encountered in both mainline and contemporary churches appreciate some sense of order in their worship experiences. Once we get used to whatever rhythm, we find that we are able to worship more freely within that context. 

I grew up in a traditional denomination and developed a deep appreciation for hymns and the regular sharing of communion. In later years, when I attended a contemporary service, I developed an appreciation and love for worshiping with a different style of worship and less formality. Now, I find I enjoy and appreciate both traditional and contemporary worship experiences.

Sometimes, it is tempting to only think of the singing as the act of worship. In reality, every part of the service is an act of worship. Other aspects of a service are also worship including the offering, sermon, even the words of welcome, and announcements. as they connect us to each other and to our community. We worship God with our presence together. We worship God by extending and receiving the welcome. We worship God through our tithes and offerings. 

The sermon as an act of worship is a little more difficult to convey. It has been explained as a mystery. What the sermon does is to connect the pastor to the people in a special way. In the sermon, you hear the end result of many hours of prayer and study in solitude. 

The congregation reaps the benefits of the pastor’s study in the scriptures, commentaries and other sources, as well as hearing from another’s experiences as connected through the Holy Spirit. 

There are times when particular parts of the service are more meaningful than others. This can change any given Sunday. Sometimes, the children’s message reaches people the most. 

Since every part of our services together are worship, make a promise to yourself that you will worship God and that you will see God’s love and grace in every part of the service. Do your best to see Jesus in every face and in every moment. Sing the words, pray the prayers, connect with others through the announcements, worship through the offering and during the sermon.

Determine now to be an active participant in the worship service by giving in love, listening with expectation, singing every song with joy, and praying every prayer with hope.

May God bless you,

Pastor Don


Recently, I had an experience that brought up the subject of order. About a month ago, I joined an international prayer room on a social media platform. My impression was that it was a place of peace, where people could go to listen to and pray for each other. Then, the talkers started creeping in. What was a prayer room became a platform for people to teach whatever they wanted for as long as they wanted. Fortunately, order has since been restored.

The administrators of the prayer room learned the hard way that rules and boundaries were necessary to keep the room going in the direction they had intended. Otherwise others would take over. We all like the idea of being laid back and going with the flow. The problem is that without order, people have a tendency to go off in all kinds of directions. This is the point of 1 Corinthians 14:40, “…all things should be done decently and in order.” We all want to be heard. We all have opinions. What if we all expressed them however we wanted whenever we wanted? There would be chaos.

With orders of worship, our church services are able to include a variety of experiences that help others feel closer to God. We can worship by singing, praying, giving, and listening to the Word together. With an order of worship, you know what is coming next. It is in the context of order that we may experience the beauty found in worship services and sacraments. Worship services, weddings, baptisms, and funerals are ordered to provide a foundation on which beautiful, meaningful, and healing experiences may be built. So, while I am in favor of freedom of expression and others sharing their gifts, everything must be done “in order.” In this way, we respect each other more fully while giving honor to God in all that we do.