“How do you do church? What does your service look like?” This question came up in a discussion about Reformed Baptist Churches recently. I took the opportunity to share our church order of worship and, since it is handy, I thought I’d post it here for any potential people checking us out. Here’s what you can expect when you visit CCF:
- We open with a call to worship. A pastor chooses one of the many statements from the Trinity Hymnal, page 10, that are paraphrases or tasteful combinations of various scriptures designed to alert us of our privileges as a worshipful people.
- Next, we have a time of private prayer and reflection, just a few moments, and then a pastor offers an opening prayer, usually one of thanksgiving for our place in Christ. This prayer frequently asks for the worship of the church to be pleasing to God through Jesus Christ, and for our time to be filled with edification for the saints.
- We then have a public scripture reading. Here, a man of the church reads a selection of scripture. This passage is often chosen by the preacher in advance and often supports the sermon text, or is a balancing passage that brings in a genre of scripture that is different than the sermon text. We believe that public scripture reading is one of the elements of worship that God commands. (You may wish to look at the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, chapter 22, section 5, for a good list of Biblical references about the elements of Christian worship.)
- Next, we enjoy a time of singing. Normally we sing five hymns and spiritual songs. This time is led by men assigned the task of choosing music, and currently, our singing is accompanied by some of our gifted young women on piano. We choose on average three hymns from our hymnal and two songs or hymns from other vetted sources. This gives us the benefit of enjoying our rich musical heritage while also encouraging the use of modern hymns and spiritual songs.
- Corporate prayer follows the singing. Here the men of congregation offer up prayers that seek God’s blessings upon the whole church. This is often a time of great unity. Prayers range in number from three to five, occasionally fewer, sometimes more, and we end each person’s prayer with a collective and hearty “Amen.” The pastor who is preaching will end the corporate prayer time.
- The next portion of the service is the preaching. The pastor delivering the sermon will preach between 35 minutes to an hour, though 45-50 minute is the average. The style of our preaching is generally expository in nature, meaning we ‘expose and explain’ what the text says using methods derived from the Bible itself. For the most part, we preach through whole books of the Bible. Each month that has a fifth Sunday (these are quarterly), we preach a topical sermon. We also choose topical sermons when there is a perceived need in the congregation. Our topical sermons are still largely expository, drawing out what the Word of God has to say about a topic. Our sermons are all recorded and published publicly for further listening here.
- Communion comes immediately after the sermon. We have a time of reflection and prayer in which people are free to move about, gather with their family, teach little ones what the Lord’s Table is about, self-reflect, pray, and prepare for the corporate meal. A pastor explains our church position regarding communion, instructs the church, and the cups and bread are passed out by young men who volunteer to aid. The pastor will read a section of scripture appropriate for communion, offer a prayer of thanksgiving, and we will all eat and drink together.
- Once communion is shared, we sing the traditional reformed doxology as a congregation, praising our Lord with that familiar song.
- The pastor then blesses the congregation with a benediction taken from the Bible, and dismisses the congregation.
At this time our worship service is concluded. Announcements follow, and occasionally we will receive new members at this time; send off young adults who are moving, marrying or going off to college; pray for specific people or families; hear a ministry report from a missionary or church member; or hold baptisms.
We have a fellowship meal after each worship service too, and we’d love for you to join us!