An Explanation of Some of the Elements of our Worship

pastor and people blueWhat is the chief end of man?

Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

(from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

In response to God’s love in Jesus Christ, the Ardmore Presbyterian Church gathers together to worship.  By God’s grace, faithful worship transforms our lives, our relationships and our world.

MUSIC

Through music, we urge all who gather to offer joyful praises to the Lord.  At the heart of worship are hymns, sung by the largest “choir” (you—the congregation) led by a choir, the pipe organ and/or other instruments.  Similar to the skilled temple musicians of the Old Testament, our musicians’ goal is to bring glory to God and to be an encouragement to fellow worshippers.  Hymns, anthems, and voluntaries are drawn from both a vast inherited wealth of musical expressions and from the best of newer compositions.  We intend each offering to be made soli Deo Gloria—to the glory of God alone.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Although the call may be spoken or sung by one person or the congregation, God is really the one who calls us to worship.

OPENING PRAYER & HYMN

As we enter into the presence of God, our natural response is to praise God.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION & ASSURANCE OF PARDON

After offering God our praise, we realize that we are unworthy to stand in the presence of a holy God.  Together we confess our individual and corporate sins before almighty God.  After our confession, we hear God’s acceptance and forgiveness found in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE OF PRAISE: GLORIA PATRI

Hearing the words of forgiveness, we break out into a song of praise.  We often use the words of the Gloria Patri, Latin for “Glory to the Father.”

SCRIPTURE LESSON AND SERMON

Scripture shapes and forms every worship service at Ardmore Presbyterian Church.  The central act of our worship is the reading of the Scriptures and the preaching of the Word.  Before the Scriptures are read, we ask in prayer that the Holy Spirit inspire us to hear God aright in the Bible lesson.  In and through the Scripture text, the sermon bears witness to the good news of God in Jesus Christ.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

Together we join with Christians of all times and places and affirm and renew our faith together.  Often we use a historic affirmation such as the Apostles’ Creed.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER

Although the pastor often leads this time of prayer, these prayers are offered from the people in the Holy Spirit, to the God, through Jesus Christ.  After our prayers, we pray the prayer that Jesus taught beginning, “Our Father.”  In the Lord’s Prayer, we use the words “debts” and “debtors” to speak of our sins and our need to forgive others.

OFFERING OF OUR TITHES AND GIFTS

We are called to give ourselves to God.  In worship, we take a collection of money for the work of the church.  Through this money we maintain a worship space, provide ministries to the community, and accomplish the mission for which God has called us.

CHARGE AND BENEDICTION

At the end of the worship service, the pastor challenges the congregation to live out the calling of God.  After the charge, the pastor declares a “good word” or benediction to the people.  After worship, we go out into the world to serve the Lord together.

BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER 

Sometimes Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are called “ordinances” because Jesus Christ “ordered” us to do them.  Some call them “sacraments” because they are “sacred.”  We also call them “ordinary means of grace” because they, along with Scripture and prayer, are the ordinary ways which God communicates his grace to us.

In Baptism, we are reminded that through Jesus Christ God cleanses us from our sins.  We are adopted into God’s family and commissioned for good works.  In our congregation, we baptize the infants of believers.  We believe that they are also included in God’s covenant.  Our baptisms demonstrate that God loves us before we love him.

At the Lord’s Supper, we are welcomed to the table by our host, Jesus Christ. We believe that anyone of faith who has received a Christian baptism is welcome to the table. In this meal, we give thanks to God, we remember what Jesus accomplished, and we anticipate Jesus coming again. In the bread and the cup, we recognize that God alone fills all our needs.