Understanding Our Style of Worship
At St. John’s Evangelical Church, we believe that worship is the single most important thing we do together as a family of faith. It is in worship that God himself comes to us through his Word and sacraments, meeting our need with his unconditional love. Worship draws us into an ever deeper relationship with Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit, empowering people for the lives they’ve been given to live.
We are what is called a “liturgical” church, that is, we follow a “liturgy.” This means more than that we
are simply a “formal” church. It means our worship service follows a definite order or progression, which includes some ancient elements which link us to the Church in ancient times. For example, when the pastor says, “The Lord be with you,” and the people respond, “And also with you,” we are acting as one with brothers and sisters who are long since safe at home in heaven, not to mention Christians living all around the world today.
Liturgical worship speaks to the need we have both for things to change as well as for things to remain the same--every week different hymns and fresh prayers and Scriptures are thoughtfully worked into a format of songs and responses which become well-known and familiar. And “familiar” need not mean that it loses it’s meaning. Good friends, favorite songs, and the place you go home to when your work is done, are other examples of familiarity. We want to add worship to the list of things in your life which mean more and more as time goes on.
The liturgy is filled with Bible truth from beginning to end. It is by design, in our style of worship, that the experience not be common or casual. We want it to be understandable and we’re not afraid to have it be emotional, yet we want worship to retain it’s sacred flavor, and remain unlike anything else in our daily life.
Finally, our style of worship provides for a special interchange between God and His Church: God opens his hand to bless the worshipers and they, in turn, respond. The Church breathes out it’s opening hymn of praise, breathes in the message of Jesus in the children’s message, breathes out its heartfelt confession of sin, breathes in the love of Jesus and God’s free forgiveness. And thus it continues through the sermon, offering, prayers, and songs, until the final blessing from the Lord to his people, “The Lord bless you and keep you...” and the Church parts with a final song to Him.
It is of utmost importance that through it all God’s people are not mere observers, but participants in the exhale of confession, praise, prayer and the inhale of God’s Word, forgiveness and blessing. It is not our intention that it be effortless, but things that have meaning rarely are. We hope you will be with us again.