In this post, I’m going to walk you through the order of our gathering and why we do what we do. We view our gathering as telling one story from start to finish. Our goal is for our gathering to show that God calls his people, we respond; he speaks to his people, and we respond.
How we run our gathering:
- We start our Gathering with a gathering song. This song starts five minutes before our gathering does. The purpose of this song is to do what it says - gather people. The hope with the choice of song is do something that allows people to know that we are turning out eyes to focus on Christ. This is not a corporately sung song, so that allows us to introduce new songs or do songs that we do not view as corporate songs. Sometimes songs that we would label ‘non-corporate songs’ will line up perfectly with the text being preached so this allows us to use a variety of songs in this context. Songs we have done in this slot are: We are listening, Glory Revealed,The way I Come To You, Warrior.
- After the gathering song we have our Call to Worship. This is the official beginning of our gathering. We do not sing a song for the call to worship. Instead God gets the first word in our conversation through his Word because he is the one who always initiates contact with us. And someone reading that first word from the Scriptures paints a picture of who he is and what he has done.
- Next we sing Songs of Praise and Adoration. Our opening set focuses on the character of God - often a direct response to what we hear in the Call to Worship. Songs we have done here: All Who Are Thirsty, Lord Almighty,Refuge, Come Ye SInners, O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing, In The Shadow of The Glorious Cross.
- We then have a Prayer and Welcome: Since our opening set focuses on the character of God - this opening prayer should reflect this same pattern of thanksgiving to God for who he is and what he has done, is doing and will continue to do.
- We follow that with two more songs. These songs walks us into the sermon. The goal here is to do songs that engage us with the character and specifically the work of Jesus. Songs we have done: Come Thou Fount, A Mighty Fortress, Blessed Assurance, Before the Throne, Our Great God.
- Sermon. This is where our lead Pastor speaks to us from God’s Word.
- After the sermon, we sing a song while we partake in communion. We believe the greatest and most tangible reminder of God’s love each Sunday is in communion, so we serve it every week. The song is often focused around the blood of Jesus, the cross of Jesus, our doubt and Christ conquering of death and sin. Songs we have done: Help My Unbelief, Streams of Living Water, Your Love Is Strong, Psalm 145, Holy Over Me,Will The Lord Indeed Appear.
- Our gathering has one more song before the benediction. During the sermon we believe that God is moving in the hearts of his people and we hope during the last song to reflect on and celebrate what Christ is doing and has done. Songs we have done: Our God, None But Jesus,God of My Life, All I Have is Christ, Grace That is Greater, You Alone can Rescue.
I haven’t written any of this to make you think/feel that you should or have to follow our order of worship in your gathering. My hope is that you would read this and find yourself in one of two places: 1) you already are intentional with your gathering and it is encouraging to you 2) your team needs to reevaluate your gathering to make sure you are making every effort to be Christ Centered.