Dear GCC, as you come to church this week you’ll notice a change to our order of service, namely, the beginning of our service will look like this:
- Call to Worship
- Prayer of Worship
So why are we making this change? It’s not just to ‘shake things up’ or ‘try something new.’ Rather, it’s for practical and theological reasons.
The practical reason is that announcements can be disruptive – right after a song of heartfelt worship, instead of moving directly to prayer…you have to pull out your calendar and remember dates and times. By moving the announcements to be beginning, we can take care of business beforehand and then focus on worshiping God without worrying about our calendar.
The theological reason for this change is: structures tell stories. And our worship has a structure, whether we recognize it or not.
By making the Call to Worship the first formal element of worship we make the very structure of our worship service highlight this fact: we worship God at His invitation.
When we gather to worship, we do so because God has invited us, indeed, commanded us to do so. (When PJ read’s our Call to Worship each week, listen for the commands!) By placing the Call to Worship at the very beginning, we highlight the fact that our worship is a response to God’s call.
In many ways, the Call to Worship and Benediction function as bookends for worship – we begin worship at God’s call, and end with His blessing.
What about the prayer of worship? Historically, the first prayer of the service has been called an “invocation.” It differs both in purpose and length from the intercessory prayer which precedes our Scripture reading.
The prayer of worship is a short prayer in which we call upon God by name, ask that He receive our worship, acknowledge our dependence upon Him, and humbly ask for His aid. It places us in a posture of humility and dependence from the get-go. The first time we come to God in prayer, we don’t bring a litany of prayer requests, but simply ask for His help to worship well.
We hope you are blessed by these changes. It’s our goal to glorify God in everything we do and to conform our lives (including our worship) to His word.