Every worship service has a certain vibe or ethos to it. Parish Church styles its worship service under three basic convictions.
Musically: Best of the Old and New
Looking over the terrain of worship/musical styles across a multitude of denominations, it is hard to sort through the clutter of different styles and expressions of worship music today. This diversity often makes the more traditional among us skeptical and often times cynical. The more contemporary in our ranks would quickly remind the traditionalists that every musical sound and composition was at one time “contemporary”. However, both have present opportunities for error and what some call “chronological snobbery” (your era of music and taste is the superior one). At Parish Church we seek to take the best of the old and the best of the new and combine them according to a few simple criteria: 1) Is the content of the lyrics Biblically rich, clear and accurate? 2) Is the music consistent with the lyric in tone and tempo? 3) Is the music prepared in such a way that it communicates excellence and beauty? 4) Is the music congregational in that it provides the best means of leading the people to sing with all their hearts?
Intentionally: Engaging the Mind, Will and Emotions
Similar to our musical styles, it is also true that the intentions of those in charge of worship come through in their services. In many traditional and liturgical services you will see the intent of those who structure the service to engage the mind through historical and content heavy liturgies. These rich liturgies are meant to tie us to the past by reminding us that we have been surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses upon whose back the church was established. More contemporary services often operate with the intention of motivating and enticing the worshiper to response through action and/or emotion. Each of these intentions has a place in the church of God. The Scriptures give us clear guidelines on how to think about intent. These guidelines have been demonstrated in and through the church for centuries. It is equally true, however, that the story of redemption has always been about movement. The Psalmist was moved again and again to singing, shouting, weeping, exultation, brokenness, dancing and thanksgiving. Each of the Psalm writers' intentions seemed to be clearly about fully and expressively worshiping God. The story of the Bible is one story told over the course of 66 books and thousands of years. Each part of that story is vital to the other and necessary for our understanding of the Gospel as a whole. The Lord is intentional about calling us to consider His sovereign authority, His comprehensive plan and His perfect love for His people. Parish Church intends to engage the mind, the will and the emotions of its people in such a way that each one fuels and feeds the other.
Structurally: The Gospel Story and Our Story
Just as every worship service has a style, that style also has a structure to it. Parish Church believes our service needs to reflect the process of the Gospel’s work in our daily lives. At Parish Church, we see our worship service as an unfolding story of God’s redeeming work toward us in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our desire is to connect historic practices to our present context. Therefore, in the flow of our worship, there is a combination of historic hymns, confession, and prayers together with modern translations and new/modern musical arrangements. The following is an outline of the different elements of our worship. Call to Worship A call to worship is an invitation from God to enter into a sacred time of communion with Him. It is a reminder that unless God speaks, we have no hope; unless He invites, we have no access. A call to worship is an expression of God’s holiness, majesty and worth.
Confession of Sin Coming before a holy and righteous God makes us aware of our sin and provokes us to humility and brokenness. This awareness leads us to confess our sins being confident that He is faithful to forgive us. Together, we profess our sinfulness through confession, prayer and singing.
Assurance of Forgiveness Through Christ, the believer is not left to wallow in confession. Through His redeeming grace, we are assured that Christ has paid the full and final price for our sin. We celebrate that forgiveness through confession, prayer and singing.
Hearing from God God’s Word challenges us, corrects us, guides us, encourages us and empowers us in our walk with Jesus. We are spiritually nourished by God through His Word and the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper).
Response and Benediction We end the service in the same way we began. We sing in response to God’s provision. We receive His blessing and encouragement as we enter back into the world. The word “benediction” is simply defined as God’s pronounced blessing over His people as He sends us out - fed and empowered to serve Him.