What we do in our Sunday services is very important. Our Sunday gatherings should reflect biblical and gospel truth, as well as the doctrinal and liturgical standards of our denomination.
A generation is emerging that has little or no appreciation for our liturgical legacy. The 1662 Prayer Book provides us with a rich resource for congregational worship. It is the agreed standardrd of corporate worship for our denomination and when properly understood and used, enables us to ‘do church’ better. Faced with the constant presure to be trendy, it protects us from the errors and the waywardness of our self-absored society.
It presses us to focus our attention on the God of the Bible and to pursue what is biblically excellent rather than what is popular and convenient.
Apart from the sermon, our services should at least include the following:
- Scripture readings from both the Old and New testament.
- A general confession of sin said by the whole congregation – not by the minister on behalf of the congregation – followed by the words of assurance.
- Appropriate verses of Scripture are meant to be read at the beginning of our services to prepare the congregation to confess their sins together. Together with the Exhortation that follows, these verses explain the ongoing need for repentance in the Christian life and the importance of approaching God with penitence when we meet together as his people. This pattern of preparation is designed to prevent an empty and meaningless recitation of the words of the General Confession.
- The saying of the creeds and from time to time the Lord’s Prayer.
Services should be thoroughly planned and not left until the last minute. Our service leaders need to be carefully chosen and properly trained, and Bible readings should be sent out well in advance. Those who lead in prayer should prepare their prayers beforehand. Everything must be done in an orderly manner, and to the glory of God.
The following pages contain the various elements that can be used to build your Sunday gathering.