Worship is one of the most important things Christians do. Our service at St. John's has one focus, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Worship is centered on God coming to us with the message of the gospel: the good news about everything Jesus has done for us. That message saves us and changes us. We focus on the reading of his message of salvation and singing hymns full of rich content and meaning.
Each service last about an hour. A typical service which you can expect to experience every Sunday has a pattern to it to help you follow:
Part 1 - We gather in the presence of God.
- We begin in God's name.
- We confess our sins.
- We receive forgiveness because of Jesus' saving work for us.
- We respond with praise and prayer.
Part 2 - We listen to God's Word.
- A reading from the Old Testament
- We sing or read from the Psalms
- A reading from the New Testament
- We acclaim the Gospel (We look forward to hearing the Gospel by saying or singing "Alleluia!" which means "Praise the Lord!")
- A reading from one of the Gospels (We stand in honor and attention for the words and works of Jesus himself)
- We confess our faith (When we hear God's Word, a believer says, "I believe it.")
- The sermon (God speaks through the minister as he helps explain and apply God's Word to our lives)
Part 3 - We respond to God's Word
- In songs of praise
- In offerings of thanks to God (We support the sharing of his Word)
- In prayers for our congregation, our world, and the Church
Part 4 - We receive the Lord's Supper
- We prepare (We look forward to receiving Jesus' body and blood with the bread and wine to assure us of our forgiveness of sins and the eternal life given to us through faith in Jesus)
- The Words of Institution
- The Distribution
- Praise, thanksgiving, and prayer
- We end in God's name with his blessing upon us.
- Throughout the service, we sing hymns and songs which focus on the theme of the day or general truths from God's Word.
- Worship doesn't have to be done this way. Congregations have the freedom to choose how to worship as long as it keeps the focus on Jesus Christ and gives many opportunities for the Holy Spirit to speak through his Word.
- We focus on God's Word because we need to hear our sins are forgiven. God promises to create and strengthen saving faith through his Word (Romans 10:17). The gospel (good news) leads us to respond with praise and prayer.
- Lutherans often follow this pattern for worship called "liturgical worship." The Christian Church has used liturgical worship for hundreds of years. This outline and pattern helps us focus on God's Word throughout the service. God's important truths will be reviewed and shared each week with a change of focus from week to week.