Philosophy of Worship
Worship is central to all of life and ministry (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 1:18). It is that from which all else flows. Because of this, worship is integral to the life and ministry of the church both corporately and individually. As such, the ministry of any faithful church will endeavor to train and equip true worshippers of God.
Toward this end, as we gather for corporate worship we recognize that it is God’s word that regulates or governs the worship we offer. Truly, “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men… or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture” (WCF 21.1). As such, our worship services are not intended for entertainment, but to provide God’s children with the opportunity for involvement in praise, confession, thanksgiving, prayer, instruction in the word of God, and the receiving of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper.
The liturgy for our worship is derived from the Old Testament worship service which utilized three primary offerings: a sin offering (which focused on the confession and forgiveness of sins), a burnt offering (which focused on consecration and so dedication), and a peace offering (which was a communal meal enjoyed between the worshipper and his priest, and so, fellowship). Accordingly, there are three movements in the liturgy at Bethel. The first is the call to worship before the cross of Christ; here sins are confessed both corporately and individually. This section ends with praise as God’s people express their heartfelt gratitude for Christ and His grace. The second is the call to worship through dedication; here the focus is on the giving of oneself completely to God through offerings and prayer. The final movement is the call to worship through fellowship; here the focus is on the preached word and the Lord’s Supper which is observed weekly. In and through it all, our service is conducted with the understanding that the worship we offer to God each week is through Jesus Christ whose perfect sacrifice fulfilled all that the sin, burnt, and peace offerings foreshadowed. Christ indeed is the only Sin Offering, the only Burnt Offering, the only Peace Offering through which we can enjoy fellowship with God. Soli Christo Gloria!