On Sunday at Emmaus Church in Lincoln, CA, Nathan began the teaching by having the children come to the front of the room to watch a clip from Toy Story. He explained that there are two different ways to deal with all of the questions that children have while watching a movie. One option is to simply tell them to stop asking questions and assure them that if they keep paying attention, the answers will be clear eventually. The other option is to stop the movie every so often and allow some space for the questions to asked and answered.
This was the intro to a short series call “How Church?” in which we are taking the time to stop and address questions about why we do the things we do in a worship service each week. People have all sorts of questions about things that happen on Sunday mornings: Why do we sing? Why do people raise their hands? What’s the deal with the bread and the juice? What about this thing you call the Passing of the Peace?
For the first week of this series, we talk through the four major pieces that have traditionally been included in historic Christian Worship:
The Call to Worship – this is the part in the worship service in which we are each challenged to put our distractions aside and engage with God’s Spirit. At Emmaus, this typically has taken the form of a few songs, a Scripture reading, or an explicit challenge from one of the worship leaders.
Receiving of the Word of God – This is often called the sermon, the preaching, the message, or the proclamation of the Word. The questions that we encounter with this piece of the worship service are simply, “Will I be open to the Word of God?” and ”Will I allow this word to disturb me?”
Responding to the Word of God – Having this response time built into the worship service serves as an acknowledgement that the point of the message is not merely information… it’s transformation. This is the beginning of our opportunity to interact with God’s Word, to wrestle with it, to apply it. At Emmaus this response time has many different elements: prayer, announcements, the passing of the peace, receiving of the offering, participation in the Lord’s supper, and worship through song.
Going Out to Serve – This final part of the service is often called the Benediction or the word of blessing. Traditionally, the people of the community will be on their feet for this part of the worship service. This is visual and kinesthetic representation that we are being sent out to live the Word of God that we received. We are being sent to make a real difference in the communities in which we live and work.
You can listen to or watch the teaching and come join us for the remainder of the series. We meet for church in Lincoln, CA on Sunday mornings at 10am at Fosket Ranch Elementary School.
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