Worship Core Values
Our worship service is uniquely shaped by three core values:
Authenticity, Biblical Fidelity, and Contextualization.
- Authenticity – Because we believe the ancient, orthodox message that was once for all delivered to the saints, we want our worship services to be faithful to that heritage. Therefore, our worship is unapologetically Christian, Trinitarian, Spirit-Led, Gospel-Shaped, Historically-Informed, and Globally-Connected.
- Christian. The scandal of the Christian faith has always been the proclamation that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6) and that no one may come to the Father, unless they come through him. In Psalm 24 David asks the question, "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD [to worship]?", and answers, "he who has clean hands and a pure heart." The bad news, according to the Christian faith, is that none of us have clean hands and a pure heart. The good news, according to the Christian faith, is that Jesus does, and through him we may now enter the holy place with confidence (Hebrews 10:19).
- Trinitarian. We worship God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Spirit-Led. The Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, points to the glory of the Father and the Son, and brings efficacy to the outward and ordinary means of Grace leads and perfects our worship each week. The Spirit calls and empowers us to worship, confess our sins, find hope in the Gospel, and grow in grace.
- Gospel-Shaped. While the Gospel is proclaimed each week through the preaching of the Word, it is also proclaimed in our worship by the words we read, the songs we sing, the prayers we pray, and even through the shape of our service. In the Gospel, God draws us to himself, reveals his holiness, leads us to repentance, grants forgiveness for sins, gives us a growing faith in the gospel, progressively transforms us by his Word from one degree of glory to another, and causes us to hope in the day of Christ's return when we will participate in the marriage supper of the Lamb. In our service, God calls us to worship, confess our sin, grants us the assurance of pardon, calls us to confess our faith, speaks to us through the preaching of the Word, and feeds us at his table.
- Historically-Informed. God does not change, and neither does his Gospel. It would be foolish for us to ignore what he has done in his church in generations past, because there is much that we can learn from our forebears. Therefore, we believe it is important to sing the songs and pray the prayers that have been handed down to us. Still, we recognize that, while neither God nor the Gospel change, people do. We believe that God is actively inspiring people around the globe today to find new ways to express ancient truths. Therefore, we believe that it is also important to sing the songs and pray the prayers of our contemporaries. We want our service to be informed by tradition (the living faith of those who have died) and not driven by traditionalism (the dead faith of those yet living).
- Globally-Connected. God is at work all over the world, and through Christ we share an invisible communion with God's people across the globe. This is something we want to acknowledge in our worship, especially in our times of prayer, when we intercede for our brothers and sisters in other nations who suffer persecution for bearing the name of Christ.
- Biblical Fidelity – We want to be true to the Scriptures and faithful to the reformed faith. God is jealous for his own worship (e.g. - Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 3:23-24) in the ways he has instituted (e.g. - Genesis 4:3-7; Deuteronomy 12:32; Leviticus 10:1-2). This is why the Westminster Confession of Faith XXI.1 says, "…the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to… any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture." Therefore, our worship is shaped and characterized by what God has commanded in his Word. (For further explanation, see Liturgy). Our services are also permeated with Scripture. We read, pray, and sing a lot of Scripture in our worship service, and we preach expository Sermons.
- Contextualization – While God has explicitly instituted certain elements for our worship, he has often left the form those elements take to the wisdom and discernment of the elders of each particular church. Though God and the Gospel do not change, people do, and so we are responsible to take the ancient, unchangeable truth of the Gospel and communicate it it ways that make sense to our contemporary context. It may seem obvious, but, this is why our worship is conducted using the English language. For the same reason, we believe that it is important that elements of worship be conducted in the cultural "language" of our unique context. This affects the Music we choose to sing, the Liturgy that we act out, and the Sermons we preach.