Why do we do that?
What does this mean?
Why did the minister say that?
These are natural questions when you come to a church's worship service. This page is designed to help you understand the biblical principles governing our worship service and the specific elements of what we do.
Sunday Morning: 9:30 AM
Sunday School: 11:00 AM
Sunday Evening: 5:00 PM
Nursery is provided during both services
Easy access for those with physical handicaps, and the Loop system for the hearing impaired
Biblical Principles of Worship
All that we do must be governed by the scriptures, for they are God's Word. Here are several key principles from the Bible.
We believe that worship services must be:
God-focused. Rev. 19:10 "Worship God!"
Christ-centered. John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
Spirit moved John 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
Word-based. Matt. 15:9 ""And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Heart-felt. Matt 15:8 "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
Orderly. 1 Cor. 14:40 "Let all things be done decently and in order."
With instruction. Col. 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Shared as a church. Heb 10:25 "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Under Oversight. Heb 13:17 "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch ut for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable.
On the Lord's Day. Acts 20:7 "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight."
Elements of Our Worship Service
Our worship service is structured to intentionally direct our hearts to God. We believe it is God who calls us to worship. In obedience to God's call the elders of Bethany United Reformed Church call the people to gather at a specific time and place. Before the service begins, the elders and deacons meet for prayer.
The worship service includes the following elements.: Votum. salutation, reading of God's law (morning), or the reading from a doctrinal standard (evening), scripture reading, congregational prayer, preaching, tithes and offerings, congregational singing, doxology, and benediction. An explanation of each is given below.
Psa. 124: 8 "Our help is in the name of the Lord. Who made heaven and earth." A votum like this opens the service by remembering our helplessness and the all-sufficiency of God our Creator and covenant Lord.
The minister, speaking as God's mouthpiece, pronounces a blessing on the people of God. A salutation found in scripture is used.
Reading of God's Law
God's Law is read each Sunday morning to signify God's sovereign rule, testify of sin and the need for heartfelt confession, prepare the church for the hearing of the gospel, and teach believers how they ought to walk before God. Often the minister will expand on a particular law by referencing other parts of scripture. The reading of the law is followed by the congregation responding in a song of confession or dedication.
Reading of a Doctrinal Standard
The reading from one of the doctrinal standards defines who we are, shows our unity with the church through the ages and across the world, reminds us of core doctrines, and calls us to examine our selves.
Scripture is read in each service because it is the foundation on which the preaching is based. God speaks personally, infallibly, and authoritatively. (1 Tim 4:13 NKJV) "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."
The minister prays to God on behalf of the congregation. He confesses sin. He pleads for conversion of sinners, growth in grace of believers, and the local, denominational, and world-wide Christian efforts and education. He seeks God's help for special needs or burdens of members, prays for a blessing on the offerings, and offers thanksgiving for all that God is and does. He seeks for God to apply the sermon to all who hear the Word.
The official proclamation of the Word of God's ordained servants is the central part of the worship service. Biblical preaching is God's primary means of speaking to us and saving us by grace. (Rom. 10:14-17)
The purpose of preaching is to glorify God through our knowledge of His holiness and trust in His salvation in Christ. It aims both at the conversion of the unsaved and the building up of believers.
The content of preaching must be:
Explaining and applying God's Word both from His law and gospel.
Teaching scriptural truths in a simple way.
For all ages and spiritual conditions and levels of maturity.
Not simply head-informing but heart changing and fruit-revealing.
Showing people how to live in our world but not like the world.
The pastor is called to prayerfully prepare his sermon throughout the week and bring it seeking the Spirit's power on Sunday.
The congregation is called to prepare themselves prayerfully during the week, to pray for pastor's preparation, to come with heart ready to receive and submit to the Word, to listen attentively, and to put the Word into action after hearing it.
There are two sacraments given to the church of Jesus Christ to administer, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them He might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, and might put His seal on that promise. And this is God's gospel promise: to forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone because of Christ's one sacrifice finished on the cross.
Tithes and offerings
Tithes and offerings are our gifts to the Lord to show thankfulness to God for His abundant gifts to us. Tithes should be given joyfully and abundantly from the heart. As tithes are given, each member should confess faithful stewardship of God's gifts, thankfulness, and trust in God.
Songs provide another way to praise God, witness, and worship the Lamb. Songs touch the emotions, blend word and music, edify, encourage, convict, unify the congregation, and glorify God. Singing also focusses on the Word of God, and thus we sing the Psalms and Biblical hymns. Our desire is that our music be an act of corporate worship and not a small group entertaining the church.
The doxology gives a final response of faith to the Word, giving glory to God for all we have heard about Him, seen in Him, and received from Him.
The benediction pronounces God's blessing on the congregation prior to leaving. The triune God promises to be with His people throughout the week, to comfort and bless them (e.g. 2 Cor 13:14).