of Reformed Worship
At Living Hope, Sunday worship lies at the heart of who we are, and what we do, as a church. Our corporate life in Christ is shaped, first and foremost, by the the weekly assembly every Lord’s Day. Sunday worship is not just one program among many. It is the highlight of our week; the jumping off point for all the other spiritual endeavors.
Time and Location
Commonly Asked Questions
We believe that the assembly of public worship is a meeting between the triune God and his covenant people. While both of these parties engage in a back and forth dialogue throughout the service, God should not only be thought of as the One to whom worship is directed, but also the One who is active in the worship of the church. Working through the Word by His Spirit, it can be said that He is the most active, or the primary actor in our worship.
Therefore, the term “Divine Service” is used to emphasize the truth that God himself actively serves His people in our corporate worship. When considering the phrase “worship service,” one should pause and ask, “just who is serving whom?” Since most average churchgoers might not have considered the priority of God’s services provided to his people, we have used this phrase to draw out an important Reformed distinction.
There are several other aspects of our worship that may feel different when visiting for the first time. For starters, our service is filled with more Scripture than you might ordinarily find. Not only are large portions of the Old and New Testaments read before the sermon, but Scripture is read and recited throughout the service, from beginning to end. Often times, Scripture is read out loud in an alternating pattern between the minister and the people. In fact, the entire service is structured around the aforementioned of a dialog. God, as represented by the minister, speaks to us with the words of Scripture and we, His people, respond with Scripture as well. In the midst of this back and forth, God receives both the first word in the call to worship and salutation, and the last word in the benediction.
Not all that we do in our worship is distinctly Reformed or Presbyterian. There are some parts of our service that are shared across other Christian traditions such as the corporate confession of sin, the pronouncement of absolution, recitation of creeds, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and praying the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, we provide ample opportunity for the people to respond to God’s grace through sing a variety of songs and hymns, both ancient and modern.
We pride ourselves on singing a wide variety of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs: from ancient hymns and canticles to the best and most widely received contemporary songs. Stylistically, our music emphasizes congregational singing and we use a wide range of accompaniment that best fits each song. We incorporate everything from piano, cello, and flute to drums and acoustic guitar. In summary, our style would best be described as a blend of the contemporary and the traditional, but always with an emphasis on highlighting the voices of God’s assembled people.
As a Reformed and Presbyterian congregation ministering today, we aim to strike a balance between holding our theological convictions and the needs of our families. We regard our children as members of the covenant and believe that they, no less than their parents, are commanded by God to join in the corporate assembly. We graciously and humbly encourage children to remain with their parents during the worship service. At the same time, we acknowledge the reality of a few practical needs.
First, that families with very young children, or with children that are not experienced sitting through an entire service, need a place to go during the service. Some may need weeks, months, or even years to grow up and be trained to make it through an entire Sunday morning. Therefore, we have setup a room adjacent to the sanctuary with audio for families to go to during the service. In the future, we also have plans to staff and supply a nursery for young kids during the service.
Second, we recognize the desire of parents to to have supplemental and age appropriate instruction for their children. Therefore, we also host a separate Sunday school hour, before service starting at 9:00 AM, with several age appropriate classes for young children. In these classes, children meet with other kids of their similar age and are instructed in the bible and in our catechisms with more traditional Sunday school curriculum.
While our dress and attire is not a complete matter of indifference, visitors are encouraged to come as they are and should not feel out of place with even the most casual outfit. Some attendees may feel a conviction that their attire reflects their disposition for worship; that they should dress with the requisite reverence, awe, and respect of God that is fitting for the occasion. However, not all amongst the congregation feel this way and a large measure of Christian liberty is afforded to the matter. Also, we consider worship to be an open and public act, and we desire to joyfully receive people from all walks of life in our midst. We would neither turn away, nor assign a place of dishonor to any person in worship based on how they dress.
Beginning in February, Living Hope will observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday morning. Additional resources, both written and recorded audio, will be made available as this transition takes place.