Order of Worship

WFMC incorporates timeless elements into our weekly worship expression, using a variety of creeds, song, prayer and other elements that represent the best of contemporary and historical worship.

For this week’s worship order, check out our Current Worship Folder.

Read below our description and theological and historical rationale and importance concerning the different elements of our worship services:

Have you ever wondered why we worship the way we do at WFMC?

The following explanations are meant to be helpful introductions to the basic worship philosophy of our church, not doctrinal requirements to which each worshiper must adhere.

In an overall sense, we appreciate and value all types and expressions of genuine worship, and we try, over the course of a year, to include many styles which reflect quality.  In our order of worship, we have included elements that have been part of Christian worship in most times and places—elements which have endured through the ages.

We also encourage broad congregational participation in worship leadership.  For example, we include different persons every week in the various parts of the liturgy.  We also have four to six different music teams which rotate through the year, varying in style, in order to allow many persons to use the musical gifts God has given them.

Prelude  The prelude usually begins ten minutes prior to each of our worship services and is intended to be a time of preparing ourselves for worship.  Various styles of instrumental music are played in order to meet the needs of people having many different musical tastes.  Music based on a familiar tune can help direct an individual’s thoughts to a known text, while music not associated with a familiar text can leave the individual free to focus on worship preparation without prescribed textual direction.  The prelude is meant to be an integral part of our worship time as it gives us the opportunity to come into the presence of God in an intentional way, instead of rushing in at the last moment.  It is our intention that the prelude not function as background music for conversation, but rather that it serve as a time to focus our hearts and minds on Almighty God.

Welcome    We view the welcome, which follows the prelude, as a time to set the tone for the worship service.  In the welcome, we affirm that we are glad to be worshipping God together.  We extend a special welcome to our visitors, and then provide opportunity for personal greeting.

Call to Worship    In certain seasons of the church year, we employ a call to worship, either prayer, a congregational reading, or some other means, to draw us to the unified purpose of our gathering, that of worshiping God.

Congregational Singing    We consider congregational singing the most important musical expression of our church.  As we sing together, we offer a witness of God at work in the world, we share the riches of our Christian experience and understanding, and we rehearse for the time when we will sing together in Heaven.  Depending upon the text, we sing both to the Lord and to one another.  While God’s Word tells us of God’s love for us, congregational singing is one way that we make known our love for God!  Music for congregational singing is selected in keeping with Colossians 3:16.  We sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, new and old, of praise to God.

Reading of Scripture    Jesus read from Isaiah 61 in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:16ff), following the Jewish custom of the public reading of scripture.  So when we share the Bible in church today, we follow both Old and New Testament patterns.  Notice that Jesus expounded the Isaiah 61 passage (vs. 21).  The function of scripture in church is not only to inspire fresh hope and new inspiration, but also to form the basis of the preaching.   Please use the Bible provided, or your own, to follow the lesson as the scripture is read.

Pastoral Prayer    As the pastor prays, listen for the kinds of prayer.  Each meets a need in us and a response in God’s heart.  Martin Luther said the first task of the devil is to get us to stop praying.  Pray actively along with the pastor, and talk to God in private too.

Worship in Giving    We believe that the giving of our tithes and offerings is a high moment of participation when we present a portion of ourselves to God in recognition of His ownership of all things.  At this time the activities of our workweek come in contact with a Holy God Who gives strength for honest labor.  The offering is not a money-raising interlude but rather an ultimate act of praise and thanksgiving.

Our worship in giving is composed of three parts:  the introduction; the collection of the offering, during which an offertory is played or sung; and the singing of the Doxology.  Because of the sacredness and importance of the offering, it is introduced by a reading or portion of scripture that relates giving to a theme of the worship hour.  As we each give according to God’s prospering, the offertory provides beauty and substance for meditation on God’s goodness throughout the past week.  The singing of the Doxology is our corporate acknowledgement that all our blessings come from the triune God.

Children’s Time     When God made His covenant through Moses with Israel, He said in Deuteronomy 6:5-7, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.”  In the New Testament Jesus highlighted the value of children when He said in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  And on the day of Pentecost regarding the salvation given through Christ, Peter declared in Acts 2:39, “The promise is for you and your children.”

God greatly values children!  Therefore, we—their church family along with their individual families—value them as precious gifts and are responsible to bring them up to love, worship, and serve the Lord.  Children’s Time is one of the ways we show how truly special they are and teach them of Jesus’ love.

Music Ministry    A musical offering both by individuals and by choirs has a long heritage in the Jewish and Christian religions.  Miriam’s song of triumph following the successful crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:21), David’s singing praise to the Lord accompanied by his harp (Psalms), and large choirs of singers and instrumentalists of the tribe of Levi (I Chronicles 25) all bear witness to the power and effectiveness of music and text to testify to the goodness and faithfulness of God.  The many gifted musicians of our church, as soloists, accompanists, and members of a variety of ensembles, present “living” musical offerings to God on behalf of the congregation.  It is our intention that God alone receive the glory.

Sermon     Preaching is a gift of God in which one called of God is inspired to interpret scripture in a practical way for the contemporary congregation.  There are normally three kinds of sermons:  topical, expository, or combination.  The worshiper is encouraged to take notes on the sermon in order to help hear what God is saying.  The same sermon may be used of God to speak to people at different points or levels of their lives.  Preaching has historically been God’s primary method of saving souls and deepening faith.

Response    Part of our theological heritage is to always give the congregation an opportunity to respond to the truth preached, however the Lord might lead., because the truth of God touches hearts and calls for a response.  This response may be to come to the altar, a special place where we gather to pray, confess, and commune with God.  It is a place of humility, honesty, and sometimes weeping or rejoicing; a place where brothers and sisters in Christ encourage and pray for one another.  Other responses may be called for:  saying an inner prayer or affirming the call of God by singing the hymn of response.

Benediction    Just as the spoken part of worship begins with a greeting, so a farewell blessing is appropriate at its close.  We are dismissed with a blessing call the benediction or “good word.”  Two things are accomplished in this:  we are sent out to live and work in the world, and we receive the blessed promise—a pronouncement, not a prayer—that the triune God goes with us as we scatter into the world.  The words used may vary with the day, the season, or the challenge of the sermon.  The action of scattering into the world, like the action of gathering, is a part of worship.

Postlude    The postlude functions in one of two ways, depending upon the particular need at the end of the worship service.  When an individual or individuals respond to the invitation by coming forward to the altar, the postlude provides appropriate music to aid in this important time of commitment and decision.  In this context it also musically enfolds those praying at the altar while others in the congregation leave the sanctuary.  The second function of the postlude is to send the worshipers out to serve in the world.  The music is often exuberant and joyful, providing a celebratory ending to the worship experience.

 Other Christian Fundamentals We Observe as a Church Family

The Lord’s Day    Our Lord’s Day (Sunday) is patterned after the Old Testament, Ten Commandment view of the Sabbath.  “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy” (Deuteronomy 5:12).  We receive the day as a special gift of God given to us for our health, both physical and spiritual.  It is a day of thanksgiving, worship, rest, and reflection.  We observe the day as beginning on Sunday morning and ending as we extinguish the altar candle at the close of evening worship.

The Lord’s Supper    The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is a sacrament—an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.  The Reformers disagreed as to how the presence of Christ manifested itself in Communion.  Some held that Christ was present in the bread and wine.  Others saw it only as a symbol or memorial of His suffering and death.  We hold that Christ is present in the rite of Holy Communion in a real, yet mysterious way we cannot fully understand.  We believe it is a memorial and a thanksgiving to Christ in which we participate with Him and our brothers and sisters.

We celebrate an open communion.  Our faith in Christ, not membership in a particular church, is our invitation to come and participate in this beautiful act of worship.

Symbols in Worship    The use of symbols and colors has been included in the Sanctuary since Old Testament times.  As we enter our Sanctuary, the first impression is of the deep red in the carpet and chairs—a reminder that the shed blood of Jesus and our faith in His sacrifice is the foundation of our salvation.  At the head of the center aisle is the communion table, which reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.

Looking up and beyond to the trinity window, we see a cross, representing the death of Christ for the whole world; a dove, symbolizing the coming of the Holy Spirit; and the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, a combination reminding us of Revelation 1:8, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'”

In the upper portion of the windows along the sides of the Sanctuary, we have placed the shape of a shield—the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16), and the shape of a heart with a cross at its center, depicting Jesus Christ as the center of our own hearts.

A variety of colors have been used in the windows to express such meanings as the divinity of Christ (yellow, the color of finest gold); dawn and the resurrection of Christ (pink); the triumph of life over death (green); purity and holiness (white); truth (blue); and the royalty of God, the Father, Lord of all (purple).

The soaring nature of church architecture invites all to look up—up to the God who created us all.  Our intention is that every visible portion of the Sanctuary turns hearts to the Lord our God!