Worship at Sojourn
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24
As Sojourn comes together in corporate worship each Sunday morning, let’s remember that this is not the only time we worship. “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). Colossians tells us that we are worshiping the Lord all the time. Our thoughts and actions all day should glorify and thank the Lord. We give ourselves completely as a living sacrifice to the Lord. “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). We spend all day living in obedience and serving one another. Our motto is Love Like Jesus, Live Like Jesus and Labor Like Jesus. This is our reasonable worship all day and every day. Then we gather for corporate worship. Our corporate worship gatherings are enhanced when it is an extension of our everyday worship of the Lord. “…not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb 10:25).
How do we design a worship gathering that glorifies the Lord?
Sojourn worship gatherings incorporate the biblical examples of Reading and preaching Scripture (1 Tim. 4:14); singing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together (Eph. 5:18–19; Col. 3:16); praying (1 Tim. 2:1–2, 8); celebrating the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:19, 1 Cor. 11:17–34); and stirring one another up to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24–25). (from http://www.gotquestions.org)
What do the worship gatherings look like?
We build a worship shell from historical church practices and our biblical mandates. We haven’t incorporated all historic practices as we believe some to be off the mark. We will use a mixture of the following worship elements.
We begin with a Call to Worship which incorporates an Opening Song, a public prayer for the group and the worship time and a reading of today’s bible text. Worship is going to use a lot of Scripture and a lot of prayer.
The Opening Song helps draw the people into an attitude of prayer and praise and summons them before the Throne of Grace. (Psalm 100:4, Colossians 3:16)
The Opening Prayer takes us to God immediately as we ask Him to bless the time so we can worship Him uninterrupted and undistracted.
The Reading of the Word focuses us on God’s Word and His message for us today.
The Welcome is quick and simply invites the people to worship and states our goals for them for the day. Besides worshipping together, Believers are encouraged and grow closer, Non-believers to have an experience with God that leads to their salvation.
The Fellowship Practice is designed to help us get better at talking and connecting. Acts 2:42 tells us “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.” This includes fellowship as a form of worship. Romans 16:16 speaks of greeting one another. So we do this not in an uncomfortable way but as practice for later. We give them a question to ask and then encourage them to talk to one another. Fellowship is worship.
The Didache is a series of quick, easy to remember doctrinal statements. We say these phrase often and they become part of our conversation. It’s a great way to teach Scripture.
We Sing because culturally it is our best way to worship. This is why the style becomes so important. We connect with our “heart music,” that music which appeals to us most. Our worship leader will chose a mixture of hymns, Psalms, and spiritual songs though not evenly and not each week. Our songs will honor God and thank Him. Some of these songs will also teach theology.
The Flow of our gathering is standard up to this point. After this we tend to add elements as needed for our theme for that day. We also send the children to their group outside of the sanctuary at this time.
Some elements that we will use at this time;
We will have a time of repentance and confession. This is done in silence in prayer between the individual and God. We often have an interactive element of it such as the “Hall of Repentance.”
We have a special time of prayer. We’ll use many different interactive elements in order to facilitate this time such as “tripletts” and “prayer wall.”
We worship through giving each week. There is a wooden box in the back of the room and people are encouraged to give and worship God with their giving. We do this as part of any time we are up and moving about.
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper once each month, usually on the same day as our Fellowship Meal. We gather together around the table, the deacons serve and pray, the pastor reads Scripture and gives explanations.
We read Scripture.
We will often have worship stations, these are interactive tables designed to enhance our understanding of the text and give us a hands on application. These are designed to help you worship.
We always have a sermon. This is divided in two parts;
The exegesis is a detailed explanation of the meaning of the words and their order to get a true sense of the meaning of the text in the context of the entire Bible and the context of what the Author intended for the original hearers.
The application is a time to find how the text applies to our current situation. This is where we have a “message from the Lord” and we answer the question “what is God telling us through this text and what does He want us to do.”
We end our gatherings with a song and a benediction, a final reading of scripture that is a blessing to God’s People.
How can I be more involved in the worship gathering?
Sojourn plans its gatherings to be experiential, participatory, image-driven and communal. We want to move from a group of people watching the events on a stage to all people having a part in the worship. For this, we have to get away from the idea that all the action is on the stage. With this in mind, we want to invite the worshipper to be as involved as possible and the worshipper has the option of sitting and not moving. No one pushes you or judges you. The following is a list of activities that are involved each week.
Bible Reading – people are invited to be the “professional reader” each week.
Hearing God’s word
Saying “Amen” in agreement
Hearing a Message from God
Seeing the multitude of images
Laugh with the group
Repentance from Sin – take the opportunity when it is presented
Talk to others when instructed
Participate in the worship stations.
Stand, sit, knell, raise hands when invited
Participate in the Lord’s Supper
Encouraging one another
What about the “music style?”
Our music style is created by the worship leader. We like our music to be upbeat and biblical. We use hymns, current songs and old songs. They are spirituals, hymns and psalms. We want the music to connect to the heart of the worshipper. It is clear that music is important in all our lives and we try to create an environment that enables each person to worship through song.
We don’t believe that music is the only way to worship but we do believe that it is very important to the way we worship.
What is a worship station? These are areas for the worshipper to make a personal connect with the worship event and enter into a deeper understanding of the text or introspection about the text. Generally there is a scripture and an item, then instructions requiring the worshipper to touch, taste, smell the item and think about the text and how it connects to their life. They are then invited to make decisions about their walk with the Lord.
What about the style of preaching? We seek to get a true sense of the meaning of the text. Our goal is to discover exactly what God intended the original hearers to understand and then find how God wants to apply the text to our lives. While we do expository preaching but we are not tied to it. We do not feel it is necessary to do a verse-by-verse, chapter by chapter study of a book. We recognize that topical studies are important and that theological preaching is important also. We are tied to a proper exegesis of any text and we make sure we are using the scriptures properly, rightly dividing the word.
Who Can Attend?
EVERYONE is welcome to attend sojourn church worship gatherings. EVERYONE.
We will ALWAYS make them feel welcomed.
We will NEVER ask them to leave.
EXCEPT when they are overly disruptive, drunk, high or dangerous.
Sojourn is actively training its people to get over personal preferences in people. We seek to love everyone and treat everyone like Jesus would treat them.
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