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Community-Wide Worship

Unchurched people often look at local churches as being completely unrelated to each other. One of the best ways to testify to the truth of the gospel is by demonstrating the unity of Christ-centered churches. Promoting community-wide worship can help do this.

For four years Racine Christian Reformed Church has hosted a National Day of Prayer service for the wider community. We have also promoted community-wide services hosted by other churches, such as Good Friday and Thanksgiving services. If your church doesn’t already host an annual event in your community, we encourage you to do so! “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Community-wide Christian worship services make for a powerful testimony.

Here are a few things to consider when planning community-wide worship:

  • If your pastor doesn’t already have relationships with other local pastors, encourage him or her to work at building those relationships. Those connections not only benefit the churches, but also make pastors eager to worship together as a broader community.
  • Put together a slate of speakers who are vibrant Christians and who represent the diversity in your community.
  • Choose a coordinator from your church who is active in the community and has many connections. This person must be willing to invest time in sending personal invitations to participants, obtaining confirmations, and promoting the event through newspapers, Facebook, and ads on television and radio.
  • Get as many volunteers in your church as possible to help host the event as greeters, bakers, nursery attendants, sound and audio people, and so on. The more people involved, the more joy!

Last year we were grateful for an overflowing crowd of enthusiastic worshipers. Brief remarks and prayers were offered by Police Chief Art Howell, “Miss Racine” Paula Kuiper (who is a member of the Racine congregation), a military spokesperson, several evangelical pastors from the area, and a health-care professional. A wife and mother of six gave remarks and prayed for marriages and families. Various churches provided music through soloists and choirs. Members of the congregation baked more than 800 cookies for the fellowship hour following the service.

The city’s new police chief prayed, “We know that there are serious problems related to budget challenges, but we also know, Father, that there is nothing that is impossible for you to accomplish.” Retired U.S. Navy commander Bill Schalk prayed for military personnel and gave testimony to Jesus as the light of the world. Pastor Rich Doering of the Community Church of the Nazarene prayed for community outreach and referred to Nehemiah, who said, “send me.” Pastor Willie Scott of the Christian Faith Fellowship Church prayed for the nation’s economy, jobs, and the homeless.

National Day of Prayer Order of Worship

Prelude

Welcome: Pastor of host church

Song of Praise: “How Great Thou Art” LUYH, CH 147, HFW 218, PH 467, PsH 483, SWM 150, TH 44, WR 51

Remarks/Prayer for the Community: Chief of police

Remarks/Prayer for Our Nation and the World: Local pastor

Anthem: Local church choir

Remarks/Prayer for Nation’s Security and Those Serving in the Military: Military veteran

Remarks/Prayer for Economy, Jobs, and the Homeless: Local pastor or representative of an agency working with those who struggle financially

Anthem: Local church choir

Remarks/Prayer for Healthcare Workers and the Health of the Community: Healthcare worker

Remarks/Prayer for the Spiritual Growth of the Community: Local pastor

Song of Praise: “Total Praise” (Richard Smallwood) LUYH

Remarks/Prayer for Marriages and Families: Local pastor, counselor, or other community member

Remarks/Prayer for Young People: Local teenager or someone who works with youth

Closing Song: “God Bless America” or another appropriate song

Benediction: Local pastor

Topics for Petitions

The following list of topics challenges prayer leaders to think of concerns that should be included regularly in public prayer but may be forgotten in light of a given leader’s or congregation’s experience. This list can serve well as a checklist to ensure that a balanced range of concerns is incorporated in a congregation’s prayers over time. (These topics are taken from pages 182 ff. of The Worship Sourcebook, published by Faith Alive/Baker/Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, 2004.)

For the Creation

Harvest
Environmental concerns
Natural disasters
Seasonable weather
Restoration

For the World

War
Injustice
Hunger
Disease
Racial strife
World governments
International crisis
International relief organizations

For the Nation

Courts and judges
National leaders
Upcoming elections
Military personnel
Lobbyists and advocates for justice and peace

For the Local Community

Local government
Housing
Racial strife
Poverty
Employment
Government services
Schools

For the Worldwide Church

Unity of the church
Holiness of the church
Missionaries and missions
Other Christian traditions

For the Local Church

Pastor(s)
Elders and other leaders
Deacons and others who serve
Staff members
Teachers
Stewards of church finances
Musicians and artists
People leaving for service opportunities
Missionaries
All members in their witness in the community
Thanksgiving for faithful service
Local mission
Congregational anniversary
New or remodeled church building
Unity in the congregation

For Those with Special Needs

Those who suffer with physical illness, and those who care for them
Those who suffer with mental illness, and those who care for them
Those who are elderly and infirm, and those who care for them
Those who have suffered abuse, and those who support them
Those who suffer with addiction, and those who support them
Those who mourn a death, and those who minister to them
Those who are imprisoned, and those who minister to them
Those who are lonely, and those who support them
Those who are orphaned, and those who care for them
Those who are homeless, and those who care for them
Those who are victims of crime, and those who support them
Those whose needs cannot be spoken
Those who are facing temptations
Those who live as single persons
Those who are about to be married or who are newly married
Those who celebrate a wedding anniversary
Those who struggle with marital difficulties
Those who are divorced and separated
Those whose sexuality is a source of pain
Those who celebrate the birth of a child
Those who long for children
Those who adopt a child or children
Those who are adopted
Those who care for young children
Those who care for elderly or needy parents
Those who are struggling with peer pressure
Those who are trying to choose a college or career path
Those who are leaving home
Those who are unemployed or underemployed
Those who work in business and industry
Those who work in homemaking
Those who work in medicine
Those who work in education
Those who work in agriculture
Those who work in government
Those who work in service to others
Those who are beginning a new career
Those who struggle in their work
Those who are seeking new or different jobs
Those who are retired or anticipating retirement
Those who celebrate baptism
Those who celebrate a renewed faith commitment or profession of faith
Those who struggle with doubts
Those who are persecuted for their faith
Those who seek spiritual renewal
Those with family members and friends who do not have faith
Those who travel
Those who are enjoying leisure or rest
Those who traveled to be present at worship
Those who are new members of the congregation
Those who are departing members of the congregation