The first time I took part in a Praise and Worship service I was the guest minister. The pastor of the church and I took our places on the pulpit at the beginning of the service. When the organ prelude ended, the pastor stood, welcomed the worshipers and me, proclaimed our dependence on God, and blessed the congregation. He then introduced not an opening song, but an opening time of praise.
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It's the Thursday evening between Christmas and New Years—a week when most regular activities and meetings are suspended. Yet by 7:45 P.M. the Celebration Team members have formed their customary informal circle at the front of our church's sanctuary, just as we do every week.
What motivates this group of people to meet together while so many others are taking a break? That question only briefly crosses my mind as I join them on the carpet and take part in the sharing and prayer time that opens our practice sessions.
Worship Experience #1
The congregation sang one song at the beginning of the service, but they sang poorly. Most of the worshipers were unfamiliar with the tune and unmoved by the words. As a result, when they finished singing, few of them were prepared for the quick shift into a time of reconciliation.
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God."
"I long to worship with freedom, singing songs of joy, clapping my hands in exuberance and worshiping together as we get lost in the presence of God."
—New Member of Madison Square
A new style of worship has been spreading throughout North America and other parts of the world in the last several decades. While this worship approach is described by a variety of names, the one that seems to be gaining most acceptance is "Praise and Worship" (P&W). I want to explain what this style of worship is and how it may affect traditional worship in the future.
Where Did It Originate?
Recently we asked several of our Reformed Worship readers about their understanding of the Praise and . Worship style and its effect on congregational worship. We wanted to know what questions and concerns they had about the movement. Then we turned to Henry Wildeboer, a pastor involved with this style of worship. We invited him to answer these questions from his experiences in churches in Calgary and Oshawa.
Christ Community Church in Nanaimo, British Columbia, has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. We've also celebrated the good news that we've had a real surge of first-time visitors during the past twelve months: over two hundred newcomers have walked through our doors in the past year.
Prelude: Variations on vater unser (Our Father)
Call to Worship: "Built on the Rock" [stanzas 1-2, choir, stanza 3, all]
(PsH 503, TH 351]
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN
Hymn: "Our Father, Clothed with Majesty," [stanza 1]
Why did Christ command us to call God "our Father"?
CALL TO WORSHIP
This is a day of Thanksgiving. Our God has been very good to us. It is a day for harvest celebration.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you."
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."