10 Principles that Guide us on Sunday Mornings
In corporate worship we will seek to...
1) be God-centered, understanding that God's glory is His highest purpose in all things. We seek to make God central in our mind's attention and our heart's affections. We will seek to exalt Him by delighting in His glory (Is. 48:9-11; 26:8).
2) worship in "spirit and in truth." We understand worship to involve the Spirit-stirred affections of the heart, the devotion of the mind, and the submission of the will according to the truth of God (John 4:23-24).
- In spirit-worship that flows out of a new life in Christ (a new spirit given birth by the Holy Spirit) which involves our whole being - mind, heart, and will (Phil. 3:3; Eph. 5:18-20; Ex. 20:3; Deut. 6:4-5; Rom. 12:1-2).
- In truth, we will seek to be Bible-saturated and doctrinally sound, giving Scripture prominence in worship as the basis of our response. We will read Scripture publicly and corporately and sing songs that reflect the truth of Scripture. All music will be examined for doctrinal correctness.
3) hold worship as our highest calling, understanding the supremacy of worship in the believer's life and in the mission of the church. Worship is the fuel and goal of all other ministries at GCC. Worship is the purpose for which we evangelize and do missions and the purpose for which we encourage and build each other up in the faith. Worship is the eternal purpose of the Church (Rev. 14:6-7; Ps. 96:3).
4) incorporate both revelation and response, understanding that all response in worship is based upon God's revelation of Himself. As God reveals His power, we respond in wonder. As God reveals His holiness, we respond in confession and contrition. As God reveals His grace, we respond in humility. As God reveals His purpose, we respond in surrender and commitment. As God reveals His plans for our lives, we respond in prayer. As God reveals His goodness, we respond in thankfulness (Is. 6:1-12; Ps. 100:4-5).
5) be congregational. The Greek word, "leitourgia," (used to describe worship in the New Testament for worship) is made up of ergon = "work"; and laos = "of the people." The literal meaning then, would be, "work of the people." The early Church understood worship to be a communal event in light of the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer. Every believer freely and enthusiastically participated in worship before the Lord (1 Pet. 2:9). Therefore, we will seek to be congregational rather than leader/performer-driven in worship. We believe that any worship service whereby a worship leader, musical ensemble, soloist, etc. is given prominence over a congregation's expression is not biblical leitourgia.
6) worship God both in His transcendence and His imminence, understanding that God is worthy to be worshiped as the great King upon His throne in Heaven, as well as the Savior who meets with His children intimately (Rev. 7:9-12; 3:20).
7) blend contemporary and historical songs of worship. We will seek to mine from history the very best of hymnody and couple these with the most passionate new God-centered songs of worship from our generation (Matt. 13:52).
8) lead by the principle of undistracting excellence. "We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance, or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through. Sound system, music playing... all undistracting from the aim of thinking about God. Avoid the flair of words and chords that draw attention mainly to the performance and style and not the substance" (John Piper, from Gravity and Gladness on Sunday Morning: the Pursuit of God in Corporate Worship). We will seek excellence in all we do for the purpose of drawing attention to the supreme excellencies of God (Ps. 33:3; Jn. 3:30).
9) maintain a balance of form and freedom in worship.
10) be continually growing in our biblical understanding and our practice of worship (Ps. 40:3; 98:1; 149:1).