A Service Format from Engaging with God (David Peterson)

image As I’m planning a service format, I came across David Peterson’s Epilogue to his book “Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship” where he describes a fictitious account of a worship service.

Here’s how his “ideal service” might pan out:

It starts with the pre-service segment:

  • Informal singing
  • Reading of scripture
  • Prayer of confession

Followed by the actual liturgical service:

  • Songs of Praise & Thanksgiving
  • Reading from OT & NT
  • Prayer before the sermon
  • Sermon (thematic, or expository; based on scripture discussed by small groups earlier in the week, prior to the sermon)
  • Prayer & closing song
  • Announcements

Time is given for public ministry:

  • Public sharing of prayer requests
  • Sharing of ministry work
  • Testimony
  • Sharing of thoughts on the sermon

Which is followed, of course, by prayer:

  • Corporate prayer (involving spontaneous prayer by the congregation)
  • Prayer in small groups (sharing with those seating nearby)

Then the matter of Holy Communion:

  • Communion song/hymn
  • Prayer of thanksgiving
  • Communion (either by passing the bread & wine, or coming forward in groups)

Closing the service:

  • Rededication (through song & prayer)

WOW! Okay that’s quite a lot to go through for a single service! But I think there’s lots of good ideas in there which involve more participation by the congregation, which I think its a bit lacking in our services today.

David Peterson writes:

“In fact, much of the service seemed to be concerned with what would come after – in the time of informal conversation after church, in home groups during the week, and in the opportunities for ministry that many shared in the neighbourhood, in the workplace and beyond.

Although the focus of the gathering was on heavenly or spiritual realities, the relevance of these truths to the world in which they lived was the pre-occupation of those who participated.”

See anything in there that you wish we had in our services? Leave a comment!

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~ by jonhyz on June 15, 2009.

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