Below is an outline of the shape of our worship services. This sort of thing is often called a “liturgy,” which simply refers to the elements and order of our worship. Each Sunday at ECC includes the following:
Call to Worship
Worship always begins with the triune God. It is God who has first spoken to us, who invites us into his presence, and has made the way for us to be reconciled to him in Christ Jesus. The Call to Worship reminds us of this amazing reality. We begin our worship service with a passage of Scripture in which God invites us to offer praise to him. Only then do we joyfully respond to his invitation with thanksgiving and “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
In Scripture, God's acts of salvation are always followed by the songs of the redeemed. We are commanded to “sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” (Ps. 98:1) and to “tell of His works with joyful singing” (Ps. 107:22). And when God summons us to rejoice in song, we sing. Throughout the worship service we sing to exalt the triune God and celebrate what he has done for us in Jesus Christ. We sing to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly and to encourage one another (Col. 3:16-17). We sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly and to edify one another. We sing songs that are rich in biblical doctrine and that express a wide range of response, from adoration and thanksgiving to confession and lament. And whether with a full band, an acoustic set, or just our voices, our aim is to encourage congregational singing in spirit and truth, not create a "worship experience" to observe. Check out our Spotify playlist: ECC Sunday Songs
Confession of Sin & Assurance of Pardon
While our initial response to God’s revelation is both wonder and worship, we are then reminded of our uncleanness, brokenness, and unworthiness before him. After a song of praise we enter into a time of corporate and individual confession. By confessing our sins to God in humility and in faith, as instructed in Scripture, we are acknowledging that, apart from his mercy and grace, we fall short of his glory. But the good news is that because of our covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ, our honesty about our sin is welcome and safe. We confess our sins knowing that God has accepted us in Christ, which is why after our confession we hear an assurance of our pardon. This is a declaration from Scripture of the forgiveness God has granted to those who draw near to him through faith in Jesus.
Confession of Faith
After hearing and singing the gospel, we take time to corporately confess the faith once for all delivered to the saints by reciting one of the ancient, ecumenical creeds of the Christian church. Jesus prayed that his people, the citizens of his kingdom, would be one (John 17), and therefore we want to stress our unity in God’s gospel and our connection with church of Jesus Christ that exists throughout space and time and across denominational lines. Reciting the ancient creeds of the Church in the liturgy is a simple way to do this, and it’s also a very old practice found in virtually every Christian tradition. Not only do the creeds help us learn and confess the faith, but they are counter-cultural declarations that help recalibrate our minds on Truth. They equip us to stand against the false narratives and religions of our day by reminding us of what the triune God has revealed in his Word about what is true and foundational for life and godliness. These creeds include the Apostles’ Creed (2nd century), the Nicene Creed (381), and The Chalcedonian Creed (451).
As we conclude our brief time of fellowship in song, we transition into a time of prayer led by one of our pastors. Since everything we do is dependent upon God and his grace, prayer is an appropriate, worshipful, and thankful expression of that dependency (Matt. 6:7-13). During this time we pray for specific needs in our congregation as well as other local and like-minded churches, our community, our nation (1 Tim. 2:1-4), as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are persecuted for their faith in and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Preaching is the act that opens up, explains, and applies the Scriptures to us, and it is absolutely essential for the growth and spiritual nourishment of the church (2 Tim. 3:16-4:2). As the Shorter Catechism puts it: “The Spirit of God makes the reading but especially the preaching of the Word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners and of building them up in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation." Therefore, each week the sermon is founded upon biblical truths that will challenge and encourage us to grow in the grace and knowledge of God; we preach “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). We are committed to the faithful exposition of the Scriptures in order to declare the whole counsel of God. This is the heart of our service and is typically about 45 minutes in length.
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus instituted this meal on the night before his crucifixion to commemorate his death, to symbolize the New Covenant, and to anticipate the feast in the age to come (1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-26; Rev. 19:7-10). It is a means of spiritual nourishment whereby those who participate in the Supper spiritually receive and feed on Christ by faith. When we eat the bread and drink the cup we dramatize our union with him, our communion with one another, and the work that he continues to do in us by the Spirit (1 Cor. 10:16-17). In other words, we look back to his death, around at the church, up to the risen and exalted Christ (Heb. 4:14-16), and forward to the day our Lord Jesus returns. Since the Lord's Supper is a celebration of Jesus as the Lord, Savior, and greatest Treasure of our lives—not every person participates. If you have not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, if you are not a member of his body, you can simply pass along the bread and the cup to the person next to you.
At the conclusion of our service, one of our pastors will read a passage of Scripture, pronouncing a blessing on those gathered to worship. The service concludes with church singing the Doxology together. As God’s church, empowered by his Spirit, we are then scattered to worship—sent out into the world to make disciples and change our communities through the gospel. We go with the pardon, presence, and peace of Christ (John 16:33).