What are the values that unite us in corporate worship? And what are we aiming for when we gather together on Sunday morning?

Last week I described the primary value that unites us on Sunday and every day—namely, we want our worship gatherings to be deliberately and manifestly God-centered. But there’s much more that unites us and gives direction to what we do on Sunday morning.

In addition to being God-centered in our meetings, we also want to be distinctly cross-centered. Our songs, sermons, prayers, and other activities all explicitly connect to the gospel. Why? A couple reasons.

First, we believe even our most heartfelt and holy worship requires the purifying work of our Mediator before it is acceptable to the Father. If God is going to be pleased with what we sinners do on Sunday mornings together, it must—must!—be cleansed and presented by Jesus Himself. Even saints require the work of their Mediator to approach God.

Second, we want our congregation to be fully engaged with every part of the meeting on Sunday. We are worshipers all, not spectators! But how shall we get people engaged? That is the question! We believe nothing engages the mind, heart, body, and soul of worshipers more deeply and more effectively than the gospel. Even the worshiping assembly in heaven hasn’t gotten over the cross. What inspires them to sing with a loud voice and fall down on their faces? This cry: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!” (Rev 5:12) We believe it would be impossible to improve on that theme! And presumptuous even to try.

Practically, this value of cross-centeredness means:

  • We structure our worship meetings to conform to the gospel by including elements of adoration, confession/repentance, faith, and thanksgiving, recognizing that even the shape of our meeting communicates what we believe about approaching God.
  • We deliberately include the specific content of the gospel in our songs, prayers, sermons, and other worship elements, desiring to prepare ourselves well for the worship of heaven.
  • We encourage worshipers in our gatherings to be fully engaged—body, soul, and spirit.

Next week, value #3: saturated in the word.