Our services at FBC are pretty typical in element and order:
Songs of Gathering and Praise
Call to Worship
Songs of Praise
Prayer of Confession
Songs of Praise
Song of Praise
Moment of Silence
The very structure reflects a running dialogue–not between the people gathered, though we “speak to one another in songs,” etc.–but fundamentally between God and His people. We come singing to our God, but He speaks the first word in the “call to worship.” We respond in song. Then God addresses us again by the reading of His word. We then speak to Him in prayer of confession. Following the confession, God speaks to us in the “assurance of pardon” taken from Scripture each week. Hearing His promise of pardon, we then respond in song. God speaks next in the sermon. God gets the bulk of the service to say what’s on His mind, disclosed in the word of God. Following God’s word to us, we respond in praise. We then receive the benediction or words of blessing from God, before sitting in silence (hopefully awe) before the God of the universe.
God has historically expressed himself in some unpredictable and unique ways: a burning bush, a talking donkey, those winged creatures in Ezekiel.
God can express himself in any way he wishes. He can express himself through all the elements of a “typical” service which Pastor Anyabwile lists in his post.
My question: why would God settle for a single format of expression when he has historically delighted to express himself through the miraculous, supernatural, unnatural, and bizarre?
Do we deny God the freedom of expression he deserves by scheduling weekly cookie-cutter services?