Holy Spirit and The Order Of Worship

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Wynteriii

Puritan Board Freshman
Every week I prepare an order of service. I wait for any news on what the sermon topic will be and I try to pick songs that correlate to the topic. There has been times where the worship band could not do their middle of the week practice because I did not have the order service prepared because I didn't know the topic.

The band told me to just start picking songs and the Holy Spirit will lead you to pick the right songs to fit the topic.

I now question what I should be doing and relying on when preparing an order of service. Your questions, thoughts, opinions, and Bible verses that could help.

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Wynteriii

Puritan Board Freshman
I hope that you guys do not think I post this out of malicious intent. I'm asking so that I can get reformed answers since I cannot in my area.

I think this issue could also tie into the RP of worship but once again idk.

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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Well, all other issues aside (Josh seems to have covered that), if the elders have intrusted you with the job of preparing the order of worship, then I would ask them what course of action to take when you do not get the sermon topic in time (and maybe you should move the practice to late in the week if the pastor is constantly "last minute" on the topic).
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Unless you are going to completely change the worship at your church - which you should NOT be doing without authority - the answer is simple. Stop worrying so much about matching songs to sermon topic. It is overrated. Period.

Instead, make sure you have songs selected well in advance so that you help those who need to practice.
 

Hemustincrease

Puritan Board Freshman
When it is perfectly possible for the Elder (or whomever is preaching) to tell you himself what the sermon will be about, would the Holy Spirit really need to work supernaturally? ;)

Have you spoken with the Elder about this? If he is aware of the need for the band to practice on such and such a day, he would no doubt be willing to let you have the topic that bit earlier? Alternatively, perhaps the band might be willing to have their practice later in the week when you can be sure to have knowledge of the sermon and thus have the hymns chosen.
 

Wynteriii

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm trying to bring back psalm singing to the church and that is a hard task.

I will talk to the pastor for guidance on this issue.

I think we, as a band need to have a bible study concerning worship. Every member calls themselves reformed but when I get these answers that are far from it.

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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
There has been times where the worship band could not do their middle of the week practice because I did not have the order service prepared because I didn't know the topic.

The preacher should know the schedule. If he can't get the verses he's going to preach from that week to you by Wednesday, I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
If the preacher isn't all that interested in getting the rest of the service to fit around the sermon (and it appears he is not), then you'll just have to construct a service without that element. In some ways this gives you more freedom to construct an order of service that itself "preaches," in a sense.

One common Reformed structure is to have the order of service be the gospel story in miniature: an opening call to worship, confession of sin, assurance of pardon, praise and thanksgiving to God for his salvation, renewed commitment to living for Christ. You are in a position to construct an order of worship, usuing Scripture reading, song and prayer, that takes worshipers through those elements (or something similar). By doing so, you are taking a pastor/preacher role. You are proclaiming the gospel each week. Do your part faithfully and with joy, and if the sermon doesn't fit in as well as you might like, don't worry so much about that.
 

Wynteriii

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the replies, I'm still struggling to understand the position that of creating an order of service that is "Spirit Led".
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Thanks for the replies, I'm still struggling to understand the position that of creating an order of service that is "Spirit Led".

"Spirt Led"...what does this mean in this context? Is this just a buzz word that sounds "cool" in some circles? If you or others in your congregation genuinely want to sing "spirit led" praise, then the Psalms are truly your only option. Nothing else you or anyone else sings is God-breathed. Sure, some hymns may have good theology or catchy, uplifting lyrics, but they are all man written. Consider the freedom that comes from singing from God's Psalter - you (or anyone) never has to question whether this was the right song selection or whether this choice was "Spirit led". With the Psalter your conscience will be freed every Lord's Day when you know you are 100% singing praises that are approved by God Himself!
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Thanks for the replies, I'm still struggling to understand the position that of creating an order of service that is "Spirit Led".

Make it biblical and prayfully build it around celebrating the person and work of Christ, and it will be Spirit-led. The Bible is the Spirit's speech to us, and he delights to show us Christ. The more Bible you put into it, including making the gospel central, the more confident you can be that what you have comes from the Spirit.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
I'm trying to bring back psalm singing to the church and that is a hard task.

I will talk to the pastor for guidance on this issue.

I think we, as a band need to have a bible study concerning worship. Every member calls themselves reformed but when I get these answers that are far from it.

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First, brother - let me offer you an encouragement! It is a joy to me to see you work through these various issues (in various threads). Even though you appear new to some of the concepts in Reformed theology, you keep asking and wanting to reform. That's encouraging to me. You may not (yet!) be an acapella, psalm singer like myself, Josh, Andrew or others on this thread or even hold to the RPW (Regulative Principle of Worship). But the fact that you keep coming back and wanting to learn more and more about what the Bible has to say about various topics is a huge encouragement to me. May the Lord bless your inquiries in these matters. Sometimes on the Internet our responses may appear a little quick or harsh, but I want to just give you a quick note to say, "keep at it!".

And, as we've all mentioned before - work with the session of your church through these topics as a man under authority. There are hard labors ahead of you, and be longsuffering and work through them with your church. Reformation is probably not going to happen overnight, and you will be in an odd position as a man who is "in training" who might be introducing new concepts to men who have been ordained for many years. Understand what their reaction to that might be.

Also, I'd encourage you to take some time and study the issues. This board has several subforums that you can just read through to get a good grasp of the RPW. They were invaluable for me when wanting to understand the Reformed view of worship. And like brother Andrew says - the RPW is incredibly freeing to the congregant, allowing the congregation to worship with their whole heart with no reservations. What a blessing!
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Stop worrying so much about matching songs to sermon topic. It is overrated. Period.

Why do you say it's overrated?
For exactly the reason that this thread exists. Time and effort that could be better spent is spent on it, which has (in my mind) very little return. It can lead to using less helpful or well-known songs so "make them fit." It can cause conflict and difficulty between musicians and the preacher. It also gives the impression that the entire service is about the sermon.
 

Wynteriii

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm sorry you feel that way but I found the information here interesting and gave me food for thought.

Another issue that is perhaps in the same topic is how people will use a default answer of "you just got to do it and the Holy Spirit will make it work in the end". That was an argument the band had, I needed to pick songs and stop worrying about whether everything It will fit because the Holy Spirit will make it fit.

I just don't know about this thought. It twist my stomach when I try to comprehend their viewpoint. I'm willing to hear what they have to say as well as what you guys have to say.

This could mean having to move this thread to another category...
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
For exactly the reason that this thread exists. Time and effort that could be better spent is spent on it, which has (in my mind) very little return. It can lead to using less helpful or well-known songs so "make them fit." It can cause conflict and difficulty between musicians and the preacher. It also gives the impression that the entire service is about the sermon.

I'm sorry to hear you've gotten very little return from it! As for myself, I absolutely love it and have gained a lot from it. Sometimes you can even gain a different angle on a hymn when used in connection with a sermon (my pastor chose "I love Thy kingdom, Lord" to be sung before he preached on Acts 28:27, “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”)

On Wednesday evenings, our deacon who writes up the order of worship gets together with the men are scheduled to preach that Sunday. He asks what they will be preaching on and what hymns they would suggest (they usually have a list ready for him). If for some reason he isn't able to get this information (which used to be more common), then he chooses hymns based on a common theme (either in subject, like the Kingship of Christ, or sometimes by author, like Horatius Bonar.)

We always sing a Psalm to begin Sunday morning worship, and it's usually the Psalter reading with which we've opened. Then, we sing one or two hymns before the Scripture reading. These actually may or may not be tied to the sermon (though I just thought of an idea- since we know what the Scripture reading will be, why not tie it to the reading if possible? emailing a suggestion to him now...) Then, after the Scripture reading and prayer, we sing another hymn. This one is generally the most tied to the theme of the sermon. As for musicians, we use just a piano, so that's simple enough. We did have to change one evening service hymn earlier in the day because a new piano-player on our rotation wasn't comfortable playing it.

This is intended to tie the service together and aid the order and edification of the service (taking a principle from 1 Cor. 14). Again, I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with it! You should come visit my church sometime to see how it's done ;)
 
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