Tim Chester explains the reasons that shape and order the church gatherings that he is part of.
This is the same for us at mgpc.
1. We want the shape of our gatherings to embody the gospel
We want the component parts of a gathering to be true to the gospel. But we want more than this. We want the overall shape or flow of the meeting to reflect the gospel. Indeed we want the meeting to re-enact the gospel so that to participate in the meeting is to participate in the gospel.
So we want the shape of the meeting to embody the gospel.
- God is beauty, truth and goodness. We are made to know him and worship him. So we begin with a call to worship and an affirmation of his glory.
- We are sinners so we only come before God through his grace to us in Christ. So we include a time of confession and an assurance of grace.
- We know God through his word and his word should shape our hearts and lives. So the centrepiece of our time together is hearing God through the reading and preaching of the word.
- We respond to God revealed in his word with praise, love and service. So in our meetings we respond to God’s word in ways that are appropriate to the word we have heard. At the close of our time together we are sent out to live the word in our everyday lives.
2. We want the shape of our gatherings to be centred on God’s word
The word of God is one of the three core commitments of The Crowded House (the others being community and mission). We want to be shaped by the word and so the word is the centrepiece of our meetings. Before the Bible reading and sermon we want our meetings to prepare us for God’s word and after the Bible reading and sermon we want our meetings to enable us to respond to God’s word. There is a sense, then, in which our meetings follow the pattern of preparing for the word, hearing the word and responding to the word.
From Tim Chester.