The modern day church service has in all honesty been shaped and moulded by man’s traditions. Dating back hundreds of years when the priest would stand in front of the congregation to present a liturgy, the modern church service has also evolved to include worship, a presentation of a sermon, an altar call and prayer.
The Apostle Paul touched on the order of worship in 1 Corinthians 14: 26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
We have to keep in mind, church structure in the days of Paul was vastly different to church structure of today. People met in homes, and the groups were at times small. Yet, what remains true is that Paul emphasized that where possible that ALL present within a service/meeting/fellowship must have an opportunity to participate as the Spirit of the Lord leads. He also placed great focus on order, and to glorify God at all times. Our God is not a God of disorder.
So importantly, there must be order, but this must then be the order of God and not man. Man’s order is tradition and religious, for then we function according to man’s rules and regulations. God’s order is one of liberty in the Spirit, but God will never allow disorder or chaos where He is present. At Lighthouse Ministries we uphold God’s order, and the liberty of the Spirit as a key priority in the service. We do not condone any form of tradition or religion, where man’s agenda, programme or order of things take centre stage at the expense of the will of God, expressed in the move of the Spirit.
So while it is good to function within certain set and determined parameters of order – such as the service consisting firstly of worship/praise, followed by a Sermon then an Altar Call and then Prayer – one needs to always allow the Spirit of God to move. Thus obedience to God during the service is of paramount and utmost importance. Again, at Lighthouse, we emphasize the importance of disciples, and disciples are active and participating. If the Spirit so leads, and thus in order, there will be opportunity for disciples to move in their gifts and talents, as LED BY THE SPIRIT of the LORD and in accordance to 1 Corinthians 14.
It is almost of great importance that the overseer of the service – be it the pastor or spiritual leader – be led by the Spirit of the Lord at all times so that His Will and Order be done. A Service or Fellowship will always be done in order to God’s Glory.
And yes, the delivering of a Word as a Sermon (be it preaching, teaching, prophetic or evangelical in nature) is of utmost importance during the Service. The Logos (written word) should never be disregarded blatantly and without thought for the Rhema (expressed word manifesting as prophetic, spiritual utterances, spiritual gifts) UNLESS DIRECTED SPEICIFICALLY BY GOD. Yet you will find where God moves then both the Logos and the Rhema is present, for what God has said stands to empower and equip, and what God is saying at the moment is equally important to guide, to correct, to lead, to edify and to encourage. So is the Altar Call of great importance, usually towards the end of the Service, as the Lord moves the heart of man to return to Him. Just so is praise and worship, usually at the beginning of the Service and the end, to glory Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
Let us always keep in mind Ephesians 5: 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Yes, God is the Head of the Church, so we must always remain obedient, for all that we do must to glory Him. Let us remember we are called to bring the lost back into the fold of the grace of God, but once the sheep has been found, we need to disciple, to teach, to train, to empower and to equip. And all of this takes place during a Service. So let us always remain humble, and submitted to God, for then His Order and Will shall be done, sustained and upheld.