Corporate worship is a time of interaction between God and His people in which God reveals Himself through His Word and His people respond with praise and obedience. This definition implies numerous principles that guide our worship decisions. For example:
God is the focus of our corporate worship.
Biblical exposition is the centerpiece of our corporate worship.
Worship follows the two-fold movement of proclamation and response.
The effects of our corporate worship extend to all of life.
We also believe that the Bible regulates the elements of corporate worship and provides the content of the elements. As a result, our worship gatherings consist of these expressions, and these only:
Wesing the Word—We choose songs with scriptural content to support the theme of the sermon text.
Weread the Word—We select Scripture readings that complement the theme of the sermon.
Wepray the Word—We offer prayers with content and language shaped by Scripture.
Wepreach the Word—We listen to expository sermons, that is, sermons that “expose” the meaning of the Scriptures.
Wesee the Word--We visually depict the gospel through the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
What We Sing in Worship
Throughout the history of the Church, God's people have sung together every Lord’s Day. Truth expressed in song deepened understanding of Christian teaching and unified congregations in their commitment to specific theological distinctives. Historically, the churches of the Reformation understood the role that God intends music to play in the local church. Here is a brief summary:
Biblical singing teaches truth about God
Biblical singing expresses prayer
Biblical singing shapes Christian affections
Biblical singing unites the community of faith
All of that began to change in American evangelicalism during the 20th century. Popular music styles invaded the church to serve the pragmatic impulses of revivalists. Music was “good” if it used cultural appeal to draw crowds with the expectation of entertainment. As churches began to use this pattern to reshape their ministries, the consequences were devastating: sentimentality displaced truth, individual interests eclipsed the interests of the assembly, and carnal desires rose above godly affections. In the end, the "worshiper" replaced God as the focus of the worship service.
At Grace Baptist Church we are seeking to reclaim the biblical purpose of singing. To do so, we select church music based on the following criteria:
Songs that use lyrics which declare a broad spectrum of biblical truth
Songs that express truth with respect and reverence
Songs that use lyrics that express the truth with artistic beauty
Songs that have a musical style that supports the truth, not distracts from it
Songs that have a musical style appropriate for the purpose and occasion
Songs that are singable and memorable
Songs that promote spiritual contemplation, not just emotional release
Songs that avoid obvious associations with worldliness or theological error
Songs that are timeless, transcending any narrow era or culture