The following is the seventh installment of my bulletin insert series. It reflects the teaching series I have been leading at our local church and the changes taking place in the structure of our worship services:
Four-fold Pattern of Worship - Today, you will notice a bit of restructuring in our service of worship. As we go along there will continue to be some adjustments and developments.
However, those who have been in the Worship Study will recognize the structure as the basic, historic four-fold pattern of worship. We Enter to Worship, Hear & Respond to God’s Word, and having heard and responded to God’s Word, we Give Thanks to the Lord (especially around the Table), and, finally, we Depart to Serve.
This pattern helps to meet John Wesley’s criteria for authentic Christian worship: 1.) It is derived from Scripture. 2.) It is reasonable; mirroring our relationship with God. 3.) It is in continuity with the practices of the Early Church and connects us with Christians throughout the ages, and 4.) it helps us to better experience God’s presence and identity.
It has been said that “One can study the history of worship from the early church to the present and discover, without exception, that Sunday worship has always been characterized by these four acts.”
In addition, page #2 of The United Methodist Hymnal shows that this is the very pattern of worship recommended for United Methodists. In fact, every UM elder has vowed to uphold the liturgy of the church which is expressed in this basic pattern.
Information gathered from the works of Robert Webber and my own works (my doctoral studies and dissertation, as well as my recent article in The Wesleyan Theological Journal.