Why Corporate Worship?
One of the things we are passionate about at GBSC is serving — students, guests, local churches and especially our alumni scattered around the world spreading the gospel. So when one of our alumni reached out asking for help with congregational worship, we jumped at the chance to assist him and anyone else who would need something similar to what he asked for.
What he wanted were Sunday morning worship sequences with books, page numbers, and chord sheets for any songs not in the books — a worship plan. This is our attempt to meet his request. We are sharing these with you, our constituents, with several things in mind:
These plans are organized around themes
Examples: God’s grace, the sufficiency of Christ, Pentecost Sunday, etc
It is our hope that organizing the hymns/songs thematically will help the congregation worship (and also that congregational worship could tie together with the sermon and the rest of the service rather than be seen as a standalone part of the service).
Every church culture is different
The phrase “our music” means different things to different churches and groups of people.
You will see a variety of hymns and songs represented in these sequences. For some, these sequences will have newer hymns/choruses that your congregation may not know. For others, there will be more traditional hymns that are unfamiliar. That’s okay.
Please view these templates more as a guide rather than a proposed “right way to worship on Sunday morning.” We certainly do not feel that way! In fact, we learn so much about congregational worship because of the rich diversity of our campus family. If you don’t use a call to worship or read scripture during the service, exclude it.
If you want to remove a song and add a different one that fits your congregation and culture better, please do it! We are not imposing culture on anyone, rather trying to pass along sequences and resources we have, as well as providing an opportunity to connect congregational worship to the rest of the service.
We choose congregational music carefully
Not only do the lyrics have to pass through the grid of scripture and be a good reflection of Christian experience, but the melodies have to be singable and easily learned by all the people in the congregation. We believe, like Luther, that worship is the privilege and job of the people.
Corporate worship is participatory, not passive. So we pick music with solid lyrics, in good keys (not too high or too low), that all the people can sing. Additionally, our rich Methodist heritage of hymnody colors the music we choose. We probably sing more hymns on campus, specifically Methodist ones, and that will be reflected in the sequences.
Planning is not a substitute for the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence among His people
I’m often asked, “What do you do if you feel like the plan needs to be changed on the fly? Change a song, sing a chorus or verse again? Pray?” I tell them, “We follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and do it!” The goal of the worship plan is not to work the plan, but to engage the congregation in authentic worship of the one true God!
Congregational worship is important, it’s vital to the health of the local church
In fact, every Sunday morning should be a foreshadowing of heaven — a small taste of the time when people from every tribe and tongue will gathered around the throne worshipping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And that won’t be boring, lifeless or quiet! This is preparation for eternity!
We hope these sequences are a blessing to your local church, and that men and women will be moved to bow down and worship the one true God as He inhabits the praises of His people.
For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.
David Hartkopf (BA Music Education, MM Trumpet Performance) has been employed at God’s Bible School and College since the fall of 2009 as the band director and professor of trumpet. In 2018 David also accepted the role of Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
David also serves as a worship leader on campus and in local churches and currently serves as pastor of a local church in Cincinnati. However, David’s greatest joy and passion above music and teachable students is following Christ and being a husband and a dad.