The Ministries Of Christian Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

This section has resources for the immediate practice of worship within the gathered community and in the world to which the community ministers. Articles deal with pastoral care, spiritual formation, initiation, and nurture and address the church’s outreach by showing the connection of worship to hospitality, evangelism, and social justice.

Worship And Related Ministries Among The Churches

In this section we find that across the panorama of churches and denominations in North America, one encounters great variation in the degree to which the worship life of the local congregation is integrated with other ministries such as evangelism, Christian education, social outreach and witness, spiritual formation of members, pastoral care, women's issues, and children's ministries. Some Christian groups have historically sought to develop the relationship of worship to a wide spectrum of other church concerns; for other groups, this is a fairly recent effort. In some traditions, the worship service itself has been driven primarily by other emphases such as evangelism or education. In others, the worship tradition itself has been dominant in the shaping of local church life, so that all other ministries serve the liturgy. This chapter presents a discussion of worship and related ministries from the standpoint of most of the major Christian traditions and denominations found in North America.

Worship And Ministries Within The Worshiping Community

Part of the blessing and joy of participating in a worshiping community is found in the various ministries that community extends to each of its members. When the church gathers for worship, Christ's love is extended; pastoral care is demonstrated; the truth of God's Word is taught; and personal spirituality is directed. While each of these ministries finds its appropriate expression outside of public worship-in church education sessions and pastoral care ministries, for example-corporate worship is the foundation of these ministries as well as being an important occasion for pastoral care, spiritual direction, and church education in itself. These sections explain the vital relationship between worship and each of these ministries. It is not intended to provide a complete guide to these vital ministries, but it will explore how they relate to worship.

The Influence Of The Synagogue On Early Christian Worship

The New Testament records that Jesus and his disciples, as well as early Christian preachers such as Paul and Barnabas, attended the synagogue assemblies. The true influence of the synagogue on early Christian worship, however, is difficult to assess. Contacts between Christians and Jews continued up to the fourth century; thus, in the postNew Testament period Jewish influence can be seen in the development of Christian prayer and the Christian calendar.