Resources For Sunday Worship

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

Styles Of Worship

A glance at the orders of worship of various churches gives evidence of both commonalities and distinctives. This section provides specific resources for the range of possible service parts included in the Entrance rites, the Service of the Word, the celebration of the Lord's Supper (service of the sacrament), and the acts of Dismissal. These are introduced by a general descriptive and theological approach to the nature of the worshiping assembly itself and to the various styles of worship employed in those assemblies. The two foremost styles of renewing worship in our time are the fourfold pattern of worship and the contemporary praise-and-worship movement. The fourfold pattern of worship represents a return to the order of worship in the early church. The praise-and-worship order is an offshoot of the charismatic movement, the Jesus movement of the 1970s, and the influence of the new praise songs. This section also looks at a convergence worship, which seeks to bring together the traditional and the contemporary in the fourfold pattern of worship.

  1. Assembling The People
  2. A Case For The Plurality Of Worship Styles
  3. Story, Structure, Style
  4. The Traditional Fourfold Pattern Of Worship
  5. The Style Of Contemporary Worship
  6. A Pattern For The Convergence Of Traditional And Contemporary Worship

Resources for the Acts of Entrance

By using the following resources, a congregation may fulfill the very purpose of the Entrance: coming into the presence of God and preparing themselves to hear the Word of the Lord. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that such resources alone do not fulfill the purposes of the Entrance. They are the forms through which the Spirit becomes present. Consequently they are to be offered in the same way a prayer is offered-in a spirit full of joy and enthusiasm at being in the presence of God. The resources of this section are primarily for churches that follow a traditional pattern of worship. Contemporary worship generally fulfills the Acts of Entrance with songs and choruses that often are displayed with overhead or slide projectors. Contemporary worship leaders, however, may wish to study traditional acts of worship as a guide to selecting songs that bring worshipers into God's presence.


  1. What Does An Entrance Do?
  2. The Prelude
  3. The Gathering
  4. Gathering Song(s)
  5. The Entrance Song
  6. Guidelines for the Procession
  7. The Greeting
  8. The Call to Worship
  9. The Invocation (or Gathering Prayer)
  10. The Act of Praise
  11. The Confession of Sin
  12. The Words of Forgiveness (Absolution)
  13. Opening Prayer of the Day (Collect)

Resources For The Service Of The Word

The Service of the Word has always held a central place in worship. In the beginning of Christian worship, the Service of the Word was a dialogue that involved the entire congregation. Today's worship renewal, as outlined in this section, seeks to return the Word to the congregation so that the truth spoken remains in the heart and finds expression in the lifestyle.

  1. What Does the Service of the Word Do?
  2. The Shape Of The Service Of The Word
  3. Guidelines To Enlivening The Service Of The Word
  4. The Use Of The Arts In The Service Of The Word
  5. The Place of Scripture In the Service of the Word
  6. The Public Reading Of The Scripture
  7. Forms for the Reading of Scripture
  8. The Responsorial Psalm
  9. The Gospel Acclamation
  10. Prayer Before The Sermon
  11. Creeds In Worship (traditional)
  12. Creeds In Worship (contemporary)
  13. The Prayers Of The People
  14. Confession Of Sin
  15. The Passing Of The Peace

Resources For The Service Of The Table

In the early church, worship consisted of both Word and Table. The Word proclaimed the saving deed of God in Jesus Christ, and the Table was the response of thanksgiving (Eucharist is the Greek word for thanks). During medieval times, the Roman Catholic church did not maintain the ancient balance of Word and Table, allowing the reading and preaching of the Word to go into decline. The Protestant Reformation restored the Word to its rightful place in worship and sought to maintain the ancient balance of Word and Table. Unfortunately the Reformers' wishes in this regard were left largely unfulfilled, and among Protestants, the Table of the Lord has been celebrated infrequently and without adequate understanding. However, as worship renewal seeks to recover the worship of the early church, both Word and Table are receiving new attention from Catholics and Protestants. Contemporary worship renewal has recognized the need to recover the experience of resurrection joy at the table while not abandoning the focus on Christ's death and passion. This has been accomplished through the use of (1) various contemporary and traditional forms of the ancient Prayer of Thanksgiving, (2) Communion songs, which can bring a mood of celebration or meditation (or both) to the Table, and (3) the Rite of Anointing, which emphasizes the healing virtues of Christ's resurrection power. All three actions, as demonstrated in this section, restore the joy and communicate the presence of Christ's saving grace among the people.

  1. What Does The Service Of The Table Do?
  2. Biblical Terms For The Service Of The Table
  3. The Shape Of Table Worship
  4. The Structure Of Table Worship In The Early Church
  5. Guidelines For A Contemporary Model Of The Lord’s Supper
  6. The Meaning Of Table Worship
  7. The Place Of The Arts At Table Worship
  8. The Presentation Of Bread And Wine (he Took)
  9. The Ascription Of Praise
  10. The Offertory Hymn
  11. The Preparation Of The Table
  12. The Examination Of Conscience
  13. The Prayer Of Thanksgiving (he Blessed)
  14. The Structure Of The Prayer Of Thanksgiving
  15. Guidelines For An Extemporaneous Prayer Of Thanksgiving
  16. The Breaking Of The Bread (he Broke)
  17. The Forms For The Breaking Of The Bread
  18. The Invitation To Receive Communion
  19. The Reception Of Bread And Wine (he Gave)
  20. The Words Of Reception
  21. The Communion Song
  22. The Rite Of Healing
  23. The Closing Communion Doxology

Resources For The Acts Of Dismissal

The Dismissal, discussed in this section, is an integral part of worship because it brings closure to the public act of worship and sends God's people forth into the world, where their private worship is expressed in relationships, in leisure, and in work. For this reason, worship renewalists are paying attention to the content and style of the Dismissal.

  1. What Does A Dismissal Do?
  2. A Model For The Dismissal
  3. The Place Of The Arts In The Dismissal
  4. The Blessing (benediction)
  5. The Dismissal Hymn
  6. The Words Of Dismissal
  7. Variation In The Dismissal