every church has a liturgy - Printable Version

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every church has a liturgy - HelenaZF - 08-09-2007

Every church may not be liturgical, but every church has a liturgy. You may find this statement surprising if your experience is mainly with non-denominational or charismatic fellowships.

Although traditionally associated with sacramental churches, liturgy simply means "work of the people" or public service. It is the format by which we order our worship services. Many independent churches pride themselves on not having an order of service, but say that they move by the leading of the Holy Spirit. But if you observe a series of their meetings, you will usually find some kind of pattern, even if it is a fluid one.

There is usually some call to worship, some time of singing and celebration, a time for a message, and ministry time. There might be a set of announcements that always come at a certain place. People just operate better under some kind of outline, so despite the most earnest efforts of leaders to be completely free, eventually a pattern will develop.

Liturgy does not have to be restrictive. In fact, it can be freeing. Say the Holy Spirit breaks into the meeting with a prophetic word and there is a response of ministry time right then. If there is liturgy in place, we know exactly where to go next. Of course, the Holy Spirit can redirect us at any moment during the liturgy. But liturgy itself provides the basic framework for the edification of the church. If something prophetic does not occur that encourages confession, for instance, the liturgy offers a time for that. The Lord can use those liturgical moments to dynamically impact a person just as powerfully as if the service stopped and a prophetic word was spoken to that believer. In a way, you could say that liturgy covers all the bases. If there is a charismatic element, then we ride along on the liturgy but are always open to the moving of the Holy Spirit for a "holy interruption" which we embrace with joy and reverent awe--participate until a place of fullness is reached---and then return to the liturgy. Liturgy should serve the Holy Spirit, not restrict Him.