You will commonly see these elements in our worship services:
The invocation is a prayer that asks for God’s presence, blessing and participation.
The Call to Worship brings us together as a worshiping community. It can be a few sentences, a scripture verse, or a song. As busy people, we need something that helps us to focus us on why we have gathered, to worship God.
This is a prayer of thanksgiving to God for our resources with a request that God help us be faithful stewards. The offertory prayer follows the collection of the offering in which people of the church bring an “offering” of thanksgiving to God out of the financial blessings received. A “tithe” (which means “tenth”) is the practice of giving 10% of ones income and is taken from the Hebrew (Old Testament) commandments. Giving the tithe was an expression of gratitude to God by his people and an acknowledgment of God’s ownership of everything in the earth. In our tradition, church members are encouraged to tithe to the church however there is no prescribed amount required to be a member. Giving is a voluntary act.
This is a prayer that is offered on behalf of the worshipers asking for God’s blessing and action in their lives and others. Prayers include requests for healing, comfort, guidance, strength, courage, forgiveness, salvation, justice, and peace.
The reading of scripture from the Bible as an act of worship goes back to Jewish tradition when the scrolls would be brought out and portions of the law, prophets, and the other writings would be read to the people. At times we will have both Old Testament and New Testament lessons. The pastor will use the readings as the text for his sermon. The Bible is central to Baptist worship and faith.
In Baptist tradition, there are two ordinances (symbolic observance) observed: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. In Baptism, one who has decided to follow Christ is acting in obedience to his command to be baptized. In Baptist tradition, we baptize by immersion believing that it was the way that Jesus was baptized. Baptism is symbolic of Christ’s own death, burial, and resurrection as well as the believer’s putting away the “old self” and being raised to new life in Christ. It is the believer’s public witness of becoming a follower of Jesus Christ.
At Smoke Rise we observe the Lord’s Supper approximately six times a year. This ordinance commemorates the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion. The bread represents his broken body and the wine (grape juice) represents his blood. In this observance we remember Jesus sacrifice and reflect on his grace, love, and forgiveness, for which we are grateful. In our tradition, the deacons of the church serve the elements to the congregation and the congregation serves each other which is also a way of following the example of Christ’s servant leadership. On occasion, we will serve from stations at the front of the church by having the people come forward to receive the elements.
The sermon is the proclamation of the Gospel (“good news”) that instructs, comforts, encourages, guides, and motivates us to respond to God’s call upon our lives.
In Baptist tradition, the invitation is a time when persons may decide to make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ or join the church. A hymn is sung by the congregation and those wanting to make these decisions are invited to come forward to speak with the pastor. Those that wish to join the church in a less formal setting may talk to the pastor in his office.