Hope Fellowship takes a very intentional approach to our public worship services. We believe they should be as simple and spiritual as possible. We strive to offer services that are acceptable to God while being meaningful to the worshiper. Worship is more than just an activity in which we corporately engage for an hour or so on a weekly basis. It is to be a part of our individual daily lives as well. However, there is something very special and powerful about meeting together as a corporate body to worship Him. That's why God commands us to do it. That's also why He tells us how to do it.
Corporate Worship Elements
When it comes to the weekly worship gathering, the most important question we must answer is this: What does God desire from us when we meet together? Are we free to do whatever we want or are there guidelines we are to follow? At Hope Fellowship, we believe God has already shown us through His word the components that are to be included when we gather as a corporate body to worship Him. For example, the Scriptures tell us we are to:
Pray (1 Timothy 2:1,8)
Sing (Colossians 3:16)
Give money (1 Corinthians 16:2)
Read Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13)
Receive the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-32)
Hear the preaching of God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
Challenge and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Carry out the baptism of new believers as needed (Matthew 28:19)
Worship should be simple
Simple doesn't mean uninspiring or poor quality, nor does it mean the refusal to employ modern technology in our corporate gatherings. Rather, simple worship refers to the attitude of the worshiper. It's our hearts that God is after - not all the other externals we tend to believe are necessary or important in order to "better" worship Him. For example, a full praise band can be a great addition to our singing, but it isn't necessary. Neither is having auditorium seating or a concert like feel (mood setting lights, cameras and screens). There are many externals we can do without and still offer true worship to God. But a heartless worship, with or without the externals, is no worship at all.
Worship must be acceptable
Acceptable worship is the kind of worship in which the way we think about God and respond to Him is in agreement with who He is. Jesus referred to it as worshiping God in Spirit and Truth. Acceptable worship is more than just sincere worship; it's sincere worship that's based on truth as revealed through the Holy Scriptures. One can be sincere and yet incorrect in their understanding of God's nature and character and can end up offering Him worship that He will not accept. We have to keep in mind that God defines true worship - we don't. The reality is, we can sing with gusto, pray fervently and preach passionately, but unless our understanding of God is correct, He will not accept our worship. The reason Hope Fellowship places such a high emphasis on studying and correctly interpreting the Scriptures is because they alone tell us who God really is, what He commands, and how we are to properly think about and respond to Him. The Reformers had a phrase for this: Sola Scriptura. It's a Latin phrase which means "Scripture Alone". Hope Fellowship is committed to Sola Scriptura.