Worship Jesus, Not Technology with Jeff Gayle and David Norris

Embracing Liturgy to Stay Gospel-Centered in Worship

Hello, I’m David Norris, a worship pastor and priest at Wellspring. Today, I want to share how our church uses liturgy to remain centered on the gospel, keeping our worship focused on Christ and not letting technology overshadow our spiritual purpose.

The Role of Liturgy in Worship

At Wellspring, liturgy is the heartbeat of our worship services. It structures our gatherings to ensure that every element, from songs to scripture readings, aligns with the gospel’s message. This structured form of worship not only guides our service but also deeply involves the congregation, creating a collective worship experience that goes beyond passive attendance.

Technology in Service to the Gospel

My colleague, Jeff Gayle, Operations Director at Wellspring, and I often discuss the role of technology in our services. While we recognize the importance and utility of modern tech in enhancing worship experiences, we’re careful to ensure it never takes center stage. Instead, technology serves to augment the liturgy, helping to convey the gospel more clearly and effectively without becoming a focal point or an idol.

Implementing Liturgy Thoughtfully

Liturgy, when thoughtfully implemented, can profoundly impact worship. It starts from the very beginning of our services: we don’t open with casual greetings but with a declaration of blessing that sets a reverent tone. This approach continues throughout the service as we engage with scripture, prayer, and communion, constantly redirecting focus to God’s Word and sacrament.

The Structure of Our Liturgical Worship

Our worship structure is designed to facilitate a journey through gathering, hearing the Word, partaking of the table, and being sent out with a mission. This flow ensures that every part of the service—from the opening prayer to the communion—reinforces the message of the gospel, making it a lived experience for everyone present.

1. Gathering: We begin with a call to worship and a focus on vertical praise, emphasizing God’s glory.
2. Hearing the Word: Multiple scripture readings and a sermon engage us with the Bible’s teachings, followed by a communal confession and assurance of forgiveness.
3. The Table: Communion serves as a tangible expression of the gospel, where we literally ‘taste and see’ the grace of Christ.
4. Mission: We conclude by being sent out to live and preach the gospel, empowered by the service we’ve participated in.

The Challenge of Technology and Liturgy

Balancing technology and liturgy requires constant vigilance. Technology should enhance the clarity and accessibility of the gospel message rather than detract from it. In our church, for instance, even advanced technology like LED walls and high-quality sound systems are chosen for their ability to help everyone in the congregation participate fully in the liturgy, from the front row to the back.

Conclusion: A Call to Gospel-Centered Worship

For fellow worship leaders and church staff, I encourage you to reflect on how every element of your service aligns with the gospel. Whether you adopt a liturgical format or not, the key is to ensure that Christ remains at the center of all you do. If you’re drawn to exploring liturgical worship, consider starting with small, incorporative steps, like including the Lord’s Prayer or a responsive Psalm reading in your services.

For those looking deeper into liturgical practices, books like “Transforming Worship” by Rory Noland, and “Rhythms of Grace” by Mike Cosper offer excellent insights into structuring worship that deeply engages the congregation and honors the gospel.

In all, whether through liturgy or other forms of worship structure, let us aim to ensure that our practices not only honor God but also clearly convey the transformative power of the gospel to all who attend.

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