WORSHIP


We meet weekly for worship on Sunday mornings at 10 AM at our Short North/Victorian Village location, and at 10 AM at our Grandview Heights location.

When people ask about our "worship style", we don't really know how to answer. Let's see if we can try to describe it a bit...

Music

We sing lots of hymns that were written hundreds of years ago, but not because there's anything especially holy about an old song. Rather, the benefit of time has allowed the best and most beautiful songs to rise to the surface over a period of several hundred years. The average ones have simply fallen out of use. When we sing these hymns, we usually don't sing the traditional tunes. There's been a movement recently to put the lyrics of the older hymns to music that's more reflective of our culture's aesthetic sensibilities. That makes sense to us. So lots of the songs we sing are old words with new music. In addition, we also sing new songs. Lots of times, the newer songs are based directly on the words of scripture.

Sometimes, people have very strong opinions about music in worship. You've got the "hymns-and pipe-organ-only" crowd. You've got the "laser-light-rock-show" crowd. Jesus said that God is seeking people to worship him in spirit and in truth. Since he didn't mention anything about musical genre, we're going to assume he's pleased when people from all kinds of different cultures and sub-cultures sing his praises in their own musical language.

For Grace Central, this means that a lot of our music has been performed with vocalists, pianos, drums, bass, and guitars. Sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric. We even had a year or two when the oboe made frequent, regular appearances. A church split was narrowly avoided.

Liturgy

Our worship is liturgical. This means it follows a form. There are moments in the service when we pray written prayers together as a community. There are also times in the service reserved for silent reflection and prayer. There are moments when we listen to God's word being read or taught and others when we're given time to greet one another. We use ancient prayers and confessions as well as newer ones. You'll notice most of what we say and do is based directly on passages from the Bible. That's pretty important to us as well.

To really get a sense of what worship is like at Grace Central, you'll probably want to visit, but if you'd like to understand a bit more about why we do what we do, you can read the following paragraphs.

 


 

Worship is Dialogue.

Worship is dialogue with God. It is when God’s people come together to enter into conversation with their God. In worship, God speaks to us through his Word and by his Spirit, and God’s people respond in prayer, praise, confession, and thanksgiving.

Understanding that worship is dialogue with God reminds us that we are made in His image and created for the purpose of knowing Him and standing in relationship to Him. It reminds us what it is suppose to feel like to be a human being. While the rest of life has a tendency to dehumanize us, we find that entering the dialogue of worship with God re-humanizes us and reminds us who it is that he has created us to be, and who it is he has declared us to be in Christ.

He calls us into his presence. We respond with words of praise. He calls us to be renewed by his grace. We confess our sins to him. He pronounces forgiveness to us through his Word. We respond in joy. He speaks his Word. We tell Him we believe. He gives us the bread and wine of Christ. We sing to him in gratitude. With a promise he sends us out into the world, reminded and renewed by grace. This is the dialogue of our worship. 

Worship is Drama.

When God’s people gather together to worship him, we participate with God in reenacting the dramatic events of the history of redemption. We enter the story and retell it through the dramatic expressions of the worship service. The general outline has been described in this way:

Act 1: Creation
Act 2: Fall
Act 3: Redemption
Act 4: Restoration

This is the story we enact in worship. In this understanding of worship, the congregation is not an audience for whom a few "perform," nor is the congregation the performer, with God as the audience. Rather, God and his people engage in a drama together, each with their own roles to play. As such, the Gospel story is not only the message of our worship, but it is the medium of our worship as well. As we're often reminded in our culture, The Medium IS the Message!

This dramatic reenactment of God’s surprising plan to save his people has the effect of meeting our deepest needs, eliciting and strengthening faith and shaping us into the people we were meant to be.