Pillar 4. Praise and Adore God
a. FMC is committed to taking our next steps towards Christ together through expressive praise and adoration
b. FMC is a church full of joy: praise opportunities must promote joy-filled expressions radiating from a grateful heart
c. FMC is devoted to the praise and adoration of God with words, music, song, & actions as a central part of our worship
d. FMC holds singing practice sessions to help people learn how to praise through song
e. FMC selects songs of praise that people know & can sing;
f. FMC selects songs tied to central messages from Scripture/sermons & fit within a Scripturally based framework
g. FMC has strong singers dispersed throughout the congregation; strong singers join rehearsals so they are prepared
h. FMC uses lighting wisely to promote context, mood, and focus; images complement lyrics, message, and tone
i. FMC is focused on encouraging genuine praise by eliminating performances and individual distractions
j. FMC ensures a high volume of air exchange: fresh, clean, fragrant – helps us associate with the joy we are expressing
k. FMC promotes praise opportunities through formal and casual expressions using indoor & outdoor venues
l. FMC incorporates a wide range of music expressions in its corporate worship
The triune nature of God is the first great mystery of the Christian faith. With Christians everywhere, we worship the only true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who is both one essence and three persons. God is infinite, eternal, immutable, impassible, and ineffable. He cannot be divided against Himself, nor is He becoming more than He has been, since there is no potential or becoming in Him. He is the source of all goodness, all truth and all beauty, of all love and all life, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The three persons are consubstantial with one another, being both coeternal, and coequal, such that there are not three gods, nor are there three parts of God, but rather three persons within the one Godhead. The Son is eternally begotten from the Father, and the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son. All three persons are worthy of worship and praise.
Living in obedience to the Word of God Progress in holiness is an expected response of gratitude to the grace of God, which is initiated, sustained, and fulfilled by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. The first response of gratitude is prayer, and the daily discipline of prayer – both individually and together – should mark the Christian life. The life of prayer includes praise to God for His nature and works, sincere confession of our sin, and intercession for the needs of those we know and for the needs of the world.
God further created human beings with the capacity for relationship with Him, with His law written on our hearts so that we had the ability to worship Him in love and obey Him by living holy lives. Since the fall, our natural tendency is to hate God and our neighbor, to worship idols of our own devising rather than the one true God.
As we practice the discipline of regular self-examination and confession, we are especially guided by the Ten Commandments. We therefore hold one another accountable to:
1. Worship God alone, living all of life to His glory, renouncing all idolatry and all inordinate loves that might lead us to trust in any other help
2. Worship God in humility, being reticent in either describing or picturing God, recognizing that right worship is best supported not by our own innovative practices but through the living preaching of the Word and the faithful administration of the Sacraments
3. Eliminate from both speech and thought any blasphemy, irreverence, or impurity
4. Observe the Sabbath as a day of worship and rest, being faithful in gathering with the people of God
5. Give honor toward those set in authority over us and practice mutual submission within the community of the church
6. Eradicate a spirit of anger, resentment, callousness, violence, or bitterness, and instead cultivate a spirit of gentleness, kindness, peace, and love; recognize and honor the image of God in every human being from conception to natural death
7. Maintain chastity in thought and deed, being faithful within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman as established by God at the creation or embracing a celibate life as established by Jesus in the new covenant
8. Practice right stewardship of the goods we have been given, showing charity to those in need and offering generous support of the Church and its ministries
9. Pursue truth, even when such pursuit is costly, and defend truth when it is challenged, recognizing that truth is in order to goodness and that its preservation matters
10. Resist the pull of envy, greed, and acquisition, and instead cultivate a spirit of contentment with the gifts God has given us
Each covenant partner shall strive to be faithful to Christ by participating in the congregation’s worship, fellowship, and service on an ongoing basis. Faithfulness in Christ as a covenant partner, involves a commitment to growth into spiritual maturity as a disciple of Christ and dedication of time and talents to the congregation’s mission and ministry, in accordance to the gifts that God has bestowed upon him or her.
Q. 104. What are the duties required in the First Commandment?
A. The duties required in the First Commandment are: the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly; by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and walking humbly with him.
Venues to Implement this Pillar
1. Congregational worship sessions
2. Special FMC events
3. Outdoor services
Platforms & Exercises to Develop this Pillar
Thursday Night Rehearsals
Playing as part of other bands
Watch how music is used to worship in other select churches: Parkside, Cleveland OH; Grace OC Washingtonville NY; Grace Ridge, Honesdale PA; FPC, Northway, Pathway - Beaver/Chippewa
Review stage presentation for thought-leader bands such as Elevation, Bethel, Hillsong, etc via Youtube
Study how churches do online music
Spotify Playlists released a week in advance for the Congregation