Sunday services will be online only until January 10.

Re-establishing our Rhythms of Worship

By Steve Gregg

I hope our time in 1 Peter has been an encouragement to you. It has to me. One of the themes we see in the letter is a reminder of the importance of our corporate witness and obedience. Two weeks ago in The Current, our weekly Friday email, I included a few ideas about how to reach out to folks and reconnect personally as a church family. In light of 1 Peter, it seems it would be good to follow up and share some ideas on reconnecting corporately as a church family. While the worship of God’s people can look different in different times and places, it seems there are three key elements that can help us re-establish good corporate health as a church family.  

 Corporate Worship
I still remember reading Eugene Peterson years ago and being struck by his statement that while our faith is personal, it is never private. We are reconciled to God and we are joined to a body of believers. A central mark of God’s people has always been gathering for a time of corporate worship. Christians have always gathered as a spiritual family to hear God’s Word and then respond in song, prayer, and obedience. Coming together to do these things builds up our faith as well as our witness. Corporate worship does this on a number of levels, but a simple yet profound way it does this is through encouragement. I know there have been times when I have come to Sunday morning discouraged or challenged and after being with you all and having worshipped together, I leave encouraged.  Given everything we have been through the past year, we all need the encouragement that comes from being together to worship as a church family on a regular basis. I would add, not only do we need this, others need our presence there to encourage them as well.

Regular Service
Another key aspect of our corporate life is our service to the church family.  One of Creekside’s reputations that I encounter as I meet people in Gainesville is that we are a church family that is known for serving people in our community. I am so grateful for that testimony and your faithful presence to our neighbors.  It’s also important that we continue to serve each other in our church as well. Serving here at Creekside, alongside other Creeksiders will help us with reconnecting on a personal level after the disruptions from COVID. While we want to continue to serve our neighbors at large, it's important to be attentive to the needs of our church family and to meet those needs together. With our worship services and programs reopening, the need for volunteers is greater than ever.  Your help can make a critical difference. If you are unsure where to serve, a great place to start is our children’s ministry. You can reach her at nina@creekside.com

 Sacrificial Giving
This last component of corporate worship isn’t so much done with each other as it is done for each other. God has always called on His people to share from the resources He has given them to meet the needs of others, especially their brothers and sisters in the faith.  It is telling that God tied this financial giving to the act of worship. In fact, sacrificial giving by God’s people has always served as a key aspect of our worship and spiritual formation. From Moses to the Apostles (Numbers 28-29, Acts 2,6), we see that bringing tithes and offerings to meet needs in God’s people has been a key part of worship and a source of blessing and praise. Unfortunately, like everything else in our corporate life, giving financially to the church has been disrupted for some during this past season. It’s important to remember that supporting the church financially is more than just a way to help pay the bills, as important as that is. Scripture makes it clear that there is something spiritually formative at work in us when we give regularly and sacrificially. Jesus said where our treasures are there our hearts will be also. (Matt 6:21) Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. When we do not practice sacrificial giving as a regular part of our worship, it can result in our affections growing colder. If consistently giving to Creekside is something that was disrupted by the pandemic, or if you have never been into the routine, there is no better time than right now to start.  And it’s important to say that while a heart for missions and local ministry should be a part of our financial stewardship, giving to specific missions and ministries shouldn’t come at the expense of supporting the church family that you call home.

 As we continue to emerge from the disruptions of COVID as a community and as a country, now is the time to return to the basics of our faith and reestablish foundational practices.  The power in doing so lies not in any one day or event, but in the cumulative effect of faithfully practicing worship, serving, and giving to shape our hearts and affections for the Lord and to bless our brothers and sisters.  We do these things not to earn Jesus’ favor but because we have received more favor than we can ever imagine. My prayer for us as a church is that far from COVID weakening these practices, we will come out of this time even more deeply committed to Christ and to one another. Be encouraged Creekside, nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8) and He is at work building His church.