One of the things that visitors quickly notice about Iron Works, before anything else, is that our worship is liturgical. Our worship is participatory, where there is a back-and-forth conversation between the liturgist and the people of God. So if you look at our worship guide, you’ll quickly see that the majority of our worship service is scripted out. This is surprising to people, but for different reasons.
On one hand many think that a scripted liturgy, while engaging the mind, never engages the heart. In other words, some presume that liturgical worship encourages hypocrisy because one’s heart is never engaged. One of our people, voiced this suspicion by saying ‘is this church going to allow me to be complacent in my faith?’ One of our members, who once wondered this, now says that our liturgy is one of her favorite things about Iron Works as there is a rich reverence of God.
Another reason, which is related, is that for an entire generation of literature pertaining to church ministry has encouraged churches to leave tradition in exchange for newer, fresher aspects in worship. One woman shared that she was surprised to see so many young people worshiping but using scripted prayers that you’d find from a prayer book.
I suspect that you’ve wondered or felt this at one point or another.
Central to the historic Christian faith and practice is the belief that the act of worshipping together nourishes our faith and changes us. In other words, worship is formative. In individual terms, worship makes you into a new person. But one biblical truth is that worship is never truly an individual experience. So God uses worship to make us into a new people. Renowned theologian and biblical scholar NT Wright put it this way:
“You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.”
― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
We become like the One whom we worship. Another way to say this is, you are what you love. As we worship God, we take on his character. This is highly relevant to you, whether you are a doubter, seeker, or religious person. Over the course of the next two months we are going to consider how we’re being made into a new people who truly follow the way of Jesus for the good of West Chester. As we consider this living liturgy, we will also learn what the way of Jesus actually looks like. As we consider the grace of God, we’ll see what it looks like to embody such grace. So in the next few weeks, we will worship the God of grace, wonder, holiness, generosity, peace, hospitality and more.
Here’s the full schedule to Living Liturgy, a new people
A Graced People, January 6
A People of Wonder, January 13
An Authentic People, January 20
A Generous People, January 27
A Praying People, February 3 (guest preacher: Darin Pesnell)
People of Peace, February 10
A Storied People, February 17
People of Hospitality, February 24
People on Mission, March 3