Timeless Principles, Timely Methods

1 Corinthians 14:40 – But all things should be done decently and in order.

There are several instances throughout Scripture where God gives us principles to live by but not necessarily the methods in which to live them out. Principles are timeless, methods are timely.

The Bible tells us to meet but where?  In a church building, a strip mall, outdoors under a tree, by the water – God can meet us in all of those places! Thankfully, God is not contained by a building.

It also tells us to sing to the Lord but how? Should we use instruments? Or hymnals?

The following is a list of some of the principles the Bible gives us for worshipping with a bit of explanation for each and some thoughts on how we do them at Trinity Church.

  1. Greeting (1 Peter 5:14) – At Trinity, we do this between the opening half of worship and the sermon as I see church like a family reunion where we all come back together as the family of God each week and should have a few minutes to meet others around us who love the same God and are part of the same family.
  2. Reading Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13) – I’m a big fan of this one. I like to think I’m like an auctioneer of Bible verses – I read a lot of them and read them fast. I love going through entire books of the Bible and have gone through almost half of them in 25+ years as a senior pastor.
  3. Preaching (2 Timothy 4:2) – This is another one of my favorites, of course. This verse in 2 Timothy talks about preaching the word. This doesn’t include opinions, trends, or culture, but I’ve been amazed as we’ve gone through books of the Bible how God aligns what is happening in culture to what we’re studying in a particular book that week.
  4. Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Table (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) – Again, this is a principal, but not a method. Generally, baptisms are done in front of large crowds in public so everyone can celebrate together with that person, but sometimes they’re done inside, sometimes they’re done outside. As for communion, we have gluten-free and gluten-full bread as well as juice and wine, depending on conscience. I would encourage you to forgive others you need to forgive before taking communion as you’ll feel so much less burdened. Bonus points if the person you need to forgive is at your church and you can forgive them then take communion together.
  5. Prayer (1 Timothy 2:1) – After the sermon, we make volunteers available in the back of the room to pray over people who would like it. We also pray several times throughout the service itself from the stage.
  6. Financial Giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) – I like to say that someone’s wallet is oftentimes the last thing to get saved. Looking at the Bible, zero percent of people came to worship empty-handed. Giving to God should be sacrificial; it shouldn’t just be comfortable. But we have it so easy – aren’t you glad there’s something called recurring giving and we don’t have to carry our sheep to church as a sacrifice anymore?
  7. Singing and Music (Colossians 3:16) – This involves the whole person giving glory to God the creator.

No pastor on this planet will die and give an account to other pastors or church attenders for how they conduct their services. I would encourage pastors across the planet to pray to God and to “do church” in the way you feel God has convicted you to do. And I would encourage people not to discourage or criticize other Bible-believing churches for having different methods than they would prefer.

Read each of the verses that accompany the seven points in this devo. Pray for God to not allow your preferences about church to become prejudices against other churches.

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