Introductory Statement on Worship:
As Reformed Christians, our worship is rooted in Scripture. In worship, the triune God calls his body to gather and delight in his Word, learning and remembering the nature and character of God and of the Christian life. In worship, we prioritize preaching, singing, praying, and giving.
Expanded Worship Principles:
In seeking to glorify God in and through worship:
1. Our worship will be God-centered. It will be to Him and for Him. (1 Chronicles 16:23-31; Revelation 19:10, 22:9)
2. Our worship will be a dialogue between God and his people, a rhythm of revelation (Word and Sacrament) and response (confession, profession, singing, prayer, giving). (Psalm 29, 96:4, 119:169-172)
3. The role of the Word and biblically faithful, gospel preaching will be prominent, using both Old and New Testaments, as well as Reformed creeds, to guide us into the truths of God’s Word. (Psalm 1; 119:1-2, 33-37; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Colossians 1:28)
4. We will reverently and joyfully observe the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord Supper to reflect on God‘s promises, to strengthen our faith, and to draw us closer to Jesus and fellow believers. (Luke 22:19; Hebrews 12:28-29)
5. Our worship will be both congregational and personal, not individual or private. It will be participatory, where all share the responsibility and the joy in offering worship, young to old, new convert or mature, visitor or church member. To support this, worship should be well planned, orderly, intuitive, help focus attention on God, and use scripture and other means such as music, liturgy, sacraments, creeds, and other expressions in ways that are easy to learn and use. (Romans 15:5-6; Psalm 79:13, 95:6-7, 148:12-13; 1 Corinthians 14:26-33; Titus 2:2-8)
6. Our worship will be heart and mind worship, in Spirit and in truth, designed to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but also deeply concerned for the state of our hearts before God. Any form or tradition should contribute to our desire to worship God with all our heart, soul, and mind. (Isaiah 29:13; Hosea 6:6, Psalm 89:9-12; John 4:21-24; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 4:1)
7. The People of God sing and make music. (Psalm 100, Colossians 3:16).
The principle direction of our singing and all music is “to the Lord” (Exodus 15; Psalm 96:1-2) and should lead our thoughts toward God rather than ourselves. (Nehemiah 9:5-6; Psalm 108:1-5)
Both tune and text should glorify God, and the tune should serve the text. Worship music, with or without words, can foster sincerity and a prepared heart. But worship music with words should tend less toward what it does to us but rather on what we do with the song, the biblical model of song being used to communicate with God and exhorting one another. (Psalm 34:1-3; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19)
The entire congregation is our primary choir; therefore, songs should encourage corporate worship. Others who may volunteer from time to time have the role of aiding the whole body in worship of God. Such ministries of music are wonderful, but not essential. Congregational singing is essential. (Psalms 145-150; 1 Chronicles 15-16)
Our songs reflect the experience of the Christian life in relationship with God and His people, as evidenced in the songs found in scripture -- songs of praise, thanksgiving, confession, lament, intercession, and dedication. And our singing expresses belief in the communion of the saints and the church catholic -- the young ones, the old ones, the ones around the world and the ones that have gone before. (Isaiah 59:21; Revelation 5:9-10)
For more principles of music of the church, see 1987 edition of the gray Psalter Hymnal, Introduction to the Psalms, Bible Songs and Hymns, pp. 11-15.