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Helps for Worship

Patricia Clawson

Many who worship God week after week in church may take for granted the biblical reasons for the many parts of worship in the Sunday service. Others may have no idea what is going on in the worship service. William Shishko's newly published booklet, Helps for Worship, has answers to your questions about worship.

Perhaps you look around at the congregation to find out whether you should bow your head in prayer during the benediction or look up at the pastor. You may wonder if it is best to use the time before the worship service to catch up on news of others, make newcomers feel welcome, or just sit quietly to prepare for worship. The church bulletin says the salutation is first. Does that just mark the beginning of worship? A lot of churches sing only popular songs during worship. Why doesn't this Orthodox Presbyterian congregation? I've never even heard of some of the hymns! Even though I can't sing a note on key, why is the congregation considered the church choir? Why are there so many prayers in a worship service? I've heard that when we participate in the responsive reading, it prepares us for the pastor's prayer confessing our sins. How does that happen? Why can't everyone take the Lord's Supper? What does it mean when the pastor drops water on your head during baptism? Does our giving to the church just mean we're paying for the minister's salary and the mortgage? Why is the sermon so long?

This 39-page booklet, published by the Committee on Christian Education, was originally written as bulletin inserts by Pastor Shishko for his congregation at Franklin Square OPC in Franklin Square, New York. Shishko wrote the booklet because many of his congregation were first-generation Christians with little or no experience with Reformed worship. He also was concerned that those who were "veterans" of Reformed worship might take the service for granted.

"Joyful worship in this life is a blessed foretaste of the worship that God's people will give him for all eternity," writes Pastor Shishko. "It is an ever present danger for all of us to worship with our lips while our hearts are far from God (Matt. 15:8; cf. Isa. 29:13)."

Helps for Worship will aid ministers who lead in worship and those in the pews who follow their direction. The booklet would serve as material for Sunday school, prayer meeting, family devotions, and personal edification.

The booklet is available for $1.50 each or $1 for 25 or more copies. Please note there is a $5 minimum order. Please email Pat Clawson at ccesec@opc.org or call her at 215-830-0900. You will receive an invoice with the booklet. You may use a credit card to purchase the booklet or other OPC materials through this website on the publications page under Christian Education.

Other booklets published by the CCE would benefit those who want to learn more about the Reformed faith or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, such as What Is the Reformed Faith? What Is the OPC? and Welcome to the OPC.

If you wonder about whether church membership is important, please consider buying Why Join a Church? More detailed information on baptism is explained in Why Does the OPC Baptize Infants? These booklets and other materials are available to you on the OPC website or from the OPC office.

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