4 Things to Know
Worship at Riverside is designed to facilitate an encounter with God. We follow a four-fold pattern of worship which is dialogic in nature.
- First we Gather, coming into God’s presence corporately with singing.
- Then we have the Service of the Word, when God speaks to us through the Scriptures and the sermon.
- Then we have a Time of Thanksgiving, when we are given opportunities to respond to the word we have heard from God. Once a month we celebrate with Thanksgiving at the Lord’s Table. On other Sundays we respond in testimony and prayer.
- Finally, we have the Dismissal, when we are sent forth to serve the Lord in our lives and communities.
We Participate Together
Worship is designed to be very interactive. Through readings, testimonies and songs the people participate in re-telling the Story of God’s gracious interaction with humanity. The music does not follow any one style. On any given Sunday there will be a mixture of hymns, gospel songs, praise choruses and other forms. Most important is that there are ways for the congregation to give voice to their praises in whatever musical language they speak.
Authenticity is important to what we do in worship. We do not use professional musicians, but use the singers and instrumentalists God has given our fellowship. In addition to speaking in authentic musical languages, Riverside also uses the worship offerings of artists in our church, including textiles, wood turning and pottery. Riverside is a small, multi-generational church. Children and youth are given opportunities to participate in drama, choir and other ministries of the church. Any gift that God has given to someone in the church needs to be nurtured and used for His glory.
Worship is a way that we celebrate that we live in the Kingdom of God. Simply coming to worship, and identifying ourselves as the community of Christ is an act that proclaims to this world that we are part of the coming Kingdom. Our time spent in listening to God and recounting His story helps us to learn to structure our lives according to the values of that Kingdom which is to come. We celebrate the Christian year, which is a way of keeping time according to events in the life of Christ, another way of reminding us that we belong to a different Kingdom.
One of the words for worship, leitourgia (from which we get liturgy), means “the work of the people”. When we come to worship, we are all there to do this work. Worship is usually led by a praise team. There is also a choir for special occasions. Other people fulfill other roles, greeting, taking up the offering, reading Scripture or poetry and preaching. We pray constantly that God will send other worshipers to add their voices and gifts to our fellowship.