Position Paper on Music
At Calvary we believe that music is a vital part of the life of the church. The songs we sing teach and admonish the body, help us commit to memory the truth of God’s Word and are a means by which we worship God.
We believe and teach that the Gospel, the good news of our redemption through Jesus, is the central theme of the Christian life. We believe the gospel is that in which we stand (justification), and in which we continue to grow (sanctification). 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 1:18; Romans 1:16; Hebrews 2:1
Gospel centrality in the local gathering demand that the music, and the structure of the corporate gathering should serve to call to remembrance the redemption found in Christ Jesus. We are to be reminded over and again who God is, who we are, and what Jesus has done for us. Each week our liturgy seeks to follow this pattern and seeks to remind our people of the progress of the gospel in their hearts.
At Calvary our services are structured in the following way:
Call To Worship
The call to worship serves to remind people that it is God who calls us to worship. God initiates and we respond. The call to worship invites God’s people to remember why it is they gather together. At Calvary, we call people to worship with a passage of scripture like Psalm 100 and then sing a song that calls us to worship God alone. We often sing songs like 10,000 Reasons, Praise to the Lord the Almighty, O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing, and The Lord is King.
God’s people are to adore and worship God alone. Each week we seek to remind the church of the character of our God. We do this by singing songs like Holy, Holy, Holy, Behold our God, Only a Holy God, and Our Great God.
When we see the purity of God, we see ourselves for who really are. The holiness of God exposes our sinfulness. In our liturgy we want to allow space for people to deal with the sin in their own lives. Confession of sin is agreeing with God that we have sinned. We confess our sin corporately by reading passages of scripture like Psalm 51, Psalm 25, Psalm 32 or Romans 3. Sometimes we pray a prayer of confession responsively, other times we give space for silent prayer so that people can deal with the sin in their own hearts. We often sing songs like Have Mercy on Me, Nothing That I Can Do, Come Ye Sinners, and Come Ye Souls By Sin Afflicted.
Assurance of Pardon
The good news of the gospel tells us that even though we are sinners and God is holy, God has made a way for the relationship between man and God to be reconciled. That way is through Jesus Christ alone. Each week we want to remind the church of the pardon that they have received through Jesus Christ. We sing songs like Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery, All I Have is Christ, See the Destined Day Arise, and Jesus is Better.
The gospel does not leave us in the same place. The gospel always demands a response. The gospel also changes how I look at the world and the situations around me. We sing songs and read scripture that seek to help direct us back to the rock solid truth of the gospel, no matter our circumstances. Some of the songs we may sing to help us respond include, Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul, Christ is Mine Forevermore, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, and It Is Well.
Each week we partake of the Lord’s Supper together. Jesus gave us this symbolic meal to serve as a means to reminder his death, burial and resurrection. As a means of prompting participatory worship, we invite the believers to make their way to the front of the church to receive the elements and to then to return to their seats that we might partake together.
At the close of the service we want to send people out with the truth of God’s Word. That’s what a benediction serves to do, it is a final sending of God’s people with the truth of God’s Word, exhorting and admonishing them to take the truth they have learned and apply it to their lives.
If you want to learn more about the philosophy that undergirds what we do in our corporate worship, then listen to the sessions from our Gospel Centered Worship Workshop.