Worship at First Baptist is first and foremost about God. We gather each Sunday to praise God, thank God for His many blessings, and ask for God’s help as we seek to be the presence of Christ in a broken and hurting world.
We worship by reading scriptures, preaching from the sacred texts, singing hymns and anthems, praying and offering ourselves and our resources in service to God and others.
Our worship services are intergenerational and inclusive. People of all ages and both genders lead in worship at First Baptist: children, youth and adults, girls, boys, women and men.
Worship at First Baptist has been described as “relaxed reverence.” We like this description and strive each week to make worship thoughtful, meaningful, warm, engaging and uplifting. We hope you will join us this Sunday at 10:50 AM, where you will be welcomed and greeted with a smile.
When you come to worship at First Baptist, you will commonly see these elements in the service:
Call to Worship
The Call to Worship brings us together as a worshipping community. It can be a song, a responsive reading, or a passage of Scripture. As busy people, we need something that helps us to focus us on why we have gathered, to worship God.
The invocation is a prayer near the beginning of the service which leads the congregation into the presence of God and asks for God’s guidance as we prepare to engage in the act of worship.
The reading of Scripture from the Bible as an act of worship goes back to Jewish tradition when scrolls would be brought out and portions of the law, prophets, and the other writings would be read to the people. Most Sundays, we read from the Old and New Testaments. The pastor will use the readings as the text for his sermon.
The Bible is central to Baptist worship and faith as we seek to build upon the faith of others, learn from their experiences and add our stories to those who have gone before us.
Teaching children about worship is vital to passing on our faith to the next generation. Children ages 3 and older are encouraged to participate with adults in weekly worship. All children are invited to come forward during the last verse of the first hymn to hear a brief lesson that ties in with the morning Scripture reading. After children's sermon, children are dismissed to extended care and children's worship and may be picked up on the third floor of the Moffat building following morning worship.
Offering and Offertory Prayer
This is a prayer of thanksgiving to God for our resources with a request that God help us be faithful stewards. The offertory prayer precedes the collection of the offering in which people of the church bring an “offering” to God as a way to express their gratitude for His blessings.
A “tithe” (which means “tenth”) is the practice of giving 10% of one’s income back to God, a practice stemming back to the Old Testament. Giving the tithe was a way of acknowledging God’s generosity and the worshiper’s gratitude.
In our tradition, giving is voluntary, but church members are encouraged to bring their tithe each Sunday to promote God’s work through the church.
In Baptist tradition, there are two ordinances or symbolic observances: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.
Baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It also symbolizes the forgiveness of sin, God’s grace which cleanses us, our desire to live as Jesus did and the assurance of eternal life in heaven. Baptists baptize by immersion after a person has made a profession of faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Lord’s Supper or Communion
At First Baptist Church, we observe the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of the month, approximately twelve times a year. This ordinance commemorates the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion.
The bread represents his broken body and the juice represents his blood. In this observance we remember Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice and reflect on his courage, compassion, faithfulness to God and love for us.
In our tradition, the deacons of the church, women and men, serve the elements to the congregation and the congregation serves one another, which models servant leadership. On occasion, we will serve from the altar at the front of the church by having the people come forward to receive the elements.
The sermon is the proclamation of the Gospel (“good news”) which instructs, comforts, encourages, guides, and motivates us to respond to God’s grace and God’s call upon our lives.
In Baptist tradition, the invitation is a time when persons have the opportunity to make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ or join the church. A hymn is sung by the congregation and those wanting to make these decisions are invited to come forward to speak with the pastor. Those who wish to join the church in a less formal or public setting may talk to the pastor in his office.
What are the Seasons of the Church Year?
The Seasons of the Church Year follow the life of Jesus from his birth to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after his death and resurrection. It is an educational tool which helps us to tell the Christian story.
The Christian calendar includes Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. The time in between these sacred events is called Ordinary Time where attention is given to Jesus’ teachings and miracles.
The Season of Advent
Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a time of expectation and preparation for the birth of Jesus. It begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve.
The Season of Christmas
Christmas is not just a day on the Christian calendar but also a season beginning at sunset on Christmas Eve, December 24, and lasting for 12 days (traditionally known as the Twelve Days of Christmas).
The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” It celebrates the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, revealing Jesus as the long awaited Messiah who would reflect God’s true nature, teach people how to live in peace and save his people from their sins. It is the 12th day of Christmas that we often sing about, and it is celebrated on January 6th of each year.
The Season of Lent
The season of Lent originated in the fourth century of the church and spans 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending during Holy week. It is marked by a time of prayer, self examination and preparation to celebrate Easter. Since Sundays always celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted in the 40 day period but are referred to as the Sundays in Lent.
- Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season, the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday. The name comes from the ancient practice of placing ashes on worshiper’s foreheads as a sign of humility before God. It is a symbol of mourning over our sins and a time to empty ourselves of false pride. Traditionally, the palm branches used on the previous Palm Sunday a year earlier are burned to make the ashes.
- Holy week is the last week of Lent, the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday, and is observed as a time to commemorate and enact the suffering (Passion) and death of Jesus through various observances and services of worship. These are the most commonly observed traditions during Holy Week:
- Palm Sunday – this Sunday observes the day Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey – a symbol of peace and humility. People who were there to celebrate Passover came to meet Jesus on the outskirts of Jerusalem, waving palm branches while shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!” John 12:13
- Maundy Thursday - The term Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, a verb which means “to give,” “to entrust,” or “to order.” It marks the day of Jesus’ last week when he gathered his disciples for a Passover meal. During the meal, he instituted what Christians call “communion” or “the Lord’s Supper.” Later that evening Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested.
- Good Friday - Friday of Holy Week commemorates Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial. There are few explanations as to why this day is called “good,” but it may have been used to denote this day as “holy.”
- A common service that is sometimes held on Good Friday is Tenebrae (Latin for “shadow” or “darkness”). It is characterized by a series of scripture readings while lights and candles are gradually lowered and extinguished to symbolize the growing darkness in the world as a result of Jesus’ death. The service ends in darkness as the last candle is extinguished and the worshippers leave in silence to await the resurrection on Easter morning. Some churches may decide to observe this service on Maundy Thursday.
The Season of Easter
Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion. It is the most important day on the Christian calendar, the foundation upon which our faith is built, symbolizing good over evil, love over hate and life over death.
Easter or Eastertide also refers to the season of the church year, lasting for fifty days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost.
Pentecost was originally an Old Testament festival, beginning on the fiftieth day after the first day of Passover. In the Christian calendar, it falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter and celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ followers gathered in the “upper room” as told in Acts 2.