Philosophy of Worship
Worship is the unique activity of God's children whereby we ascribe honor and worth to God and offer ourselves in word, thought, and deed as a living sacrifice to God.
Corporate worship is one way of worshiping; it is the gathering of God's people in Jesus' name and in God's presence to hear His Word, remember and celebrate His redemption of and His revelation to His people, and respond in faith by acts of adoration, confession, gratitude, commitment, and intercession.
Reformed - As a Christian Reformed Church, LaGrave stands in the Reformed tradition of worship. This means that our services are filled with a sense of reverence and awe, because God is sovereign and holy. But we also strive for a sense of celebration and warmth, because of God's love and faithfulness in Jesus Christ. Our worship is God-centered. You will notice that our liturgy follows a dialogue pattern: God speaks to us and we respond.
Ecumenical - Although simplicity has always been a mark of Reformed worship, LaGrave also incorporates the best of other Christian traditions in our worship: our processional with cross and Bible, liturgical robes, the observance of the Church year, and the use of a printed unannounced liturgy.
Elements of Our Service
God Calls Us to Worship
The "preliminaries" are in reality an important time of preparation for worship — a time to shut out the distractions of our busy lives and focus our attention on God.
We Respond With Praise
Our first act of worship is hearty praise. The choir's formal entry into the sanctuary is symbolic of God's people gathering to worship. The cross and Bible represent the centrality of Christ's work and God's Word in our lives and worship.
God Reconciles Us to Himself
As we come into the presence of our holy God, it is fitting that we hear His will, confess our sins, and celebrate His forgiveness. We often use this part of the service to celebrate God's love and faithfulness through the sacrament of baptism or through professions of faith
The Choral Anthem is placed a various appropriate places in the service, not as "special music," but as an integral part of our worship. The selections aim at musical excellence, Biblical soundness, and the needs of God's people.
God Speaks to Us in His Word
The Preaching of the Word of God is central to Reformed worship. Given the centrality of the Bible, our worship focuses on preaching, first in a brief but relevant way to the children, then in a deeper and wider way to young people and adults.
We Respond With Dedication and Prayer
During the prayer and hymn immediately following the sermon, we reflect on the message and think about how we will apply the lessons learned from God's Word to our own lives.
God Sends Us into His World
Having met the living God, we are ready to enter His world. He sends us with his blessing. The quiet end of the service gives us a moment to recommit ourselves to His service.
We regularly celebrate these signs and seals of God's grace, because in them God assures us of His grace. Baptism is scheduled as needed. The Lord's Supper is celebrated at least twelve times per year.
"“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” "
Music has always been an important part of worship at LaGrave Church. At LaGrave Church, we acknowledge that music is a God-given gift that uplifts and edifies the worshipper. The music included in our worship is never a “performance,” but rather, is a gift given back to God out of gratitude for his gift to us. When the gift is returned to God, he is honored and glorified as the Lord of our lives. Part of our church’s vision and goals statement reads, “LaGrave will strive to be a worshipping community committed to maintaining a tradition of formal worship which integrates articulate and intelligent preaching of God’s Word with music that glorifies God and inspires worshippers.” It is our goal that “God will be glorified by our worship and worshippers will be inspired to increased devotion to God and strengthened in their desire to serve in his kingdom.”
God has abundantly gifted many members of our congregation with musical ability and we regularly invite new members to share their gifts by joining our music ministry. Our extensive music ministry includes choral and handbell ensembles for all ages from young children to adults. The LaGrave organ, installed in 1996, is a 108-rank Austin-Allen five manual instrument of world class. Although it is the principal instrument used in worship, it is equally spectacular as a concert instrument. In addition to this marvelous instrument, we also regularly use piano, timpani, and several solo instrumentalists in worship services.
Our music ministry staff includes Dr. Larry Visser, Minister of Music and Organist, Merle Mustert, Chancel Choir Director, Marcia Pylman, Junior Choir Director, Bill VanEe, Youth Ensemble Director, and Kurt Stroh, Director of Handbell Choirs. To learn more about each of these individual ensembles, please click on the Ministries Menu under Music.
From week to week, music calls us to worship, leads us in praise, and sends us out into the world strengthened and equipped for service. “How often, making music, we have found a new dimension in the world of sound, as worship moved us to a more profound Alleluia!” (Fred Pratt Green, “When in Our Music God Is Glorified”).