Worship in GCI congregations

Here is information about GCI’s standard approach to worship found on the GCI Resources website.

The worship of God is central to the church. Through its worship services, GCI seeks to glorify God and edify those who attend by proclaiming the gospel through Scripture reading, preaching and singing; the administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper); praise and intercession in prayer; and the giving of offerings.

Gospel-focused worship pattern

Along with many others in the body of Christ, worship in GCI follows the Christ-centered and gospel-shaped pattern of the Western Christian calendar as detailed in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). This pattern of worship is organized around a weekly celebration of the gospel (see the recommended order of services below) that is typically held on Sunday, the day the risen Lord Jesus was first encountered. As shown in the diagram and list below, the worship pattern then includes several annual celebrations that highlight key aspects of our Lord’s life and ministry along with other key aspects of the gospel.

(source)
  • Advent (four Sundays preceding Christmas)
  • Christmas eve and Christmas day
  • The season of Christmas (Christmas through January 5)
  • Epiphany Sunday
  • Transfiguration Sunday
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Lent (Ash Wednesday through Palm Sunday)
  • Holy Week services:
    • Palm Sunday (celebrated as Passion Sunday when there are no Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday services)
    • Maundy Thursday
    • Good Friday
    • Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
    • Easter Sunday
  • Easter season (Easter through Pentecost)
  • Ascension Sunday
  • Pentecost Sunday
  • Trinity Sunday
  • All Saints’ Sunday (Sunday after All Saints’ Day)
  • Christ the King Sunday

Liturgies for church services & ceremonies

To assist congregations in following its standard worship pattern and content, GCI publishes RCL-synced sermons in GCI Equipper (click here to access) and the liturgies linked below for worship services and church ceremonies.

Flexibility granted

GCI congregations may adapt the denomination’s standard liturgies to accommodate local customs and needs (though the basic formats and content should be followed). Congregations may also adapt GCI’s standard pattern of worship, though all should provide services that celebrate Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season and his resurrection during the Easter season. It is then recommended that the other key events in Christ’s life (see the list above) be celebrated in a weekly worship service at the designated time of year.

GCI congregations may hold their primary weekly worship service on any day of the week, though Sunday is the norm. Also, congregations may determine how often to offer the Lord’s Supper, though it should be offered no less than quarterly, and at least once during Holy Week. Offering the Lord’s Supper every week is recommended.

In making decisions concerning adaptations to GCI’s standard worship pattern and liturgies, congregational leaders should seek divine guidance, understanding that worship is the divinely created response to the glory of the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ. Here is a suggested order of services (click the image to enlarge):