Covenantal Renewal Worship
This is a simple explanation for what we mean by "covenant renewal worship." In the Bible the word "covenant" refers to a formal, structured personal bond between people. God has entered into such a personal bond with us. Every week he renews that bond so that we might be assured of his faithfulness and love. His serving us and repeatedly gifting us with life, forgiveness, knowledge of his will, and nourishment at his Table is his way of renewing his covenant with us.
For this reason, Sunday must be central in the life of our congregation. On this day, we are called into the Lord's presence, cleansed from sin, renewed in our faith and trust in Jesus, instructed by his Word, strengthened as a community at the Table for sacrificial living in his kingdom, and sent out into the world once again with Christ's blessing.
Every Sunday the congregation assembles to take full advantage of every good gift the Lord himself desires to give us. We receive the gifts of the ministry of the Word and Sacrament in the Morning Service. Afterwards we sit under Bible teaching in Sunday School as children and adults. In the afternoon we rest from our normal six-day work. Finally, we conclude the day by returning in the evening for a more intimate meeting of praise, prayer, Bible teaching, and fellowship.
Take a few minutes to read our Worship Guide if you want a short introduction to Christian worship at Providence. For a longer explanation you can read Pastor Meyers's book The Lord's Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship, which can be purchased here or from our book table in the foyer at church.
You can also download our weekly bulletins here.
Why does the Pastor wear a white robe?
The minister officiating in Christian worship ought to be dressed in a way that identifies him as the representative and spokesman of Jesus Christ. This is his calling and the congregation should be visually reminded of his responsibilities and place in the Sunday service. Traditionally, this means that the minister wears a white tunic or robe. These two sentences will likely raise all sorts of questions. Is this biblical? Or is this something that has just always been done that way? Isn’t this too “Catholic”? Does the robe mean that the pastor is better than me? Closer to God than I am? Is he a priest? Why does the pastor lead the entire worship service anyway? These are the kinds of questions that I will attempt to answer in this little pamphlet.
Office Over Personality
First, the white robe, among other things, helps emphasize the office of the pastor and de-emphasize the personality of the man in the pulpit. Sometimes it is hard to be led in worship by an elder or pastor who is a good friend or a peer or even (especially) one who is younger. To help us get over this feeling, the church has traditionally placed special robes on her ministers when they conduct worship. This helps the people to remember that it is not just good old Jeff Meyers up there; rather, the Lord’s ordained minister is leading us into God’s presence and speaking God’s Word to us. Strictly speaking, the worship service is not conducted by Jeff Meyers anyway, but by the robe of office that Jeff Meyers happens to be filling at the current time. We submit to the office, not to the man, during worship. (The concept of submission to church office is eminently biblical: Acts 20:17, 28-35; 1 Cor. 12:28; 16:16; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Thess 5:12, 13; 1 Tim. 3:1ff; 4:14; 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17; & 1 Pet. 5:1-7).