Frequently Asked Questions about Life and Worship at Trinity Church
Welcome to Trinity Church. If you are new, you probably have some questions about why we do the things we do. Or you might have been here for some time and need a refresher. Regardless, we want everyone to worship with all of their mind as well as heart, soul and body, so here are some answers to common questions.
While not every church thinks of itself as “liturgical” or self-consciously puts together an order of worship, every church worships in a particular way. In this sense liturgy, like tradition, is inescapable; it’s not whether a church will have a liturgy but how the liturgy it does have will honor God and bless the worshippers.
The Bible speaks of a particular flow of worship. At the Temple in Jerusalem, the sacrifices generally followed this order: 1) sin offering, 2) ascension offering, 3) fellowship offering. While the animal sacrifices were types and shadows that ultimately pointed to Jesus (Luke 24:27), their order was logical and relational. Anyone who approaches a holy and loving God is called to first acknowledge and confess sin. Having received forgiveness, we “ascend” to God as we confess our faith and are transformed as we hear His word. And lastly, God welcomes us to His table to eat, drink and fellowship with Him and one another.
You may have also noticed that the sacrificial system and our order of worship follow the order of salvation. First we are justified (sin offering; confession); then we are sanctified (ascension offering; consecration); and finally, we are glorified and have intimate fellowship with God (peace offering; communion). Add a call to worship to begin, and a commissioning to send the church out, and you have our order of worship: Call to Worship, Confession, Consecration, Communion, and Commissioning. This is often referred to as Covenant Renewal Worship because God renews His covenantal promises to us, and we pledge our continuing love and loyalty to Him.
Yes and no. If by formal you mean stiff, quiet, subdued and solemn, then no. But there is another sort of formality that characterizes beautiful and glad occasions like weddings. People are dressed, there is a ceremony with serious vows, and yet the whole thing is marked by joy and anticipation.
The Bible describes Sunday worship as part of a feast day that looks forward to the final wedding feast when the church, the bride of Christ, will be united to God in great joy. God is our loving Father, and because of Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, He is also our friend, but at the risk of sounding redundant, He is also God who made heaven and earth. If you have ever been struck dumb by the grandeur of Mt. Rainier, been quieted by the beauty of Bach’s Cello Suites, felt the power of a thundering waterfall, or marveled at the intricate engineering that went into the human ankle, you’ve had a small taste of the power, glory, creativity and gift of God. Nature, music, human relationships and countless other things give us glimpses of the overflowing personality of the one who made it all.
This wild and omnipotent God has given himself—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—to us which is why we’re told to “Worship the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). Americans are a casual bunch. We actually buy new clothes that are made to look used, holes torn and spots faded at the factory, because being casual is just so authentic. Worship is too important to be taken lying down--or slouching. And our God is living and wonderful, never to be worshiped with mere formality, lifeless and boring. Worship is a time to meet with the awesome (in the old, staggering sense), triune God, something to give thought and preparation to, something to revel in and enjoy. Now that would be different.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” We believe that God meets with His people, even the small, noisy ones, on the Lord’s Day. Not wanting to deprive our children of time with their God, we welcome them into our main service in which we all seek to mature like little children (Matt. 18:3). We also have two sound-proof rooms on the sides of the sanctuary with windows looking into it, the north room for toddlers and the south for nursing mothers.
Reformed theology emphasizes the doctrines of grace, believing in the exhaustive sovereignty and efficacious love of God. These doctrines are prominent in the Bible and have been articulated in history by people like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon. We believe that our race fell into sin and death in Adam and that Jesus died in order to save the world (John 3:17), turning away the wrath of God from all who call on Him.
For millennia the church has been writing and singing music to the glory of God. At Trinity Church, we strive to enjoy the best of what has been sung by the church over the centuries, and look to build upon that foundation, creating new music, singing new songs to the Lord because he has done marvelous things (Ps. 98:1). Since the book of Psalms is God’s inspired hymnal, we seek for all of our music to be consistent with and patterned after it. This is good news since the Psalms call for diverse instruments, joyful clapping, loud praise, and worship in the beauty of holiness. The Psalms are also striking in their content. In them we learn about the sinfulness of man, goodness of the law, how to cry out to and argue with God, how to deal with enemies, delight in the forgiveness of sin, find peace in the valley of the shadow of death, trust in the sovereignty of God, proclaim the dominion of Jesus, and express the fullest range of human emotion.
Like learning to do anything worthwhile, singing beautiful music requires some work. We sing a variety of music at Trinity. Some of it is familiar and easy, and some of it like the Genevan psalms (or jigs as Queen Elizabeth called them) and Luther.s original A Mighty Fortress takes some getting used to. Thankfully, it gets easy after a little practice. If you are new and unfamiliar with the music or just interested in learning more, we want to help. You can listen to many songs online at www.trinitykirk.org/music. You can also come to psalm sings, sign up for adult or children.s choir, or contact Joe Hyink email@example.com to get information about or help with the music.
Just a few generations ago Americans could listen to the Lincoln-Douglas debates for hours, processing and enjoying content-filled oratory. Gone are those days, replaced by thirty-minute TV shows which are interspersed by eight minutes of commercials which leaves twenty-two minutes—the curious length of so many sermons today. While we don’t aspire to Lincoln-esqe length, our sermons are usually about forty-five minutes. The focus isn’t so much on time as it is on content—the Bible is full of wisdom and we don’t want to dish it out in teaspoons. God would have his word to dwell in us richly, and so the pulpit is called to preach ”the very oracles of God“ (1 Pet. 4:11) in all their fullness. While you won’t hear the sermon all day, we hope you’ll go home edified and challenged.
In the early church, communion was a regular part of worship (Acts 2:24; 20:7), and it wasn’t until the middle ages that churches began to take it infrequently. Some argue that frequent communion diminishes its importance, but we believe that like the Word, the sacrament is a means of nourishing grace to be taken often. Like many of the Reformers, John Calvin argued for a return for weekly communion: ”The Lord’s Table should have been spread at least once a week of the assembly of Christians, and the promises declared in it should feed us spiritually“. We take this meal together as the culmination of worship where we sit down at God’s table with Him. All baptized Christians are invited to take the Lord’s Supper. If you have not been baptized, please contact us to arrange it.
While nothing is inherently wrong with passing the plate, our custom is to put our gifts and offerings in a box located in foyer. If you are a visitor or non-Christian, please do not give. Be welcome as our guest. If you are a member or regularly attend Trinity and want to give, you can do so at church or setup electronic giving with your bank to Trinity Church, PO Box 1158, Woodinville, WA 98072.
The word “church” doesn’t primarily refer to a building with walls and seats, but rather to a body of people worshipping together, serving one another, and discipling the nations. We have a number of ministries that endeavor to live out the mission of the gospel throughout the week. If you are new or worship with us regularly and want to learn what we believe and practice, the Foundations Class is an introduction to the church, recommended but not required for membership. We have Community Groups that meet all over the region to study the Bible and serve our neighbors, and regular events like food drives, men’s, women’s and youth meetings, feasts, psalm sings and more. Please visit our calendar at www.trinitykirk.org/event or pick up a bulletin at church to see upcoming events and how you can participate.