Why Liturgy?

by Pastor Josh Hughes

Liturgy literally means “the work of the people,” and simply refers to the way a church structures its gatherings. Every church has a liturgy, some are formal, some informal. On Sundays at Four Oaks, through songs and readings, our goal is to walk through the story of the gospel in four movements - God is holy, we are sinners, Jesus saves us, Jesus sends us on mission. This story gives shape to how we plan and structure our times together. 

We believe this is important, because stories shape us. Our lives are are inundated by stories, almost all of which have a very different message. The world never rests from telling its own version of the gospel - buy this (make this sacrifice) and you’ll be happy (saved). Look like this and you’ll be desired. Act like these people and you’ll be accepted. 

Advertisers are telling their version of the story as well. Buy a twelve-pack of this beverage and people will want to hang out with you. Buy these headphones and you’ll shoot jump-shots like an NBA all-star. 

The church has a better story to tell. It’s the story of the gospel, the story of salvation and the renewal of all things through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We tell the story of the gospel over and over again in our gatherings because we are so prone to move away from it and to believe these other stories. When the church gathers, as my friend Mike Cosper says, we are cultivating practices in our spiritual lives through our worship that shape our relationship with God in all of life.  When we see our Sundays this way, we begin to see that worship isn’t merely about an emotional experience with Jesus, it’s also a formational experience, a weekly habit that shapes the way we inhabit the world.

So I want to invite you this Sunday to enter into that story whole-heartedly. Confess your sin boldly. When we speak words of gospel assurance, say them loudly and confidently. Sing your guts out. Because Jesus has written and is writing his better story in our midst. 

Joshua Hughes