First, and above all else, the church exists for the worship and glory of God. God has chosen and called the church to proclaim His excellencies (1 Pet 2:9) and be to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph 1:6, 12, 14). Although every Christian is to worship God in all they do (1 Cor 10:31), God make specific provisions for acceptable worship in the church as a unified entity. The following provisions have been given to the church to be practiced in its corporate worship of God.
- Baptism: The baptism of Jesus Christ, or ‘Christian Baptism’ is part of the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) given to the disciples just prior to the start of the church in Acts 2. Baptism is a part of corporate worship when a new believer professes publicly his/her faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) and her/her association with the church (Acts 2:41).
- Lord’s Supper: The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, has been instituted by Jesus Christ (Matt 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20) and delivered to the church by the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 11:23-26). The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remember the Lord Jesus – especially his death and future coming.
- Prayer: Acts 1 and 2 repeatedly show the significant role that prayer played in the early church’s worship services. In Acts 16:13 the gathering place of the early believers was called a place of prayer. Prayer is not only a private act of worship, but also an act by which the church as a corporate body come before the Lord in worship.
- Song: In the New Testament church, the melodic singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs was directed to the Lord as worship (Eph 5:19). Songs were also quoted since songs help greatly in memorizing the great things that God has done (Acts 13:33). Song is therefore an expressive act of worshipping God through direct or indirect address reflecting on and remembering His mighty works and Holy Being.
- Giving: The early church participated extensively in making financial offerings in the church for the work of the ministry. The church should take collections regularly (1 Cor 16:2) in order to meet the physical needs within the church locally and abroad (1 Cor 8:1-4, 13-14; Acts 6, 1 Tim 5; Gal 6:6). The saints must give generously and cheerfully, as each determines personally (1 Cor 9:6-7). Making regular corporate offerings for the work of the Lord is therefore an act of worshipping God for His providence in the lives of the believers as well as a recognition of the importance of the work of the Lord.
Furthermore specific regulative guidelines have been given by Christ to His church to preserve unity in the church. In all things, no believer should give offense to the church of God but seek the common good over that of personal preference (1 Cor 10:32-33). All worship within the church must be directed to God, participated in by all the saints, flow from a love for God and the saints (1 Cor 13) and executed in an orderly fashion (1 Cor 14:33).