In his book, Rhythms of Grace, Mike Cosper describes the word liturgy saying, “The word itself comes from two Greek words meaning ‘public work,’ or (as it’s often described) ‘the work of the people.’ To talk about liturgy in its most basic sense is to talk about what the congregation is gathering to do.” Every church has a liturgy, or a work, that they accomplish every week.
How We See Liturgy
For some, this means that Sunday morning is a time for friends who are not Christians to come and enjoy a pleasant service. Other churches focus most of their efforts on preaching. For yet another group, Sundays are a time to entertain people with a positive message and rocking music. At Valley Life | Tramonto, we say often that we gather on Sundays to sing. We have been transformed and redeemed by the gospel, and that is something worth singing about. Because we believe this, it shapes our liturgy, our work, every week.
Singing in Response to the Gospel
The liturgy of Valley Life churches is, in a sense, reversed from many churches like ours. In most of these churches, the people gather, sing several songs together (usually to build a feeling of anticipation for something that’s about to happen), then there is a time of preaching. Maybe afterward there will be a song or two in response.
At Valley Life, we open with a call to worship to refocus our people from the week they’ve just experienced. Then we read the Scripture from which the sermon will originate, and after that our preachers share the gospel from the text. Out of those sermons, we sing songs that always point back to what our preachers just delivered. We want our people to leave the building singing the sermon in their heads.
A Reason to Sing
We view congregational singing as a response time to the preaching of the Word and action of the Holy Spirit. Every Sunday, we anticipate that the Holy Spirit is going to use the Word to convict, encourage, and rebuke. We want to take our time to sing in response out of our joy, sorrow, grief, and hope. God has given us reason to sing, so we do.