One of the enduring distinctives of Northwest Valley Baptist Church has been its purposeful approach to its weekly worship services. For each worship service a theme is chosen which centers on a particular aspect of the Triune God’s character; that theme is explicitly defined and presented early in each worship service.
Almost all elements of the service—congregational hymns, prepared music, Scripture reading, and more—are chosen to feature and develop that theme. This approach lends focus and understanding to our worship services and naturally restrains any one service element or servant from taking undue prominence above the Person of God Himself. He is the functional centerpiece of the worship service.
Would you like to try this at your church? Read the full ten-minute overview and browse through our theme sheets. It is our hope these resources will help your church worship God "in spirit and in truth."
THEMES & THEME SHEETS
Expand the worship theme categories below. Many theme titles below link to a PDF of resources for each worship theme (title, Scripture, songs, vocal music, and creative ways to introduce this theme in your church). Themes designed as a multi-week series are listed in a row, some with a series title. Start with this example theme sheet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the theme inform or relate to your sermons? Not deliberately. Why not?
- Our senior pastor typically preaches expositionally through whole books of the Bible, each with their own theological emphases. We prefer not to limit our worship to those particular aspects of God (and the same set of hymns) for months at a time.
- It would be prohibitive to coordinate both sermon and musical preparations, especially when those preparation schedules have very different timelines.
- The musical portion of the service is not just a preparation for the sermon. The singing, giving, corporate prayer, Scripture reading, and Lord’s Table are all acts of worship in themselves, not just preparations for preaching. Preaching is an essential element of worship services and crucial to being a faithful church; but Scripture does not present the other elements as preparatory.
Is "themed worship" actually just liturgy by another name? Not really. Evangelical liturgies assign specific purposes to each service element, which is then ordered in an overall gospel-shaped pattern for every service. Our church, too, assigns a certain function to each prayer, song, and event in our worship services (though not in adherence to a particular liturgy) and orders them with purpose to shape the service. The worship theme is the thread flowing through each service element to unify them all. In that sense, themed and liturgical worship could, theoretically, coexist in the same service.
Transitioning to themed worship seems overwhelming in my context! Where should I start? We get it. You can't overhaul your weekly worship process overnight. But if you're interested in trying, we recommend you start with Christmas and Easter. Choose a Life of Jesus theme series that leads up to Easter or a Christmas series. Those seasons lend themselves well to worship themes; try those and see how it goes.
Have a question or comment about these worship resources? Feel free to reach out.