Church Blog

Why do we do that? Corporate Confession

“Many Evangelical churches do not often include a time of corporate confession as part of their weekly services. This is, I believe, a weakness of our gatherings.”

Greg Strand, EFCA Executive Director of theology and credentialing

We confess our sins together as a part of corporate worship each Lord’s Day. In the past, the Pastor has offered the confession sometimes on behalf of the congregation while the congregation prayed responsively at others. This is one area where our study of the Book of Leviticus has strengthened your Pastor to be better and to grow. Why do we do that? Why do we confess our sins together? There are at least 5 things that are taking place when we pray a corporate prayer of confession on the Lord’s Day:

We are being obedient to the order of worship given in the Bible. We confess our sin, we are consecrated by the Word preached that declares Christ as our substitute and we communion with God in a meal that celebrates that we are at peace with Him.

We acknowledge the confidence we have in full forgiveness that is found in Christ alone. Because we have been forgiven and are right with God because of Jesus, we are free to confess the smaller, daily sins that break fellowship with Him and with each other. 

We declare what kind of community we are. We are a community of sinners who have covenanted together for better and for worse. There is no perfect person in the room. We are a community of priests who have direct access to God in Christ. The Pastor is not the priest, he may not confess for you. We confess together because it is true of all of us.

We are repenting of actual known sins we committed in the previous week. You may have done all the confession necessary on Thursday. Amen to that. This time becomes a grateful acknowledgment of the restoration of fellowship that we have through Christ.

We declare that we are (right now) not what the Call to Worship is calling us to be and we declare that we need Christ to be our substitute and the Spirit to be our help.

Corporate confession shapes our loves and gives us a vision of the good life. We love the forgiveness that we have because Jesus paid for all our sins. We long for the day in which every one of us in marked by the maturity that comes with regular, joyful repentance. Amen! 

Upon your profession of faith, your confession of sin and the promise of God in His Word, be assured today that your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name.

Why do we do that?: Congregational singing

We are a singing people; we sing often; we sing joyfully (Ps. 100:1), and we want to continually be singing more skillfully (Ps. 33:3). 

What We Sing: We sing congregational songs so that the whole congregation can sing together on the Lord’s Day. That is, we sing songs that are fitting for 100+ voices (skilled or unskilled!) to sing together.  When we come together on the Lord’s Day, the congregation is the choir, and the congregation’s voice is the primary instrument of praise. 

We sing songs that are biblical in content, representative of Christian history, pastoral, and written for multiple voices.

Why We Sing: We sing congregational songs because of what the Bible teaches about singing on the Lord’s Day. Singing is a result of the church being filled with the Spirit! We are to sing together to the Lord and we are to sing to one another (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

We sing congregational songs because of what the Bible teaches about the church. The church is the people of God gathered on the Lord’s Day in response to the call of God. In worship we act as one body, and not as group of individuals. Therefore, when we sing, the whole body must join in, and so we enable all to sing by the songs we choose and how we lead them.

We sing congregational songs because of our mission to the community. Congregational songs are musically accessible to everyone, as soon as they walk in the door. This is an act of love to visitors and recent attenders.

We sing congregational songs because of our multi-generational mission. Congregational songs can be sung by young ones—they can be learned and sung at home. Just watch how kids in the service sing and lift their hands. We exist to raise up generations of Christians to be adults. Congregational singing best supports that mission in our worship.

Now what?: What are you to do with congregational singing? First, and most importantly, love your neighbor enough to want them to be able to sing with you. Be happy when someone who has a hard time singing can take part because of the songs chosen and the way they are led. Second, love your neighbor enough to sing with them and sing to them. Third, get better. Listen to the the Sunday playlist and improve your own skill of singing. This is what it means to be a congregational choir.