Sunday Worship Services

10:00am

Bible Study

11:00am

Wednesday Nights - Resumes August 13th

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Smoke Rise Baptist Church
5901 Hugh Howell Road
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
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Christmas Choir

Elements of Worship

Find out about the elements of our worship service, the meaning behind our traditions, and learn about the Seasons of the Church Year:
Elements of our Worship Service
Seasons of the Church Year
Changing Colors in Sanctuary
Visuals:Bibles, Candles, Robes

You will commonly see these elements in our worship services:

Invocation

The invocation is a prayer that asks for God’s presence, blessing and participation.

Call to Worship

The Call to Worship brings us together as a worshipping community. It can be a few sentences, a scripture verse, or a song. As busy people, we need something that helps us to focus us on why we have gathered, to worship God.

Offering and Offertory Prayer

This is a prayer of thanksgiving to God for our resources with a request that God help us be faithful stewards. The offertory prayer follows the collection of the offering in which people of the church bring an “offering” of thanksgiving to God out of the financial blessings received. A “tithe” (which means “tenth”) is the practice of giving 10% of ones income and is taken from the Hebrew (Old Testament) commandments. Giving the tithe was an expression of gratitude to God by his people and an acknowledgment of God’s ownership of everything in the earth. In our tradition, church members are encouraged to tithe to the church however there is no prescribed amount required to be a member. Giving is a voluntary act.

Pastoral Prayer (sometimes listed as Morning Prayer)

This is a prayer that is offered on behalf of the worshippers asking for God’s blessing and action in their lives and others. Prayers include requests for healing, comfort, guidance, strength, courage, forgiveness, salvation, justice, and peace.

Scripture Reading

The reading of scripture from the Bible as an act of worship goes back to Jewish tradition when the scrolls would be brought out and portions of the law, prophets, and the other writings would be read to the people. At times we will have both Old Testament and New Testament lessons. The pastor will use the readings as the text for his sermon. The Bible is central to Baptist worship and faith.

Baptism

In Baptist tradition, there are two ordinances (symbolic observance) observed: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. In Baptism, one who has decided to follow Christ is acting in obedience to his command to be baptized. In Baptist tradition, we baptize by immersion believing that it was the way that Jesus was baptized. Baptism is symbolic of Christ’s own death, burial, and resurrection as well as the believer’s putting away the “old self” and being raised to new life in Christ. It is the believer’s public witness of becoming a follower of Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Supper or Communion

At Smoke Rise we observe the Lord’s Supper approximately six times a year. This ordinance commemorates the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion. The bread represents his broken body and the wine (grape juice) represents his blood. In this observance we remember Jesus sacrifice and reflect on his grace, love, and forgiveness, for which we are grateful. In our tradition, the deacons of the church serve the elements to the congregation and the congregation serves each other which is also a way of following the example of Christ’s servant leadership. On occasion, we will serve from stations at the front of the church by having the people come forward to receive the elements.

Sermon

The sermon is the proclamation of the Gospel (“good news”) that instructs, comforts, encourages, guides, and motivates us to respond to God’s call upon our lives.

Invitation

In Baptist tradition, the invitation is a time when persons may decide to make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ or join the church. A hymn is sung by the congregation and those wanting to make these decisions are invited to come forward to speak with the pastor. Those that wish to join the church in a less formal setting may talk to the pastor in his office.
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What are the Seasons of the Church Year?

The seasons follow the life of Jesus from the preparation of his birth, to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is an educational way to tell the Christian story. The Christian calendar is organized around two groupings of sacred time: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Lent, Holy Week, and Easter and concludes with Pentecost. The time in between these seasons of sacred time is called Ordinary Time.

The Season of Advent

Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a time of expectation or hope for the coming of the messiah. It begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve. The color of Advent is purple.

The Season of Christmas

Christmas is not just a day on the Christian calendar but also a season beginning at sunset on Christmas Eve, December 24, and lasting for 12 days (traditionally known as the Twelve Days of Christmas). The color of Christmas continues from Advent to be purple.

Epiphany

The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” It celebrates the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King. It is the 12th day of Christmas that we sing about and it is celebrated on January 6th of each year. The color of Epiphany is green.

The Season of Lent

The season of Lent originated in the fourth century of the church and spans 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending during Holy week. It is marked by a time of prayer, self examination and preparation to celebrate Easter. Since Sundays always celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted in the 40 day period but are referred to as the Sundays in Lent. The color of Lent is purple.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season, the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday. The name comes from the ancient practice of placing ashes on worshipper’s foreheads as a sign of humility before God. It is a symbol of mourning and sorrow for our sin and a time to empty ourselves of false pride. Traditionally, the palm branches used on the previous Palm Sunday are burned to make the ashes.

Holy week is the last week of Lent, the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday, and is observed as a time to commemorate and enact the suffering (Passion) and death of Jesus through various observances and services of worship. These are the most commonly observed traditions during Holy Week:

Palm Sunday – this Sunday observes the day that Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey – a symbol of peace. People who were there to celebrate Passover came out to meet him waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!” John 12:13

Maundy Thursday - The term Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum from a verb that means “to give,” “to entrust,” or “to order.” It marks the day of Jesus’ last week when he gathered his disciples for a last meal together, probably a Passover meal. During the meal he instituted what Christians now call “communion” or “the last supper.” Later that evening Jesus was arrested.

Good Friday - Friday of Holy Week commemorates Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and suffering, death, and burial. There are few explanations as to why this day is called “good.” Some scholars believe that "good" is a corruption of the word "God's" or may have been used to denote "holy". A common service that is sometimes held on Good Friday is Tenebrae (Latin for “shadow” or “darkness”). It is usually characterized by a series of scripture readings done in stages while lights and candles are gradually lowered and extinguished to symbolize the growing darkness in the world as a result of Jesus’ death. The service ends in darkness as the last candle is extinguished and the worshippers then leave in silence to await the resurrection on Easter morning. Some churches observe this service on Maundy Thursday instead of Good Friday.

The Season of Easter

Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion in the first century. It is the most important day in the Christian calendar. It also refers to the season of the church year, lasting for fifty days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost. The name “easter” is derived from ancient names for the month of April. The color of Easter is white.

Pentecost

Pentecost was originally an Old Testament festival, calculated as beginning on the fiftieth day after the beginning of Passover. In the Christian calendar, it falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter and celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on those gathered in the “upper room” as told in Acts 2. The color of Pentecost is red.
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Why do we change the colors in the Sanctuary?

The seasons are represented by colors that have meaning:

Purple

Purple symbolizes royalty, suffering, penitence and fasting. It is used during Advent, Lent and Holy Week.

White

White symbolizes purity, holiness, and virtue, as well as respect and reverence. White is used for all high Holy Days of the Church Year, especially the seasons of Christmas and Easter, as well as for baptism and marriage. It is also used for funerals as a symbol of the resurrection.

Red

The color red symbolizes the “tongues, as of fire” that came to the disciples of Jesus on the Day of Pentecost.

Green

Green symbolizes growth and the promise of new life. It reminds us that the Christian life is a journey of growth and maturity in Christ.

Royal Blue

Royal Blue is the color of royalty to welcome the coming of a King. It may also symbolize the sky in which the star appeared to announce the birth of Jesus. While purple has traditionally been the liturgical color for Advent, Royal Blue is increasingly used for Advent to distinguish it from Lent.
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Visuals the 11:00am worship service might include:

The Open Bible represents our dependence on scripture.

Candles flanking each side of the bible represent the light of Christ that shines in darkness.

Our ministers and choir wear robes to create a sense of unity and reverence, drawing the attention off any particular individual leading in worship. This supports the biblical theme in John 3:30, “Jesus must increase, but I must decrease.” John reminds his followers he was not the Messiah, yet his intent was to share the message of Jesus. Robes enable our worship leaders to create a service where God is the center of our focus and praise. In the Protestant tradition, the wearing of a robe does not elevate the minister above anyone else. It is a symbol of the office they hold and the function of being a worship leader.

Often times there are fresh flowers to celebrate an occasion or to memorialize a loved one. Fresh flowers symbolize the living God.

Banners that enhance the worship theme or church season.
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