"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name." Psalm 100:4
First Baptist Morganton considers worship to be the most important ministry of the church. Conscious effort goes into making worship services reverent, joyful celebrations through dynamic Biblical proclamation, a variety of choral and instrumental music, innovative use of drama, interpretive dance, puppetry, and other art forms, and creative congregational participation in the worship experience. The various gifts of the members of the congregation, including children and youth, and of special guest worship leaders are used to enhance the worship experience.
Sunday morning worship begins at 10:55 am.
The pattern of the worship service at First Baptist is Biblically-based. In Isaiah 6:1-10, the prophet Isaiah has an experience of worship in which he:
- realizes that he is in the holy, awesome presence of eternal God
- recognizes his own need for God and for redemption
- receives God’s assurance of forgiveness and restoration
- hears God’s word
- responds to that word
In the same way, every service is carefully planned so that opportunities for each of these experiences of true worship may occur. Worshipers are invited to enhance the worship experience for themselves and others by:
- preparing for worship by quiet reflection and anticipation before the service
- participating fully by singing the hymns and reading along with the scriptures or responsive readings
- concentrating during prayers, anthems and sermon
- meditating on how these relate to one’s life and how individuals can apply what they’ve received to their own spiritual journey
- making some form of commitment or rededication in response to God’s word
Seasonal Worship Themes
Worship services are also based on themes suggested by the seasons of the Christian Year.
- Advent – the season of preparation and meditation in celebration of Christ's birth.
- Christmas – the season celebrating Christ’s birth.
- Epiphany – the season celebrating the wise men’s worship of Christ as a symbol of his salvation for all people and nations of the world.
- Lent – the 40 day period spent in contemplation of Christ’s teachings and in anticipation of his sacrificial death.
- Easter – the season celebrating Christ’s resurrection and of our own hope of eternal life through Him.
- Pentecost – the season focusing on our discipleship and the church’s mission.
Children and Worship
Children are included in worship services through the children's sermon and special events in which they are included as worship leaders. Children in the Morning Star Bible Adventures regularly lead calls to worship based on Scriptures they have memorized in their studies. Four-and five-year-old children have children's church immediately following the children's sermon. A nursery is provided for children three and under, staffed by professional, experienced leaders.
Special Advent Experiences
The advent season at First Baptist Church Morganton provides numerous opportunities for worship and celebration. Special events include a Hanging of the Green service, which includes music and worship as the sanctuary is being decorated for Christmas, and a Christmas Eve Communion service, which ends with churchgoers exiting the sanctuary by candlelight for the singing of a closing carol on the front steps.
The tradition of the First Baptist Church Chrismon Tree began in 1972. The term Chrismon is a compound of Christ and monogram. Chrismons are ornaments that depict the life of Christ or reflect some aspect of His teachings. These creations are always done in white and gold to reflect the purity (white) and royalty (gold) of the Lord Jesus. A Chrismon committee creates a new Chrismon each year.
First Baptist Church is blessed to have four woodcuts created by Dr. Fred Bentley from basic design ideas suggested by the Rev. Fred Schuszler. These were dedicated during Advent of 2001. These four 20 by 26 inch panels illustrate in vivid symbolism the four Sunday themes of Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. They are progressively displayed during the Advent season and have become a beautiful addition to the visual pallet of the worship experience.