Our journey began in 2011 when, as an Independent Christian Church, we started to search for a biblical, apostolic way of worship. With pastor Michael Wiley leading us, we began to study ancient forms of worship. We asked question like: is our form of worship honoring to the Lord? How do other churches worship? How did the apostles set up the first churches and how did they worship? Is there a right or a wrong way?
Honoring to the Lord?
The Bridge began to wonder, “Have we lost something?” Our service over the past few years seemed to wander down a road of competition. We found ourselves competing with other churches and with other Sunday activities like kid's sports, NFL, and golf. We decided to make our service more entertaining. We thought the better people and visitors were entertained the more likely they would be to stay. Funny videos, loud, rocking praise music, and sermons that were seeker driven became part of our services and that’s when we thought, "Is this service for the Lord or for us?" Is this service for Christians to worship or for non-Christians to feel comfortable?
How do other churches worship?
Looking around the community and surrounding area we found other churches setting up their services the same way we were, trying to please and attract everyone. While this is a great attitude to have and seeking the lost is always a number one priority at The Bridge, we asked, “Have we gone too far?” Worship felt like a production to please us not to honor God. Music and teaching took front stage while communion and prayer were pushed further and further in the back. So we looked at other traditions almost completely foreign to us. We found many ancient ways of worship. How ancient?
How did the apostles and early church worship?
We stepped deep into study. We tried liturgy, some of us for the first time. We began to desire a church service that put communion and prayer center stage to focus on the great importance of the Holy Eucharist. We began to participate in worship instead of simply being entertained by those on the stage. From our desires and studies we learned the traditions of worship. We found that there was a way to worship as the apostles would have worshipped and a way they would have recognized.
Right or wrong way?
When believers journey through deep, prayerful study about the nature of Christian worship to discover what we call the ‘Ancient Way’, it may prompt an important question: “is this THE right way to do church?”. In other words, how do we view other churches in their worship? Are we right and they wrong? Absolutely not! Yet our research also shows a growing trend towards the recovery of liturgy in many pockets of Christianity in Western culture. In fact, we see God orchestrating a revival of Word and Sacrament. It has certainly transformed the way we worship on Sundays and in our daily scripture and prayer life. Sunday worship now incorporates a time of praise and Holy Scripture reading structured within the framework of liturgy. The climax of our worship is Christ in the Eucharist (a word we no longer fear). This, we have found, is a fuller worship that we bring to the Lord: our focus is not to put on a show for those gathering, but to gather to serve the Lord as a redeemed people. We are convinced right worship is Christ-centered and saturated with Holy Scripture. The Ancient Way of liturgy is how Christians for centuries have done just that. Our prayer is that Christ-centered, gospel-saturated worship be the path the church in our culture recovers more and more, even within the various and rich traditions remaining intact. “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11, ESV)
Through our journey we found a home. We found a church of millions of Christians worldwide We found a Church focused on the primacy of scripture. We found a historic Church rooted in proven tradition and apostolic worship. We found and have been fully received into the Anglican Church in North America and our pastor Michael has been ordained into the apostolic ministry.
We invite you to join us as we journey in the Ancient Future Way