Worship in the New Testament period was ordered around baptism and the Eucharist. Baptism marks the entrance of the believer into the worshiping community, while the Lord’s Supper, together with the teaching of the Scriptures, forms the content of the worship gathering.
Reconciliation, as a result of Christian worship and community life, is an important New Testament concept. Reconciliation is mediated through the practice of the apostolic vocation of all believers and supremely through the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Although there is no specific rite of reconciliation in the New Testament, both baptism and the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, have sacramental implications in the process of reconciliation through communion with God in Christ.
The specific terminology of ordination is not found in the New Testament, although several occasions are described on which people were set aside for special tasks of ministry. A fuller development of the theory of ordination took place in the post-New Testament church.
Only recently, in its expanded awareness of entrenched spiritual evil, has the Christian church begun to recover the scriptural understanding of warfare in the realm of the spirit. The Bible clearly reveals the spiritual nature of the struggle against sin and the opposition of demonic powers to the gospel of Christ. As the celebration of the Lord’s dominion and victory, worship is a major weapon in the arsenal of spiritual warfare.
Speaking with tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, the word of knowledge, and the word of wisdom are among those accompaniments to the baptism in the Holy Spirit that are used in the setting of corporate worship.
Foundational to many aspects of charismatic worship is the concept of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Even where prophecy and speaking or singing in tongues are not regularly practiced as part of worship, the expectancy and vitality of celebration are influenced by the understanding of Spirit baptism.
Although dance is not commanded in the New Testament as in the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament confirms its use and place in Christian worship.
Although the New Testament says little about music making, it is clear that the worship life of the early church was characterized by the use of psalms and other forms of song.
In the formative years of the church its ministry exhibited amazing variety and adaptability. Emerging at Pentecost as a Jewish sect, the church naturally modeled its ministry in part on patterns borrowed from the synagogue. But the Spirit of Christ also fashioned new functions and channels of ministry through which the grace of God might be communicated. The principal “orders” of ministry that arose were those of the elder (bishop) and the deacon.
The emergent New Testament church did not have the same clearly defined offices of leadership as did the worship of Israel. However, the functions of the family head, prophet, priest, and king are summed up in Christ, who through the Spirit leads the church, the community of the new covenant, in its worship of almighty God.