worship at Browncroft

The Gathering

March 2, 2023
Rob Cattalani
Rob Cattalani

Our weekly worship gatherings are one of the most important exercises of the Christian life. It’s here that we encounter God with others, grow in our understanding of the faith, and are called into active service to the church and the world. Our services should be God-honoring, personally edifying, and motivated by love. Worship is a corporate action of believers that requires participation by all.

Our newly launched “Gathering” series addresses several problems in the worship practices of a young congregation in the ancient Greek city of Corinth. Though our context is very different, many of the truths and lessons found here hold fresh application for our worship today.

In this 6-week series we are exploring:

  • God’s design for men and women
  • The Lord’s Supper
  • Spiritual gifts
  • The Body of Christ
  • The gifts of tongues and prophecy
  • The power of love

A Magical View of Religion

It appears that many in this congregation had an almost superstitious view of the spiritual life. So in the tenth chapter Paul references the Old Testament people of God and their sojourn under Moses. He highlights them as a warning. Paul notes their baptism (referring to the passage through the Red Sea) and their spiritual food and drink (pointing to the covenant law given at Mt Sinai), but says, “Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness” (1 Corinthians 10:5).

The Corinthian congregation also seemed to have a somewhat magical view of grace. This view had caused some to place great significance on the person who baptized them and to question who was worthy of taking communion.

Their spiritual immaturity was particularly evident in the exercise of spiritual gifts. Possession of certain noticeable gifts had distorted the image of many in this congregation. In fact, while the word translated “to puff up” occurs only 7 times in the New Testament, 6 are found here in this letter. And while the word “boast” is found 53 times, this letter contains 35 of them.

The message here is that the gifts given to each of us by the Holy Spirit are for the express purpose of serving others — not ourselves.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:7

A Spirit-Filled Community

The church today, including ours, desperately needs the energy and activity of the Holy Spirit. If we hope to reach more of the spiritually lost in our community, we will need to become a spiritually empowered community first. Knowing and using our gifts is central to creating an environment where God is at work.

And central to the effectiveness of our gifts is the underlying motivation of love. A love that is patient, kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and rejoices in the truth. This kind of love must be worked in our lives before it will show in how we live and serve others. This is the key work of discipleship and a unique focus for our time in this series leading up to Easter.

During this series we will be encouraging one spiritual practice each week: prayer, confession, silence, gratitude, fasting, and service. You can find a short description of them here, and each practice will be explored a bit more via short videos in the “Browncroft Conversations” playlist on our chuch YouTube page (click and subscribe here).

We are also holding two key events that I commend to you: an all-church prayer night on Monday, March 6, and a spiritual formation conference on Saturday, March 18. You can learn more and RSVP for both by clicking the button at the end of this article.

I hope to see you at these experiences and ask that you would join me in praying for God to be at work among us in a special way over these weeks.

But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

About The Author

Rob Cattalani
Rob Cattalani

Pastor Rob grew up in Rochester where he came to know Christ in his first year of college. After a couple years at the Xerox Corporation he decided to pursue a Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. Pastor Rob was a pastor in Texas for nine years and then served as a missionary in Europe for a year. He answered the call to be Browncroft’s Senior Pastor in 2005, and his favorite part of his job is teaching and preaching God’s Word.

Further reading

We’ve Got It Backwards: NTS Camp and the Faith of Our Students

This past week, 34 Browncroft students and leaders traveled to Houghton University for five days of Never the Same Camp (NTS). They gathered alongside 600 students and leaders from other churches in the Rochester/Buffalo area to grow in community with each other and with God. I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in this experience with them, and let me tell you, the things I witnessed during this week were eye-opening.
Read more

Browncroft’s Wolof Ministry and Bible Project

In 2024 Browncroft is celebrating the 25th anniversary of our partnership to reach the Wolof people of Senegal! One new way of making an impact that we are excited about is the sending of $25K of the Browncroft Reach 2024 ministry funds to help make God’s Word available in the Wolof language.
Read more

God Is Moving at Browncroft

As we wind down the school year and officially head into summer, I am thankful for our church and the ways that God is moving through the hearts and lives of so many.
Read more