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    consistory room and focuses upon the asking of God's blessing for the minister and upon the congregational worship service - that the unconverted may be saved, the children of God may be edified, and the Name of God may be glorified.

  • The individual prayers - Each hearer also silently requests God's blessing upon the worship service for the minister, the congregation, and himself, before the service begins. In some churches, each person does this when they are seated. In others, everyone prays with the consistory after they enter the sanctuary and immediately before the service begins. The latter method conveys more of a communal aspect of congregational prayer.

  • The organ prelude - It is customary for the organist to play for ten or fifteen minutes before the church service begins. The purpose of this is to establish an appropriate atmosphere for the church service, to serve as a means to prepare the congregation for worship.

  • The consistory handshake - Prior to ascending the pulpit, an elder extends a handshake to the minister on behalf of the congregation. This is to convey brotherly friendship and best wishes from the congregation to the minister, and from the minister to the congregation. The word "blessing" is exchanged, meaning that the congregation wishes God's blessing to the minister for the service (beforehand), and upon the service (after its completion); and the minister wishes each hearer God's blessing in listening and applying grace. Each consistory member extends the same brotherly greeting to the minister in the consistory room before and after the service. The same can be applied to the leading elder, if no minister is present to conduct the service.

God has entrusted the ministry of His Word to the congregation. The congregation, in turn, has delegated this authority to the serving minister or elder. The official handshake before entering the pulpit signifies the congregational delegation. The handshake after the service pictures the congregational receiving of the Word.

  • The consistory seating - The consistory is seated together in the worship service to convey their supervisory duty over the church service and church "family." Their standing in prayer signifies the

Does the consistory's brotherly handshake and wish before and after the service reflect your deep desire?


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