The Elements of Worship

Memorial Chapel at Baylor University

While there are several ways of gathering to worship our Triune God ( Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we try to include elements that have been present with the Church from her early times. We strive for our hymns and songs to be both ancient and new. I share with you the way we structure Baylor Chapel.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritualworship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 1-3


Prelude (instrumental)

Chiming of the bell(calls us to enter God’s time [Kairos] and to pray)

Welcome & Call to Worship

Praise and Thanksgiving

Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16)

Glory to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (expressions of Trinitarian worship)

Seeking God’s Grace and Plan

Prayers of God’s People –  (prayers can be combination of extemporaneous and written prayers)

Confession- Assurance- of Pardon (from the Scriptures) & PastoralPrayer (Intercessions, prayers for our  world & The Lord’s Prayer)

Passing the Peace & Greeting One another 

Hearing the Word

Old Testament Reading,

Reader: Your word is a lamp unto my feet, … and a light unto my path. (response)

The Gospel

Witness through Art (songs, poetry, liturgical dancing, etc.)


Responding to God’s Call

Song/Hymn of Response


O Lord, Open My Lips Available at GIA Music

This piece can work for the beginning of a worship service – or before prayer. It comes in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. You can sing it congregationally, and led by a choir or small ensemble. It will work in contemporary or traditional settings. Click link to purchase from GIA Music.

This introit from the Psalms opens prayer services in several traditions. It can also be used in other worship services. I once heard theologian John Witvliet say that this prayer is another form of saying, Come Holy Spirit!

Este introito sacado de los Salmos sirve para comenzar los servicios de oración en varias tradiciones. Puede utilizarse también en otros servicios de adoración. Yo escuché una vez al teológo John Witvliet decir que ésta oración es otra manera de decir, ¡Ven, Espíritu Santo! 

Hymn for Baylor Class of 2025 Arr. C. Colón

Lyrics by University Chaplain Burt Burleson (BA ’80) Music by Kathy Gladen Johnson (BM ’76)

Arranged by Assistant Director of Chapel Carlos Colón (MM ’93) Performed by the Baylor Religious Hour Choir

Love Shall Overcome

“Vencerá el amor/Love Shall Overcome” Words: Carlos Colón; English tr. Greg Scheer © 2015 Birnamwood Publications, a division of MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted under A-703303. Recorded with permission at Worship Symposium 2017 at Calvin University. Buy score, including a version with instruments, here.