The Fourfold worship pattern is a lot like a Mr. Potato Head.
The Fourfold model is the oldest, most Biblical pattern we have for how God meets people in worship. We see it played out Sunday to Sunday like this: Gathering -> Word -> Meal -> Sending. You can go all the way back to Moses and see the pattern emerge in how God met him in the burning bush in Exodus 3-4: Moses was gathered to Horeb, God spoke to Moses from the bush, Moses responds in obedience to God’s mission, Moses is sent back to Egypt.
So the structure of the Fourfold model is like the body of a Mr. Potato Head. When you begin to play with it, all you have is a brown body with lots of little holes in it. That body is the skeletal structure of Fourfold worship (Gathering – Word – Meal – Sending). It’s what you start with.
The different elements of worship (prayer, song, Scripture reading, offering, sermon, benediction, etc.) are like the different parts you plug into the body: the eyes, ears, nose, feet, hat, arms, etc. You can get pretty creative with a Mr. Potato Head when you start plugging the body parts into different places. No matter how unusual it looks, it’s still a Mr. Potato Head. The order of the body parts doesn’t change the fact that it is still a Mr. Potato Head.
The same goes for Fourfold worship. The elements of worship can be moved around and placed in creative patterns, but the skeletal structure of four folds always remains the same.