Our intentions are good! We aim to restore the New Testament church in our time, to determine from the Bible what the church was like in the first century and try to be like that!
We know that unfamiliar surroundings can be a bit intimidating, so let us tell you what to expect when you first come for a visit.
If you choose to come for Bible study at 9:30 AM, you'll find that we have classes for children of all ages. Someone will be happy to help you take your children to the proper classroom and teacher.
When you arrive, feel free to sit anywhere you wish in the auditorium. The adult class will be from a book in the Bible and will be open to discussion; feel free to ask a question, if you wish. If you didn't bring a Bible, you may use one from the nearby bookrack. Bible classes last about forty-five minutes, then there will be a break for the intermission (restrooms are nearby!). The worship service will begin at 10:30 AM.
If you arrive during the intermission, you can be assured that you will find a friendly atmosphere - you will be greeted and made to feel right at home. More than likely, you will see someone you already know!
We sincerely hope that what you find will be just what you have been looking for!
Before the worship service begins, one of the men will come to the front to welcome visitors and lead us in an opening prayer.
At the end of the service, someone else will make any closing announcements and lead the congregation in a closing prayer.
When the songleader comes to the front, you may take a songbook from the rack. You will notice right away that our singing is congregational (everybody sings!), and "acapella" without any kind of mechanical instruments. This is more than just a "preference", our desire to worship God acceptably leads us to respect the absence of either command or example in the New Testament other than to "sing and make melody with our hearts" (Ephesians 5:19).
There will be several prayers during the service. These will be led by men who were asked earlier and who volunteered.
While in churches of Christ there is no distinction as in "clergy" or "laity", there are different roles or areas of service: you will notice that the service is conducted by men.
Our ladies are highly esteemed and play vital roles in practically every area of work in the church, yet we respect instruction in the New Testament that the men are to lead in the worship assemblies of the church
(1 Timothy 2:8 -15).
Regardless of which Sunday you visit services, the Lord's Supper will be included in the worship. This is because we observe the death of Jesus every week, just as the early Christians did (as in Acts 20:7).
During this part of the service, prayers will be given, plates will be passed containing unleavened bread, then trays with a small cup filled with grape juice will be passed. This symbolizes Jesus' sacrfifice on the cross and is a remembrance of his body and blood (Matthew 26:26-28).
If you don't wish to participate or aren't sure, don't be embarassed, just pass the plate and tray on to the person next to you.
In churches of Christ, the work of the church is financed solely by the freewill offering of the members, as we read in the scriptures (1 Corinthians 16: 1 -2 ).
Usually at the end of the Lord's Supper, a prayer will be given, then the collection plate will be passed for the weekly offering.
Visitors are not expected to contibute and you may just pass the collection plate on to the person near you.
As our guest you may participate in service as you wish, but you are not in any way obligated to do so. Afterward, most of our people would be happy to help you with any questions you might have.
You will also notice that the minister (or preacher) doesn't have a "title". He does not want to be referred to as "Reverend" or even as "Pastor". He would rather be called "brother" or just by his first name. He won't be wearing any special clothing that would elevate or set him apart from other members. He is called "the preacher" becuse that's an area of his service, but not a title.
The Bible teaches that all believers are equal (Galatians 3:26-28). Christians are called "saints" (Ephesians 1:1) and "priests" (1 Peter 2:9), because our life is to be a holy, continous sacrifice of praise to our God (Hebrews 13:15). Jesus Christ forbade the use of any religious titles or desingnations that would elevate any human above another (Matthew 23:9).
The sermon will be Bible-centered and will last about thirty minutes. At the end of the message, the preacher will extend what we call "the invitation", which is simply a response time for any who may wish to ask for prayers or to be baptized or to ask to be identified as a member of the congregation.
You don't need to be nervous - you won't be singled out or embarrassed in any way!
If someone comes forward and wishes to be baptized, it may take palce immediately and you will witness it along with everyone else. The baptism will be by immersion in water and will be for the forgiveness of sins and entrance into the church, as the Bible teaches (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 47).