If you have visited another Church of Christ, you may have noticed some variations from this description, because every Church of Christ is autonomous (independent). Because we have no national or international headquarters, each church is governed locally and independently of the others.
Doors are open early at 403 East Walnut. You will enter what we refer to as the "auditorium", where you will find rows of seats for the worshippers. There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose. *Note: We are without a preacher at this time, but we have members who lead the services each week.
SINGING Under the seat in front of you, there will be a songbook for your use. When the song number is announced by the songleader, you can turn to that number in the songbook to find words and music. Singing is acapella, meaning that there are no musical instruments and that is by design.
PRAYING Spoken prayers are a large part of our gatherings. We believe in the power of prayer, and we often pray for specific needs and requests.
THE LORD'S SUPPER The Lord's Supper will be included in the worship service - because we observe this memorial every Sunday. Again, the reason for this is our desire to follow New Testament teaching. This Supper is the original way of remembering the sacrifice Jesus has made on our behalf.
The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of the week. And we know from respected historians that in early centuries, the Lord's Supper was an every-Sunday commemoration.
During this memorial, plates containing pieces of unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus. Each participant will break off a piece of the bread and eat it.
Next, trays filled with small cups will be distributed. The cups will contain grape juice, symbolizing the blood of Jesus. Each participant will drink the contents of one cup.
If you choose not to participate, don't be embarrassed. Feel free to just pass the plate or tray to the person next to you.
PREACHING Who preaches is not as important as what is preached. Our preacher does not have a special title. He is not referred to as Pastor or Reverend.
He won't be wearing any special clothing that sets him apart. He is one of us. The reason for this is our belief that all are equal in the priesthood of believers.
The lesson will likely be from 20-25 minutes. We hope you find it refreshingly Bible-centered.
THE INVITATION Inviting worshippers to make a commitment for Jesus will be a part of the sermon. At the close of the lesson, the speaker will "extend an invitation". He will encourage those who wish to "respond" to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings.
Don't feel ill-at-ease during this invitation. You will not be singled out in any way.
There may be several who respond, or none. Some may respond for baptism. Some to confess sins. Some to ask for prayer for a specific need.
If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness baptism during the service. The baptism will be by immersion for the forgiveness of sins.
THE OFFERING How many times will you be asked for money? None. However, just after the Lord's Supper, a prayer will be given and containers will be passed to collect the weekly financial offering. As our guest, you are welcome to make a donation if you'd like, but it is not expected of you. Please feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection plate on down the row if you prefer.
WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF YOU Usually, nothing at all! You are welcome to participate. But do not feel obligated to. Just observe if that is your choice.
We would like all of our guests to fill out a "visitor form" that you will either be given at the beginning of the service or that you will find near your seat. These are forms you can use to request information about the church. You can also write down a prayer request, let us know about a specific spiritual or physical need you have, or request to study or chat with the preacher.
THE PEOPLE So, what kind of people can you expect to find? Pretty much the entire spectrum. Like many groups, we are diverse, coming from varied backgrounds and different stages of knowledge and spiritual growth. We don't know everything, but we are learning. We don't do everything right, but we are improving. We don't always treat each other as we should. We haven't arrived - we're on the journey.
But you see, we were not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or personal righteousness. We were brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus.
We were brought together by a common goal. We want to be God's people and bring others to the tender healing mercy of our Father in Heaven.