What Should You Expect When You Visit Our Worship Assembly?
We want you to visit us, but we realize an unfamiliar place can be intimidating. We want you to feel comfortable so we have prepared this article to tell you what you can expect when you honor us with a visit.
In the days of Jesus, the church was much different than it is today. Throughout the generations man has altered virtually every aspect of Christ’s church including its teachings, its worship and its practices.
Today, you will find many different religious organizations, each claiming to uphold Biblical teachings and practices, yet each teaching many contrasting doctrines. This is, at the very least, extremely confusing for anyone searching for truth.
Our plea to those of all denominations is…
The Restoration Of New Testament Christianity. We do not claim to have all the answers, but we believe we are moving in the right direction, and we want to be a Bible-centered church. We know that our conclusions aren’t always perfect, and that we are sometimes influenced by habit, preference and tradition, even though we try no to be.
We will, however, always attempt to give scriptural reasons for our teachings and practices. We invite you to join us in our quest for true New Testament Christianity.
The setting will be a simple one. Some congregations meet in homes or rented facilities, but most meet in a modest building that has been erected or purchased for the purpose of worship. You will find no elaborate architecture or costly furnishings, simply a structure where God?s people gather to praise and honor Him.
The Worship is Simple And Dignified
We truly hope that you will be touched by the simplicity and dignity of the worship services. In our worship, families will worship together rather that being divided into classes or groups. We feel this best keeps in harmony with the pattern of the early church, as well as providing the most profitable learning experience for each family member.
Each worship service is designed to draw every person closer to God and provide an atmosphere that will allow all to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Since all we do is governed by the word Of God, you will find us observing only those things contained therein. We shall do our best to duplicate the Biblical pattern of the early church in everything we do. The following describes our worship.
Our song service may seem different from that customarily practiced in many churches. All the singing will be ?a cappella,? that is, without instrumental accompaniment. As Christians we are commanded to sing and make melody in our heart (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
The New Testament makes no mention of instrumental music. Because of this, we feel it would be an addition to His will if we added and employed instruments of music.
The songs will be melodious psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, void of the influence of contemporary music. Each song will be selected so as to praise and glorify God and create an atmosphere of worship.
You will find a songbook in a bookrack nearby. When the song leader announces a song, you may use the songbook to follow the words and music of the song. Please sing along with us and experience the joy of praising our Creator.
There may be several prayers during the service. Prayers are designed to praise God, thank Him for His blessings, intercede for others, and petition Him to meet our needs (Philippians 4:6, Matthew 6:9-13).
The teaching will be done by men only, speaking one at a time. The women will remain silent, not because we think they are inferior, but because of God?s teaching in I Corinthians 14:35.
You will notice that the teacher will have no title and will not be wearing any special religious garments which will set him apart. The reason for this is Christ?s teaching in Matthew 23:8-12 and the teaching on the priesthood of all believers found in I Peter 2:5 & 9.
The teaching service is designed to instruct and exhort in ways of righteousness. You are encouraged to follow the speaker in your Bible as the lesson is presented, and to take notes for further study (Acts 17:11). Our goal is to present sound Biblical teaching so that all present will be edified.
An invitation will be offered at the close of the sermon. This is a convenient time when any number of desires can be expressed by those in the audience. There may be some who desire to become a Christian. There may be Christians who desire to confess sins or request prayer for a specific need.
Don?t feel uncomfortable or pressured during this invitation. If however, you have a need, we will be glad to assist you. You will never be singled out or embarrassed in any way. During this time there may be several who respond, or none.
The Lord’s Supper
If you visit on a Sunday morning, the Lord?s Supper, or communion, will be observed just as we understand it to have been done on the night our Lord introduced it (Matthew 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20).
The brother attending the table will take bread, bless it, break a piece from it, eat, and pass it to another until each disciple has broken. He will then take the cup, bless it, drink, and pass it to another until each disciple has partaken.
This is the simple New Testament pattern repeated at this congregation each first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
If you choose not to participate feel free to just pass the plate or cup to the person next to you.
You will not find us soliciting money through special offerings, spaghetti or pie suppers, bake sales, car washes or any other fund raising methods. The church is financed by the collection or contribution of the members, which is taken only during the Lord’s day morning worship service in accordance with the teaching found in I Corinthians 16:1-2. At this time disciples are to give as they have been prospered and as they have purposed in their hearts (II Corinthians 9:7). As our guest, you are not expected to participate in the contribution, but you should feel free to do so if you wish.
You Can be Just a Christian!
With over 400 distinct religious bodies in our country, it might appear impossible to be Christian without being part of a denomination. It is not only possible, but there are actually millions of “Christians only” in this and other nations.
The Churches of Christ
Who are these people who seek to be only Christians?
The Congregations of which they are a part are usually known as “Churches of Christ.” This term is not used in a sectarian sense, but is intended to denote their desire to belong to Christ’s church. The Bible says, “All the churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).
However, it is just as correct to describe the church of which we read in the Bible as “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2), “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27), or “the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). These and similar Biblical phrases are not proper names, but descriptive expressions which show how the church is related to Christ and His Father.
Individually, Christ’s followers are known as “Christians” in the Bible.
“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). “If a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:16).
Never does a human name prefix this God-given name. Paul was one of the greatest of all Christians, but he did not want the disciples to be called “Paulites” or “Paulite Christians” (1 Corinthians 1:10-17).
A Distinctive Plea
The churches of Christ have a distinctive plea.
Of course, in many ways we agree with others striving to follow Christ.
- We believe in the divine inspiration of the entire Bible and that it is sufficient to guide us in all matters of faith.
- We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
- We believe in the death of Jesus Christ and His atonement for our sins.
- We believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ and in His ascension to the right hand of the Father.
- We believe that after death all men will be rewarded or punished in another life for the way they lived here.
- And with all people of real religious conviction, we insist that the moral principals of Jesus are absolute truths to be exemplified in the personal righteousness of the child of God.
The Bible ONLY
However, we not only believe that the Scriptures are inspired, but are also convicted that the New Testament must be our ONLY guide in religious faith.
God’s Word frequently warns us against changing the divine message (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 John 9-10; Revelation 22:18–19). We, therefore, have no creed or catechism to present, but accept Christ as our only creed and the Bible as our only guidebook.
In this way we are never prevented by an erroneous creed from accepting any truth which may be learned from God’s Word.
Restoration Rather Than Reformation
It is obvious that the religious world is badly divided.
Great leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin sought to correct erroneous teachings and practices. But the reformers often started at different points and thus arrived at different conclusions. Division rather than unity has resulted.
Churches of Christ, on the other hand, plead for the restoration of apostolic Christianity rather than a reformation of existing religious bodies.
Since all can agree that the early church was right, we should also be able to agree that we cannot be wrong if we succeed in reproducing that church today in every essential part.
While many things have changed in the twentieth century, the teachings of Jesus have not. Truth is absolute and unchangeable. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and we can save today as surely as in the first century if applied in the same way. ” The truth will make you free” (John 8:32).
Should you visit one of the churches of Christ you will find it worshipping God as did the early disciples??in spirit and truth? (John 4:24).
You will observe that it partakes of the communion every Sunday. This is because we are following the example of the early Christians who assembled every first day of the week to “break bread” (see Acts 20:7).
Likewise, in every other way the churches of Christ seek to reproduce New Testament Christianity in organization, in work, and in doctrine.
The early disciples were Christians only.
Although we live 1900 years later, we too can be Christians only if we will follow the same teachings given to these first followers of Jesus.
Christ said, “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). Just as surely as a planted acorn will produce only an oak, so God’s Word will produce Christians and nothing more. We invite your earnest consideration of this plea.