What to Expect
If you have not worshipped with our congregation before, here is some information to familiarize you with our service.
- Our style of worship is simple, patterned after the examples and teachings of the earliest Christians in the New Testament.
- It typically lasts from seventy-five to ninety minutes.
- Feel free to sit anywhere, there are no reserved seats.
- If you feel comfortable in doing so, please fill out a welcome card and drop it in the offering baskets when they are passed or in the offering box in the foyer as you leave. (We use it for record-keeping and to thank our guests for coming). You may also use it to submit prayer requests or other information to the elders and ministers.
You’ll notice that our worship in song is without instrumental accompaniment. We believe that a cappella congregational singing both enhances our personal involvement in the worship, and conforms to the New Testament example (a cappella literally means “in the manner of the church,” or “as in the chapel”).
In 1974 the congregation hired its first part-time preacher, and augmented that in 1985 with a full-time “personal” minister/evangelist whose primary duties were to respond to personal needs of members and the community. In 1989 the church added a part-time youth minister, and eventually expanded the part-time preaching position into a full-time role. In 2001 a part-time children’s minister was added. Currently the church has a full-time pulpit minister, a full-time outreach minister, a full-time youth/family minister, a full-time children’s minister, a part-time worship and media manager, and a part-time office manager.
There will be several prayers during the service. And there may be prayers for specific needs and requests.
The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of every week. Jesus established the practice of sharing the bread and the cup so Christians might remember weekly the sacrifice of his body and blood to make a new covenant with God possible for us. During this memorial, plates containing pieces of unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus. Each participating person will break off a piece of the bread and eat it. Next, trays filled with small cups will contain “fruit of the vine,” usually grape juice, symbolizing the blood of Jesus. Each participant will drink the contents of one of the cups. We leave to each person the decision to participate in the Supper. 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.
Typically following the Lord’s Supper, we provide an opportunity to make an offering. This is the means by which our members make their weekly contributions in support of our ministries. Occasionally, we will also take a collection for special needs in our community or throughout the world. As our guest you are welcome but not expected to make a donation.
You will notice that the person who preaches doesn’t have a title such as Pastor or Reverend. He or she will probably be referred to by his or her first name and won’t be wearing any ecclesiastical vestments (special robes). The reason for this is our belief in the priesthood of all believers. We affirm that all believers are equal in God’s sight. The sermon, which usually lasts 20-25 minutes, is the time when the “good news” of God’s love and Jesus’ redemptive life is proclaimed and applied to our lives today. We believe you will find it encouraging, relevant and Bible-centered.
At the close of some sermons, the one who is preaching may “extend an invitation.” This is simply a time to invite those who are moved to do so to make a commitment or request prayer support. The one preaching will encourage those who wish to “respond” to come to the front of the auditorium, while the congregation sings a hymn. This is not a time to feel uncomfortable; no one will be singled out in any way. There may be several who respond, or there may be none. Some may respond for baptism. Some may confess sins. Some may ask for prayer for a specific need. Some may want to “identify” or “place membership” with this church. If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during this service. The baptism will be by immersion and for the remission of sin.