We understand that visiting a church congregation for the first time can create some apprehension. You are uncertain of what to expect. To help you feel more comfortable, we will share a brief description of some things you may notice…when you visit us.
…is a central part of everything we do. In fact, the Bible is the only thing we look to as a source for truth about God and things that impact on one’s relationship with Him. While we may, from time-to-time, utilize various books or other materials in classes or group discussions, it is always the Bible we look to for truth, for answers, for guidance. Why such honor for and reliance upon the Bible? We believe the Bible is “inspired” or “God-breathed”. That is to say, that the Lord God guided the writing of each word, each phrase, each idea that is expressed in the Bible. Another way of emphasizing the singular importance of the Bible is to acknowledge that it is…”the Word of God”. (2 Timothy 3:12)
SIMPLICITY IN WORSHIP
We seek to follow New Testament practices emphasizing simplicity in worship. We don’t want people to feel that they are part of a “spectator audience” watching a carefully orchestrated production. Rather, we seek to encourage each person present to be a vital participant in worship intended to honor God and glorify His name. Even though simple, we strive for our worship to be Spirit-filled, heart-felt, personal expressions of praise to God.
Our time of collective worship will include singing, prayer, sharing in communion, looking into God’s Word through a Bible lesson presentation (“sermon”), and a voluntary contribution. Since you are visiting with us, please do not feel obligated to participate in this collection of monies. This is the manner in which members support ministries of this congregation. (Ephesians 5:19-20, James 5:13, I Timothy 4:13, I Thessalonians 5:17, Mark 16:15-16, Romans 1:14-17, 2 Timothy 4:2, Matthew 26:26-30, I Corinthians 11:23-29, Acts 20:7, Luke 6:38, Romans 12:8, 2 Corinthians 9:7)
…is called a capella. You will notice that we don’t use the piano, organ, or other musical instruments to accompany the beautiful voices as we sing. That’s what a capella means. Why is this our practice? Is it because we can’t afford to buy or rent a piano? No, it is by design and purpose. First, God’s Word instructs us to “sing and make melody in your hearts”, encouraging personal participation in worship, rather than listening to the music. Also, it is in harmony with early Christian practices, recognizing that for the initial five to six centuries of Christianity, church music was a capella-the simple, beautiful voices of people, the entire congregation, joined in praising God. (Ephesians 5:19)
THE LORD’S SUPPER or COMMUNION
…is shared each week during our Sunday worship. This simple act of reverence follows the example of Jesus as he shared his last supper with his disciples. Jesus told them that the bread was “his body” and the cup or fruit of the vine was “his blood”. As we share these emblems, we reflect upon Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross and the promise-indeed, the Good News of eternal life offered through Jesus Christ. During this time of worship, trays will be passed to the congregation. The first tray to be passed will contain unleavened “bread”. Typically, each Christian will take a small piece of this bread, again, symbolic of Jesus’ body, and eat it as they meditate upon the loving sacrifice of Jesus. Next a tray containing individual cups of “fruit of the vine” (grape juice), representing the blood of Jesus, will be passed. Each Christian present takes one of the cups and drinks, placing the empty cup back into the tray. (Matthew 26: 26-29)
You, also, will notice that WE ARE A DIVERSE group of people-of different ages, various ethnic backgrounds, some married, some single. Some here have been Christians for many years and have tremendous Bible knowledge. Others are new Christians. Still others are just beginning that search for meaning in life.
Yes, we are diverse. But we find richness in the diversity-because each individual brings their unique talents, abilities, and experiences to share. While we are diverse, WE ARE ONE. We hope you notice that we have several things in common. Namely, we are a very close community-indeed, a family seeking to grow in devotion to God and in service to people. We are committed to building strong relationships of love and understanding, looking beyond the things that so frequently divide.
Together, we are on a journey to encourage one another and those around us to know Jesus-the Risen Savior – as Lord of our lives. We invite you to join us in this journey. (Romans 12:3-8 & 15:5-7, I Corinthians 12:12-27, Mark 16:1-6, Matthew 7:21-27)