About Our ChurchWe want you to visit us at the Church of Christ. And we want you to feel comfortable. But we know an unfamiliar place can be intimidating. So, let us tell you what you can expect when you honor us with a visit.
A brief description of our background may help you understand us. We are a part of “The Restoration Movement.” Our goal is to “restore” the New Testament church in our time – to determine from the Bible what the church was like in the beginning, and to be like that. We believe this is a worthy and reverent goal. We want to be a Bible-centered church, and we try to be. Yet, we know that our conclusions aren’t flawless, and that our practices are sometimes colored by habit, preference, tradition, or convenience.
Now, let us walk you through a worship service. There may be some variations from this description, because every church of Christ is autonomous. Self-ruled. Independent.
Some churches of Christ meet in homes or rented facilities. However, most, for the sake of convenience, have erected a church building. You will enter what we refer to as the “auditorium.” There will be rows of chairs or pews for the worshipers. There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose.
In a book rack near you there will be a hymnbook for your use. When the song leader announces a number you can turn to it in the hymnbook to find the words and music. One of the unique things about churches of Christ – and something you may find strange – is that the music is “acappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. This is a conviction with us, not just a preference. Its roots are in our restoration heritage. We are seeking to worship according to the New Testament pattern. Since the New Testament leaves instrumental music out, we believe it’s best to exclude it, too.1 You may consider us narrow on this point, but we believe you will.
What Will Be Expected of You?
There will be several prayers during the service. And there may be prayers for specific needs and requests.
What Will Be Expected of You?
Nothing at all! You are welcome to participate, but don’t feel obligated to. Just observe if that is your choice. You may be asked to fill out a Visitor’s Card. This simply provides information so the church can write or call to thank you for your visit. Supply the information if you are comfortable doing so, but feel free to decline this request if you prefer.
What kind of people can you expect to find? Pretty much the entire spectrum, as in any group. You will find traditionalists – and you’ll find those who prefer anything new over everything old. You will find those of us who mistake our traditions for absolute truth, and get pretty bent out of shape when they are tampered with. And you’ll find those of us who are a bit smug at having been liberated from tradition. You will find legalists and liberals – and a lot of people in between. You will find happy people – and grouchy people; friendly people – and unfriendly people; loving people and cantankerous people and people who are learning – and people who already know everything. You’ll find us to be like the little community that has a billboard at the edge of town which says, “The Home of 3,000 Friendly People – And a Few Old Soreheads.” You get the picture. We’re a diverse group, coming from varied backgrounds and different stages of knowledge and spiritual growth.
We don’t know everything. We don’t do everything right. We don’t always treat each other as we should. We haven’t arrived – we’re just on the journey. But you see, we were not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or righteousness. We were brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus. Amen.
That’s the reason we can worship together, stick together, and with God’s help, accomplish some things that make a difference. You won’t have to look very far to find our failures. But, you will find people who love Jesus and love the Bible!
1. I Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12
2. Matt. 23:8-12; Gal. 3:26-28; I Peter 2:5,9
3. Acts. 8:35-39; Rom. 6:3-4; Col 2:12
4. Acts 2:38
5. Acts 20:7
6. Neander, Eusebius
7. I Cor. 11 :23-25
8. I Cor. 16:1-2
9. Mark 2: 17; Rom. 5:6-9; Eph. 1 :7; I John 1:7
Joe R. Barnett