We want you to feel comfortable. But we know an unfamiliar place can seem intimidating. So, let us tell you what you can expect when you honor the Lord with a visit with us.
We want to be a Christ-centered church with a great respect for His word, the Bible. We try to be. Yet, we know our practices are colored by habit, preference, tradition or convenience. So we continue to study the Bible and make our practices as much like the early church as possible.
There may be some variations between the Southwestern church and other churches of Christ because every church of Christ is independent and self-governed. We have selected elders, men with a strong scriptural knowledge and good reputation, who oversee the spiritual needs of the church. We believe that these men are answerable to Jesus, the head of the church.1
Now, let us walk through what you can expect at a typical worship service.
- Lord’s Supper
- What Is Expected of You?
- The People
One of the unique things about our worship–is that we sing “a cappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. Christians originally did not use instruments in their worship even though they were readily available in the 1st century. Based on their example we worship without instruments.3 We want our worship to be pleasing to God not only in our attitudes but also in our actions. We hope you will find our singing meaningful, with everyone invited to participate.
His sermon will likely last from 20 to 30 minutes. We think you will find it both interesting and refreshingly Bible centered.
There may be several who respond or none. Some may respond asking to be baptized. Some may confess sins or weaknesses in their lives. Some may come to ask for prayers for specific needs or problems in their lives. Some may ask to be “identified with” the Southwestern congregation. Some may come forward just to show caring support for fellow members of their church family.
If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness their confession of faith in Jesus Christ followed by their immersion in water for the forgiveness of their sins.5 This essential component of salvation may be administered by the preacher, an elder, or even a friend.6
During the Lord’s Supper, plates containing pieces of unleavened (no yeast) bread will be passed through the congregation. This bread symbolizes the body of Jesus offered on our behalf on the cross.8 Each participating person will break off a piece of the bread and eat it.
Next, trays of small cups will be passed. The cups contain “fruit of the vine,” that is, grape juice. It symbolizes the blood of Jesus, also as offered on the cross.9 Each participant will drink the contents of one of the cups and then put the empty cup back in the tray.
Don’t be embarrassed if you choose not to participate. Feel free to just pass the plate or tray to the person next to you.
We would appreciate it if you would fill out a “visitor’s card” so we can have a record of your visit.
We hope you will find that we love Jesus and love the Bible–God’s word to guide us.
1. 1 Peter 5:1-4, Titus 1:6-9
2. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
3. 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:8,19 Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12
4. Matthew 23:8-12; Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Peter 2:5-9
5. Acts 2:38
6. Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12
7. Acts 20:7
8. 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
9. Mark 2:17; Romans 5:6-9; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7[/tab]
Adapted from What You Can Expect When You Visit the Church of Christ by Joe Barnett.