We want you to visit us at the McDonough Church of Christ and we want you to feel comfortable. We know an unfamiliar place can be intimidating. Let us tell you what you can expect when you honor us with a visit.
NOTE: This is not intended to generalize what we believe-- OR cut-short the deep, intimate relationships between each member and our mighty God. Each of these acts or details are parts of our worship that are intended to express our love, need for, and gratitude towards our Heavenly Father... We are simply striving to express these things with a consistency that mirrors that of the New Testament church as we serve others, worship God, and long for Heaven.
A brief description of our background may help you understand us better. Our congregation began as a part of "The Restoration Movement". The movement's goal was 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 that each congregation must constantly question. We want to be a Bible-centered church. Although we can agree that some our conclusions aren't flawless, our practices are sometimes colored by habit, preference, tradition, or convenience-- and we would like to do our best to worship/live as the Bible instructs, deeply considering both things spoken of and circumstances which it is silent about.
Now, let us walk you through a worship service. There may be some variations from this description because every Church of Christ is autonomous.
Across the globe, many congregations meet in homes or rented facilities. However, most, for the sake of convenience, have built a building where the Church can meet together. You will find numerous classrooms where we hold Bible Study together either downstairs and in our Education Building. For our worship service, we all join together in what we refer to as the "auditorium". There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose. We're just glad you're with us.
One of the first details you may hear about the Church of Christ -- and something that might seem strange -- is that the music is "a cappella". That is, throughout the entire worship service, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. As a congregation, we consider this to be a conviction, not just a preference. Many directly associate this idea with our "restoration" heritage. Rather, as we are seeking to worship according to the New Testament pattern- we find this to be an important detail to study about and practice with consistency. Since the New Testament leaves instrumental music out, we believe it's best to exclude it also (1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:18, 19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12). Others, within the religious community, may consider us narrow on this point: but we hope you will respect our reason and conviction on the matter. Knowing the reasons we feel this way and paying further attention to the intimate words we are expressing to God: we also think you will find the singing beautiful, as everyone participates & contributes their own voices, expressing their hearts to God.
There will be several prayers during the service. It is a gift from God, that we might learn to trust in his power in our lives and we might grow in our relationship with him by practicing healthy communication to the One who best understands our needs.
The following is a list of Bible Truths in Luke 11:1-13, the story of Jesus teaching about prayer.
- Jesus prayed. Luke 11:1.
- Jesus taught the disciples to pray to God: - As a Father. Luke 11:2. - With a desire to see God honored in the world. Luke 11:2. -With a desire that God's kingdom come into the world. Luke 11:2. - Recognizing their total dependence on God for provision of their daily needs and for protection from evil. Luke 11:3-4. - Asking for God's provision and protection. Luke 11:3-4.
- Jesus taught that believers should pray together for the provision and protection of all believers. Luke 11:3-4.
- A person should be bold and persistent, not fearful or shy, in making requests of God. Luke 11:8-9.
- A person can pray to God at any time and in any situation. Luke 11:5-9.
- Jesus taught the disciples to ask for God's blessing and He promised that God would answer. Luke 11:9-10
This is just a small detail, but you will notice that the preacher doesn't have a title. He will not be referred to as Pastor or Reverend. He will probably be referred to as brother or by his first name. He will not be wearing any ecclesiastical clothing which sets him apart. The reason for this is that we are all equal in the priesthood of believers.
At the close of the sermon, the preacher will extend an "invitation". This is simply an expedient time to invite those who are moved to do so to make a commitment, ask for forgiveness, or request prayer support. He will encourage those who wish to "respond" to come to the front of the auditorium and talk to the preacher on the front row, while the congregation sings a hymn. Some may respond for baptism, some to confess sins, some to ask for prayer for a specific need. If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during this service. The baptism will be by immersion for the remission of sins (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12; Acts 2:38).
The Lord's Supper
If you visit on a Sunday morning, the Lord's Supper will be included in the worship proceedings because the Church of Christ observes this memorial every Sunday. Again, the reason for this is our desire to follow New Testament teaching. The first century church celebrated this observance every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). We assume from this that they did it the first day of every week and we know from respected historians that in early centuries, the Lord's Supper was an every-Sunday commemoration (Neander, Eusebius). During this memorial, plates containing unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Each participating person will break off a piece of the bread and eat it. Next, trays filled with small cups will be distributed. The cups will contain "fruit of the vine", usually grape juice, symbolizing the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). This is a personal experience established by Christ, himself, that those who are saved should observe to remember his sacrifice and its direct connection with ourselves.
If you visit on a Sunday morning, trays will be passed to collect the weekly financial offering (1 Corinthians 16:1,2). As our guest, you are not expected to make a donation. Feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection plate on down the row.
We were brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus. (Mark 2:17; Romans 5:6-9; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7) That is 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 deep to find our failures, but you will find people who love God and the Bible. You will not find anything in our services that is not sanctioned by the Bible. We sincerely strive to be Bible centered Christians.