We stand on the principles of the Biblical description of the New Testament church as determined from the Spirit-inspired Word of God for what the church was like in the beginning as understood by the Apostles. Free from all human creeds and structures, we choose to worship as our Lord has given instruction.
For your understanding and comfort, we would like to present an assembly for a worship service of the Beltline Church of Christ.
There may be slight variations from this description from time to time because every church of Christ is autonomous. Self-ruled and Independent but we will never stray from the intent of worship as we understand our creator desires from us.
The Beltline church of Christ has erected a church building for the convenient gathering of our church so we can meet together under one roof. 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. We encourage sitting in the center and front sections so as to have the best viewing and hearing of the audio and video presentations.
In a bookrack near you, there will be a hymnbook for your use. If the song leader announces a number, you can turn to that number in the hymnbook to find the words and music. Often, the words and music for a song will be projected on a screen for all to read.
One of the unique things about churches of Christ is that the music is “a cappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. This is a conviction with us, not just a preference. It has its roots in scripture. We are seeking to worship according to the New Testament pattern. Since the New Testament gives no direction of the use of instrumental music, we believe it’s best to exclude it in practice, too.
We think you’ll find the singing meaningful, with everyone being invited to participate in raising our voices to God and encouragement to one another.
There will be several prayers during the service. There are typically prayers for specific needs and requests of the church, specific members, and those that we know who need God’s tender touch.
You will notice that the preacher doesn’t have a title. He won’t be referred to as Pastor or Reverend. He may be addressed as Dr., but only if he has earned that academic credential. He will probably be referred to as “Brother” or “Mister” or, possibly, just called by his first name.
He won’t be wearing any ecclesiastical vestments which set him apart. The reason for this is our belief in the priesthood of all believers- that all are equal.
The sermon will likely be from 20 to 30 minutes. We trust you will find it refreshingly Bible-centered.
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 or request prayer support. He will encourage those who wish to “respond” to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings a hymn.
Don’t feel ill-at-ease during this invitation. You will not be singled out in any way. There may be several who respond…or none.
Some may respond for baptism, some to confess sins, some to ask for prayer for a specific need, some to “identify” or “place membership” with this church.
If anyone responds for baptism, you most likely will witness the baptism immediately following their public confession of faith. The baptism will be by immersion. And it will be for the remission of sins.
If you visit on a Sunday morning, the Lord’s Supper will be a part of the worship proceedings. Churches of Christ observe this memorial every Sunday.
The reason for this is our desire to follow New Testament teaching. It is recorded in multiple circumstances that the first-century church celebrated this observance on the first day of the week. We also know from respected historians that in early centuries the Lord’s Supper was an every-Sunday commemoration.
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 be distributed. The 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.
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.
If you visit on a Sunday morning, containers will be passed to collect the weekly financial offering.
As our guest, you are not expected to make a donation. Feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection plate on down the row.
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.
We’re a diverse group, coming from varied backgrounds, and at different stages of knowledge and spiritual growth.
We don’t know everything. We may not do everything exactly right. We haven’t arrived at heaven but we are on the journey there. We are not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or righteousness. We are brought together by our recognition that we are all sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus.
That’s the reason we can worship together, stick together, and, with God’s help, accomplish things that make a difference!
The bottom line, you will find people who love Jesus and love the Bible.