An Introduction to Our Worship
We welcome you to the Sunday morning worship service of the church of Christ at Old National. If you have not worshiped with our congregation before, here is some information to familiarize you with our service.
Our style of worship is simple, patterned after the examples and teachings of the earliest Christians in the New Testament. It typically lasts approximately 60 to 75 minutes. Feel free to sit anywhere...there is no reserved seating. You are encouraged to fill out a welcome card and drop it in the offering tray as it is passed among our members. This information is for record-keeping and to thank our guests for coming. You may also use it to request prayer, a home visit, Bible study, or to provide other information to the elders and ministers as you feel necessary.
There may be several prayers during the service, led by various men of the congregation, while others silently pray along with them. We offer prayers of thanksgiving and praise, as well as lifting up concerns and needs that we are aware of. You may make your needs known and they will be included in our prayer lists.
Our worship in song is without instrumental accompaniment. Though not opposed to instrumental music outside the assembly, we believe that a cappella congregational singing conforms to the New Testament pattern of worship. It also enhances everyone's personal involvement in the worship. For more in-depth study on this topic, please see our "Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Worship."
The sermon, which usually lasts about 25 to 40 minutes, is the time when the "good news" of God's love and Jesus' redemptive life is proclaimed and applied to our lives today. We believe you will find it encouraging, relevant, and Bible-centered.
Communion (The Lord's Supper)
We celebrate the Lord's Supper every Sunday. The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of the week. Jesus established the practice of sharing the bread and the cup so Christians might remember the sacrifice of His body and blood to make a new covenant with God possible for us.
"While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body.' And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.'" (Matthew 26:26-29). During this memorial, plates containing pieces of unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. Each Christian will take a piece of the bread and eat it.
Next, trays filled with small cups containing "fruit of the vine" (grape juice) will be passed around. Each Christian will drink the contents of one of the cups.
We leave to each person the decision to participate in the Supper. If you choose not to participate, feel free to pass the plate or tray to the person next to you.
Typically following the Lord's Supper, we provide an opportunity to make an offering. This is the means by which our members make their weekly contributions in support of our ministries. Occasionally, we will also take a collection for special needs in our community or throughout the world. As our guest you are welcome, but not expected, to make a donation, especially if you are unaware of the church's intended use of the funds.
You will notice that the preacher doesn't have a title such as Pastor or Reverend. He will probably be referred to as brother, mister, or, just called by his first name. The term "Pastor" is from a Greek word that is also translated "shepherd," and is used in the Bible to denote the responsibility of the elder to provide guidance and safety for the congregation. It is not an automatic title for the preacher, unless the preacher also serves as an elder.
The preacher won't be wearing any ecclesiastical vestments (special robes), which set him apart. The reason for this is our belief in the priesthood of all believers. We affirm that all believers are priests and are equal in God's sight.
At the close of most sermons, the preacher typically extends an invitation. This is simply a time to invite those who are moved to do so to make a commitment of membership, be baptized into Christ, or request prayers.
The preacher will encourage those who wish to "respond" to come to the front of the auditorium, while the congregation sings a hymn. This is not a time to feel uncomfortable; no one will be singled out in any way. There may be several who respond, or there may be none. Some may respond for baptism. Some may confess sins. Some may ask for prayer for a specific need. Some may want to "identify" or "place membership" with this church. If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during this service. The baptism will be by immersion and for the remission of sin.
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