What to Expect at Berea Church of Christ
If you have visited other churches, you may notice some variations from this description, because we as a congregation are autonomous. We are not associated with any denomination or organized religious group. Let us walk you through a typical Sunday worship service:
As you arrive at Berea (50 Berea Church Rd.) there are parking spots designated for our guests and you will find the doors always open during our service times. As you enter, our hope is that you will be greeted with a friendly smile and offered a copy of our weekly bulletin we call "The Beacon". The worship service is located in an area were refer to as the “auditorium,” where you will find rows of pews for all those in attendance. There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose.
All songs and song numbers will be displayed on a large screen. The song number is used as a reference to a songbook located in the bookrack on the pew in front of you.
One of the unique things about us is that our worship music is “a-cappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. We simply want everyone to worship God in the purest way possible, focused on praise to our heavenly Father (I Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 5:18, 19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12). We hope that you will find the singing meaningful as well as inspirational. We invite everyone to worship in song.
Spoken prayers are a large part of our gatherings. We believe in the power of prayer, and we often pray for specific needs and requests.
Who preaches is not as important as what is preached. Our preacher does not have a special title. He is not referred to as Pastor or Reverend.
He does not wear any special clothing that sets him apart. He is one of us. The reason for this is our belief that all are equal in the priesthood of believers (Matthew 23:8-12; Galatians 3:26-28; I Peter 2:5,9).
The lesson will likely be from 25 to 35 minutes in length. You will find Bibles available for your use in the bookracks and the pews.
Inviting worshippers to make a commitment for Jesus will be a part of the sermon. At the close of the lesson, the speaker will “extend an invitation.” He will encourage those who wish to “respond” to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings. Someone will be at the front to meet and minister to any who respond.
Do not 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, or some to “identify” with this congregation.
If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during the service. The baptism will be by immersion (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2;12) and for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
The Lord's Supper
The Lord’s Supper will be included in the worship service every Sunday. The reason for this practice is our desire to follow New Testament teaching. The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
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 of grape juice will be distributed. The cups will be referred to as the “fruit of the vine,” symbolizing the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Each participant will drink the contents of one cup.
At Berea, baptized believers are encouraged and expected to participate in the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. If you choose not to participate, do not be embarrassed. Feel free to just pass the plate or tray to the person next to you. This Supper is the original way of remembering the sacrifices Jesus has made on our behalf.
Each Sunday, collection plates will be passed throughout the auditorium in order to collect the weekly financial offering (I Corinthians 16:1, 2). You are welcomed to make a financial offering but as our guest you are certainly not expected to. Feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection plate on down the row.
What Will Be Expected of You?
We place no expectations on our guests. You are welcome to participate, but do not feel obligated to do so. We hope you feel welcome with us!