To make this vision reality:
Because we believe in God, our heavenly Father, and are grateful for the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus, and because we sincerely want to obey him in every way that he shows us in his Word and as his Holy Spirit gives us the ability:
We agree before God to love and serve our Lord Jesus in unity with each other, as sisters and brothers in a family of believers.
We agree to honor, encourage, and pray for each other, asking that God will bless each person and give each individual person the ability to serve him well. In this way we hope to strengthen the entire body of believers in Christ.
United in our love for Jesus, we agree to use our energy, time, and resources to effectively serve our Lord, and tell everyone about Jesus Christ our Lord.
Worship is a word that is simple in definition but deep in meaning. Simply put, it means to express a deep and thankful love. When Jesus was asked what the most important way to obey God was, he replied with a two-part answer. The first part was to love God “with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Worship is part of that expression of love to God.
Worship is also personal. It is not something that someone else can do for you. It does not require a certain time or place; you can worship everywhere, always, with others or alone. On Sunday, however, we come together as a family and worship God as a community. You are welcomed as an important part of that community.
Group worship has the power to encourage you and others around you. Worship is joyful! We are told to "Rejoice in the Lord always;" amazingly, this was written by the Apostle Paul while he was in prison. We all know that life can be awfully hard sometimes, but it is often hardest when we are alone. Joining with others in worship is one of the ways that you can get close to God and let Him bring peace and joy into your life.
One of the things that you may notice right off is that we love to sing! We take our singing seriously. It is a special and important part of our worship. You may notice that we do all the singing ourselves. We gather to worship in unity. There is nothing more unifying than everybody singing together.
You may also notice that there is no piano or organ or band with us, just our voices. It is our choice to sing this way. We believe that our voices are a gift from God and that is what we offer back to Him in our songs. It is pure, it is simple, and we believe it to be beautiful because music is a creation of God.
It may be that you feel you can't sing, that you have a poor singing voice, or you don't know the songs. Please don't let that keep you from joining in. The words to the songs will be displayed on the screen at the front of the worship area. We believe God hears all voices as beautiful because he listens to the heart. But if singing aloud makes you uncomfortable, don’t feel pressured, let the words and the music fill your heart.
We believe in the power of prayer. You may notice that we pray a lot. It only makes sense to talk to the one you love! Some prayers are public and others private. As we are lead in public prayer, you are encouraged to silently add your own thanks and requests to God. And if you feel so inclined, an "Amen!" is welcome during a prayer.
There is also an opportunity to ask for specific items to be added to our public prayers. A list of prayer requests and family announcements is located near the entrance to the worship area before services each Sunday, where you can write down any concerns or thanks to be included in our prayers. And any one of us, whether a worship leader you might see up front, or the shy but smiling person sitting across the aisle, would be happy to pray with you or for you.
This is a central part of our worship. It has many names. You may know it as "communion" or "Eucharist" or "taking of the sacraments". Most often we refer to this as "The Lord's Supper" or "Communion."
Jesus established this simple "supper" during a Passover celebration with his followers, shortly before he was betrayed and crucified. His instructions were simple. He broke the bread to serve it, and said, "Remember me." He then took a cup of wine, and again said, "Remember me." He explained that the bread was to remind us of his body, while the wine would remind us of his blood. The very existence of his body and blood showed that he had become a real human being. Because he was also perfect, he was qualified to offer his body and blood through his own death, as the punishment for the sins of the world.
You are welcome to join with us as we remember Jesus, his life, his sacrifice, and his resurrection. Normally, a tray with a yeast-free cracker, like the flat bread that was served at the Passover, would be passed to you. Later a tray with small cups of simple grape juice would be passed. You would take a small piece of bread and eat it, then a cup of the juice. With COVID-19 in mind, we are now using individual packets that combine juice and a wafer to minimize possible virus transmission. Either way, as we take these bits of food, we allow our minds to offer thanks and remember that God was willing to become a man, in the form of Jesus, so we could know him better. We consider how much Jesus must have loved us all, how we don't deserve the love that is offered, but we gladly accept it.
As we eat, we may also ask that God would transform us to be more like Jesus ourselves.
Usually after the Lord's Supper is complete, an opportunity is given to contribute monetarily to the work of the church. Pre-COVID-19, a basket was passed; now, we have a collection box at the back of the meeting area. If you are visiting with us, please do not feel any pressure to put anything into the collection. If you do choose to give, though, it is important to consider why you give. We do not demand a "tithe" because God does not demand it. God has some simple instructions on giving, it should be done cheerfully. It should be done from the heart; as a gift, recognizing that every blessing we have comes from God our Father. It is an expression of love and gratitude, not a duty.