- Acappella Congregational Singing – Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19
- Prayer – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- Lord’s Supper – Acts 20:7
- Offering – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
- Lesson from God’s Word – 2 Timothy 4:2
The church of Christ is not a human denomination – we are simply Christ’s church. (Matthew 16:18). We are a group of people meeting in a common place with a common goal. Our goal is to be the New Testament first century church in our time. We determine from the Bible what the church was like at its beginning and imitate it. In all things we are a Bible centered church. We strive to follow the perfect example and teachings of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. However, do not expect us to be perfect because we are humans. (Philippians 3:12).
b. Bible Classes
Before the Sunday morning worship service, we enjoy Bible classes for all ages. Each class is Bible based and planned as a study that is relevant for today. You and your family are welcome to join us. We encourage you to participate within your comfort range and to ask or answer questions.
c. The Worship Services
If you have visited other congregations of the church of Christ, you may notice some differences in our worship service. Although we are one body (2 Corinthians 12:12) and unified in the truth of God’s Word, there will be variations in some areas. These might include times of services, the order of services, type of songbooks, use of projectors, etc.
d. The Setting
Some churches of Christ meet in homes or in rented facilities. However, most congregations find that for the sake of convenience owning a building in which the church can meet is best. The Sunday worship services will take place in the auditorium area. You may sit anywhere you choose as there are no “reserved” seats.
One unique thing about churches of Christ is that the music is “a capella.” We sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. For us this is not a preference; it is a conviction that this is what the Bible commands us to do. A Capella singing is our effort to continue the practices of the church as they were in the beginning. Since the New Testament prescribes the music of the church to be “singing” (Ephesians 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:16), we sing and exclude musical instruments. We might be considered narrow-minded on this point, but secular history corroborates this point. We hope that you will find the singing to be uplifting and meaningful. We encourage you to join in as all are welcome to participate. We do not have a designated group of singers like a choir. We have congregational singing.
You will notice that the preacher does not have a formal title. He won’t be referred to as “Pastor” or “Reverend.” Most will refer to him by his first name. The preacher will not wear any ecclesiastical vestments that set him apart in any way from the rest of the congregation. The reason for this is the belief that the Bible teaches that all believers make up the priesthood of God in this New Testament time (1 Peter 2:9). The sermon will be about 25-30 minutes long and we anticipate that you will find it Bible-centered and relevant.
At the close of the sermon, the preacher will “extend the Lord’s invitation.” This is simply a convenient time to invite those who wish to make a request for prayer for specific needs or for a person to request baptism. The preacher will encourage those who wish to respond to the invitation to come to the front while the congregation stands and sings an invitation song that has been preselected and announced. There may be several, one or none who respond. If any respond for baptism you will witness the baptism immediately during this service. The baptism will be by immersion (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12) and the purpose of the baptism will be for the remission of that person’s sins (Acts 2:38).
There will be several prayers offered during the services. You will notice we are specific in our requests and needs, and these prayers will always be offered with thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:6)
i. Lord’s Supper (Communion)
If you visit us on a Sunday, the Lord’s Supper will always be a part of our worship service. Churches of Christ observe this memorial every Sunday as did the first-century church. (Acts 20:7). During this memorial which was established by Jesus as a time to remember Him (1 Corinthians 11:24-26), plates containing unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus. Each person will have the opportunity to partake of the bread (Acts 2:41-42). After the bread has been passed trays with small cups will be passed. The cups contain “fruit of the vine” symbolizing the blood of Jesus that was shed for our sins. Again each person will be given the opportunity to drink the contents of one of the cups (Acts 2:41-42) and place the empty cup back in the tray.
In addition, if you visit on a Sunday, plates will be passed to collect a weekly financial offering just as was done in the first-century church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). As our guest, you are not expected to make a donation. So, please feel free to just pass the plate on to the next person.
k. What Will Be Expected of You
Nothing at all! You are welcome to participate if you are comfortable doing so, but please don’t feel compelled to do so. Just observe if you so choose. You may be asked to fill out a Visitor’s Card. This simply provides information about you so the church can write or call to personally thank you for your visit. Supply the information if you are comfortable doing so or feel free to decline the request if you prefer. The card will also provide you an opportunity to request that someone call you.
l. The People
What kind of people can you expect to find? As in any group you will find the entire spectrum – people of different backgrounds (Ethnic, Social, Educational, and the list can go on). You may encounter those who are exceedingly joyful and those who are more reserved; those who easily converse with new people and those who may be a bit shy. Some of us are new Christians and some of us have been Christians for decades. Therefore, although we are all learning, we are learning at different stages of knowledge of the Word of God and spiritual maturity. In a nutshell, we are a diverse group, coming from varied backgrounds. We are all on the same journey to being mature in Christ.
We are not brought together by any illusion of our own perfection or righteousness, but, rather by the recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior. (Mark 2:17; Romans 5:6-9; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7).
You will find people who love Jesus and are striving to be like Him (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Peter 2:21). We are a “family” (Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 3:14-15; Hebrews 2:11; 1 Peter 4:17). You may hear the announcement of fellowship activities that are going on. We try to spend as much time with one another as we can just as any family would. Most of our activities are open to all. If you hear one mentioned that interests you, please inquire about it from the preacher or any member of the congregation that you may have met.
The West Side church of Christ congregation began meeting in 1963. The congregation began meeting in a private home, but in a short time outgrew that facility. The congregation then moved into rented quarters for a time until the 17 acres at the corner of Smith Road and North Revere Road was purchased in 1965. Very soon after the land was purchased plans were drawn up for the existing building on that property. The congregation met in its new building in April 1966. Part of the land owned by the church was sold as lots along North Revere Road. This allowed the church to be debt free and also to build a house for the preacher.
The West Side church of Christ has served the west side of Akron for more than 45 years.
Header photo supplied by Freely. Thank you!