There is a place for you and your family at Westside, and we want you to feel comfortable when you visit. However we know an unfamiliar place can be intimidating, so let us tell you what you can expect when you honor us with your presence Sunday morning.
You will enter a foyer area just inside the entrance doors. Then you will enter what we refer to as the “auditorium.” There will be rows of pews for the worshippers. There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose.
In a bookrack in front of your seat, there will be a songbook for your use during worship. When the song leader announces a page number, you can turn to that page number in the songbook to find the words and music. One of the unique things about churches of Christ is that the singing is “a cappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. This is a conviction with us, not just a preference. We are seeking to worship according to the New Testament pattern. Since the New Testament leaves instrumental music out, we believe it is best to exclude it, too. You may consider us narrow on this point, but we believe you will respect our reason for it. We also believe you’ll find the singing meaningfully because everyone is invited to participate in the singing.
There will be prayers during the worship time. Prayer is personal communication with God, so during the worship service different men will lead the congregation by praying on behalf of the church. In this way, the entire congregation participates in offering up the prayer to God. There may be prayers for specific needs and requests.
A predetermined scripture will be read by one of the men during the worship service. Typically it is read before the worship service sermon and is typically related to the topic of the sermon.
The Lord’s Supper will be included in the worship proceedings-because churches of Christ observe this memorial every Sunday. Again, the reason for this is our desire to follow New Testament teachings. The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of each week. We know this from the bible and from respected historian writers.
During this memorial, plates containing pieces of “unleavened bread” will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the broken body of Jesus. Each participating person will break off a piece of the bread and eat it.
Next, trays filled with small cups containing “fruit of the vine” (grape juice) symbolizing the blood shed by Jesus. Each participant will drink the contents of one of these cups.
(Place empty cups in racks next to song book racks)
Feel free to pass the plate or tray to the person next to you whether or not you need to participate.
At some point in the worship service a plate 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.
You will notice that the preacher doesn’t have a title. He won’t be referred to as Pastor or Reverend. He will probably be referred to as brother. Most often, we will call him by his first name. He won’t wear any special clothing or robes that set him apart from anyone else present. The reason for this is our belief in a priesthood of all believers. All Christians are on equal footing as far as status in the church.
The sermon will likely be from 20 to 30 minutes long. We think you will be surprisingly refreshed at how Bible-centered the sermon will be.
At the end of the sermon, the preacher will “offer an invitation.” This is simply a convenient time to invite those who are moved to make a public commitment or request prayer support. The preacher will encourage those who wish to “respond” to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings a song.
Don’t feel uncomfortable during this invitation. You will not be singled out in any way. There may be some who feel the need to respond, asking for prayers of the church for a specific need, or needing to confess sins, or asking to identify themselves with this congregation, or asking to be baptized.
If someone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during this service. The baptism will be by immersion and it will be for the remission of sins.
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. We would appreciate it if you would fill out a Visitor’s Card. Supply this information only if you are comfortable doing so.