What can I expect in the Sunday morning worship assembly?
Singing—Our congregational singing is a cappella; that is, we sing without musical instruments. It is simple and beautiful. This tradition is a valued part of our heritage in Churches of Christ.
Media— We use a variety of media in our worship assemblies, because we want every generation to be able to worship God in meaningful ways. While traditional readings of Scripture, congregational singing, the Lord’s Supper, and sermons are the backbone of our assemblies, we use other media as well. You might experience art, drama, video, testimonies, slide shows, and special music. While our singing as a congregation is without instruments, some of the other media include instrumental music.
Special Music—We encourage and empower gifted singers in our church family to use their voices to bless the church and to glorify God. This might be a solo or an ensemble of singers. We have a small praise team, which adds to the beautiful sound and helps the congregation sing along with harmony.
Male and Female Participation— While it is non-traditional in many Churches of Christ for women to participate in public roles in worship, at East Sunshine women participate in a variety of ways that we believe are biblical. We believe that men and women are gifted by the Holy Spirit in a way that builds up the church and brings praise to God. In the New Testament, both men and women used their gifts in the worship assembly for these purposes.
Variety of Expression—We have an atmosphere of freedom in which people express themselves according to the way God is working in their hearts and minds. We may stand while we sing or sometimes kneel. Some may clap their hands in celebration at times, or lift them in acknowledgement of God’s love or power or in dependence on Him for life, while some express themselves more quietly.
Lord’s Supper—We share the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Servers pass trays to each aisle. On occasion we may gather at tables located around the auditorium or we may hold the bread and juice and take it together at the same time. We practice open communion, inviting everyone to share the Supper with us. We believe that this is consistent with the first century church’s practice of hospitality. The disciples learned from Jesus that eating with all people was an important way to show God’s love and to call them into a new way of life.
Offering—The members of our church family have an opportunity to give financially each week in order to support the ministries that the church uses to fulfill our purpose of sharing life in Jesus. Guests, of course, may give if they desire, but are not expected to contribute. We invite guests to fill out a Guest Card and place it in the offering basket.
Time—We set aside 9:00—10:30 a.m. for our main worship assembly. Yet because we want to give adequate time for praise, the teaching of Scripture (about 35 minutes), and public responses, there are times we go beyond 10:30. We believe the clock is meant to serve us in our assembly, not master us. After the assembly we have Bible classes, from 11:00 - 11:45.
Children—We believe it is important for all ages to be together for part of the worship. The children’s ministry team and children age three through fifth grade are dismissed to Kids’ Community around 9:45. Another group of volunteers leave the assembly around 10:20. So that we can ensure the children’s security and make them comfortable in their unfamiliar setting, guests register children who are infants through 36 months in the age-appropriate classroom. Guests register children 3 through 5th grade at the Welcome Center in the foyer. A cry room (east side of the auditorium) and a room for nursing mothers (west side) are available at any time.
Dress—Our dress is mostly casual. It is not necessary to dress up to be a part of our worship assembly.
Opportunity to Respond—We recognize that people come into the worship time with a variety of situations and needs, like illness, addiction, depression, a strained relationship, unemployment, or a need for confession. Some even want to profess their faith in Jesus and be baptized. At some point in the assembly, usually at the end of the sermon, people are invited to respond to God in a public way. The church and the leadership will be ready to pray and encourage.
Questions?—If you have any questions, feel free to inquire at the Welcome Center or to approach anyone you saw serve or lead in the assembly. You may also call the church office (889-5455).