WHAT TO EXPECT

Coming to a new place for the first time can be an unsettling experience. When you come to visit us at the Gilroy Church of Christ, we certainly do not want you to feel uncomfortable in any way, so let us give you a preview of what to expect when you visit with us.

Background


We trace our "roots" back to the church that was established on the Day of Pentecost following the crucifixion of Jesus as recorded in Acts chapter 2. About 3000 people were baptized that day "...and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47 - KJV). All the saved were added by the Lord to His church. He promised to build it (Matthew 16:18), and He is the undisputed head of it (Ephesians 1:22-23).

We try to emulate every thing about that New Testament church. Hence, we are a Bible-centered church that spends a lot of time in Bible study. We want every element of our doctrine and practice to be authorized from the New Testament by direct commands, necessary inferences, or approved apostolic ex
amples.
We are vitally concerned about "speaking where the Bible speaks, and being silent where the Bible is silent." We know that God is the source of all truth, and He has already revealed to man "...all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3 - KJV). We just want to abide totally in the doctrine of Christ (II John 9 - KJV).

The Setting


An hour before our Sunday morning worship assembly, we have a period of informal Bible study classes for people of all ages. Our visitors are usually greeted at the door, and we will be more than happy to help you take your children to the appropriate classes. If they are a bit timid about going to class on your first visit, they are welcome to remain with you in the adult Bible class.

Following the Bible study class period, all will assemble in the auditorium. Should you need a nursery facility, just exit the auditorium and the nursery is located to the left. Should you need a restroom, just exit the auditorium and you will find them located to the right.

The Worship on Sunday


Following a brief greeting from the pulpit, our song service will begin. You will find hymn books in the rack in front of you, and the song leader will announce the number of the song to be sung. Just turn to that number to find the words and music. The numbers of the hymns to be sung will generally be posted on a board to the right of the pulpit in the front of the auditorium.

Historical records and biblical references show us that the church of the first century used a cappella music in singing praises to God. That is, singing of hymns without the accompaniment of mechanical instruments of music. This is one of the unique things about churches of Christ - and something you might find strange. This conviction of ours is based upon the examples and commands of the New Testament. We are commanded to "sing" (Ephesians 5:18-19), not "sing and play." The power to
"teach and admonish" is found in the words of the songs, not the beat of the music. You are cordially invited to sing along in all the hymns sung.
We will conduct several
prayers during the service. We would simply ask that you quietly listen as a leader directs our thoughts in prayer and help us keep these moments distraction free.
On Sundays, we will serve
the Lord's Supper to the audience. Churches of Christ observe this memorial every first day of the week. Again, the reason for this weekly observance is our desire to follow the New Testament pattern (Acts 20:7). Every week has a first day. During this memorial, plates containing the unleavened bread will be passed. Each Christian will break off a small piece of the bread and eat it. Next, trays filled with small cups will be distributed. The cups will contain the "fruit of the vine" (grape juice) to symbolize the blood of Jesus. Each Christian will drink the contents of one of the cups and replace the empty cup in the tray. If you choose not to participate, please do not feel embarrassed. Just pass the plate or tray to the person next to you.
Also, if you visit on a Sunday morning, we will pass collection baskets to collect the weekly financial
offering (I Corinthians 16:1-2). As our guest, you are not expected to make a donation, but you can if you so desire. Feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection basket on down the row.
The
preaching of God's Word is important. You will notice that the preacher does not have some special title, and he will not dress in ecclesiastical vestments. He won't be referred to as Pastor or Reverend. The reason for this is that the Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers - that we are all equal (Matthew 23:8-12; Galatians 3:36-28; I Peter 2:5, 9). The sermon will be about 30 minutes long, and we think you will find it refreshingly Bible-centered.

Invitation


At the close of the sermon, the preacher will extend an invitation. This is simply an expedient time to invite those who feel the need to make a commitment to Christ to do so. Some come forward requesting our prayers in their behalf. The preacher will encourage those who wish to respond to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings a hymn. Please do not feel "pressured" during this time. You will not be singled out in any way. Your decision to come to Christ must be YOUR decision made when YOU are ready. We stress the urgency of this decision, but it is totally up to you.

There may be several who respond, or none. Some might respond for baptism, some to confess sins, or some to ask for prayer for a specific need. 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), and it will be for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38). We have a baptistry filled and ready as well as other garments to wear during the baptism.

What is Expected of You?


Nothing at all! You are welcome to participate, but don't feel obligated to do so - just observe, if that is your choice. We will probably ask you to fill out a Visitor's Card so that we can have a record of your attendance, and it provides us with the necessary information so we can send you a thank you note for your visit. Please do not feel that this is a "hook" that we will use to pressure you in the future.

We welcome you in advance and want to thank you for coming to "check us out." If convenient, we hope you will linger for a few moments after the services so that we can get acquainted. We would enjoy getting to know you.