If you have never visited a congregation of the church of Christ, you may think they are just like any other church. And while you will find similarities, there are differences that set them apart from every other religious group.
Let us begin with the name; church of Christ. Actually, it is not as much a name as it is a description. It is the church that belongs to Jesus Christ. The New Testament records a discussion between Jesus and his disciples when he asked them, "who do you say that I am?" When the disciple Peter responded, "you are the Christ, the Son of the living God". Jesus said, "and I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church". (See Matthew 16:18). It is Jesus' church; the church of Christ.
About thirty years later, the apostle Paul was writing a letter to the Colossians. He was writing about the preeminence of Jesus and said, "He is the head of the body, the church". (See Colossians 1:18). Therefore, it is the church that Jesus built; the church of which he is the head; the church of Christ. It is also the description used by the earliest church members. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians saying, "Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you". (See Romans 16:16).
Another difference is the organization of the church. Each congregation of the church of Christ is separate and apart from every other congregation. In other words, each congregation stands alone; there is no centralized governing body regulating or overseeing multiple congregations. The reason for this is, as mentioned above, Jesus Christ is the recognized head of the church. The apostle Paul spoke of God putting all things under Jesus' feet and "gave him as head over all things to the church which is his body". (See Ephesians 1:22). His words then, the scriptures of the New Testament, are his words of authority; and the New Testament does not mention any centralized governing body over multiple congregations. Because of the recognition of the New Testament as the authority for the actions of a congregation, there is a remarkable unity between all congregations of the church of Christ. In that we see the wisdom of God.
Likewise, in all aspects of church life, the New Testament scriptures are looked to as our guide. They instruct us in the ways of worship. Therefore, when you visit a congregation of the church of Christ, you will hear no mechanical instruments of music. The only kind of music practiced by the earthly church in the New Testament is singing. (See Ephesians 5:19). The scriptures reveal the church that Christ built met every first day of the week and on that day they observed a memorial of the death of Jesus on the cross. (See Acts 20:7). Therefore, we meet every Sunday and when you visit with us, you will witness the primary reason for our gathering together; to observe what has become known as The Lord's Supper. Unleavened bread is eaten to symbolize the body of Jesus sacrificed on the cross. The fruit of the vine, symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed for our sins. (See I Corinthians 11:23-25).
When you visit with us, you will hear prayers offered to God on behalf of all. We believe that God hears our prayers and wants to hear from us as a father wants to hear from his children. When we assemble together, we will be strengthened, admonished and encouraged through the preaching of the word of God.
And, at the close of the service, an invitation will be offered. The invitation is an opportunity for anyone present who is not a Christian to become one. We realize this is a serious decision. No one can make the decision for us; therefore, no one is forced to respond. It is also an opportunity for Christians to respond. Sometimes even Christians fall prey to the temptations Satan lays before us. We are merely humans; weak and sinful. There are times when we too must repent and ask for God's forgiveness and the prayers of loving brethren. Others may be experiencing difficulties in life unrelated to sin and simply need the encouragement of their spiritual family; the invitation is also extended for their benefit.
We hope the purity and simplicity of the church of Christ is appealing to you. Our goal is to glorify our Heavenly Father and to lift up Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Won't you join us? We look forward to seeing you!