Elders & Minister
Michael Ratcliff, Stan Stockton, and Garl Latham
Stan Crowley with his wife, Carol
If you are unfamiliar with churches of Christ, you may find the worship services different from what you have seen elsewhere. The Sunday services consist of five things, which are based on the commandments and examples, pertaining to the New Testament church. That which we offer to God in worship consists of:
Prayer: I Thess. 5:17-18; Acts 12:5.
Singing: The singing will not be accompanied with instruments or chorus but will be with each individual singing from the heart (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; I Cor. 14:15).
Communion: I Cor. 11:23-29.
Preaching: Acts 20:7; Mark 16:15.
Giving: Christians are to give cheerfully, as they have been prospered by the Lord (I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:7).
There is no guidance in the scriptures as to the time of day that we should have our service. Most congregations have a service on Sunday morning and another on Sunday evening. Also, there are no instructions as to how long a service should last or the order of the service. However, we do know that God is not the author of confusion, and all things are to be done decently and in order (I Cor. 14:33, 40). We are also to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
The Way of Salvation
The way of salvation has never changed since Jesus gave His great commission to the apostles. It was preached by Peter on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus. Thereafter, example after example, in the book of Acts, leaves no doubt what the Lord commands of us today.
The GOSPEL is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Those who are Christians are commanded to teach the gospel to all nations (Matt. 28:18-19, Mark 16:15).
Those who hear the gospel are to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 16:16). There is no other name under heaven whereby men must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Belief is to lead men to REPENT of their past sins (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 2:38). This is brought about by learning of the goodness of God and seeing our own lost condition (Rom. 2:4).
It should be easy to see that neither the individual, who does not believe in Jesus, nor the one who will not repent, are ready to be servants of God. Therefore, God will not forgive them of their sins.
They must CONFESS that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:29-39; Rom. 10:10). Jesus also stated that if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before His Father. If we deny Him, He will deny us (Matt. 10:32-33).
We are to be BAPTIZED (immersed) for the forgivness of our sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38, 22:16; Rom. 6:1-11; Gal. 3:27-28).
Then, BE FAITHFUL UNTIL DEATH (Rev. 2:10).
The Lord's Church
Its Founder: Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18).
Its Names: Several names are used in the New Testament, such as churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16), church of God (I Cor. 1:2), and church of the First-born (Heb. 12:23). They indicate the church belongs to Christ, and any of them may be used when referring to the church. Division was condemned, and denominations did not exist at the time of the apostles.
Its Organization: In the New Testament church there was no earthly head office, and each congregation was independent. There were elders, who are also called bishops or presbyters, who were responsible for the spiritual oversight. Deacons were responsible for the physical tasks. See I Tim. 3; Titus 1; Acts 20:28-31; Heb. 13:7, 17; and I Pet. 5:1-4.
Its Mission: To preach the gospel so that souls may be saved. The church takes the gospel to those who have not heard so that they might have an opportunity to obey. It also teaches, encourages, exhorts, and chastises those who are Christians so that they might grow and mature spiritually (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 15:15-16; Rom. 1:16; II Tim. 2:15, 3:14-17; and II Pet. 1:1-11).