Worship: What to Expect

We understand that it can be a little overwhelming and scary to visit a new church.  We hope that the words you read here will help calm your mind because you will be prepared for what to expect when you visit us for worship.

The church of Christ that meets at Hilldale is a diverse congregation which includes a crowd of all ages.  You will find individuals and families from all walks of life; military, APSU students, business owners, law enforcement, office workers, teachers, high school students, retirees, truck drivers, retail workers and everything in between.  The churches of Christ are diversified so you will find all races and nationalities working and worshiping together within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

Call to Worship

On Sunday our worship services will begin with a welcome and call to worship from one of our Elders.  Our Elders, also know as shepherds, help guide and lead the church that meets here at Hilldale (Acts 14:23; James 5:14; Titus 1;6-9; ).  As part of their “shepherding” they start our worship service each Sunday with a thought from the Bible.

Singing

Our worship music is “a cappella” which means that we sing together without the accompaniment of musical instruments.  We do this is keeping with the practice of the early church and what we read in the New Testament (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).  During our singing we use only our voices to praise God.

Praying

During the course of our worship assembly we will pause for prayer, lead by one of the men.  We believe in the power of prayer, and we often pray for specific needs, people, events, and other requests that are made known (Romans 12:12).

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper (some refer to it as communion) will always be included every Sunday during our worship.  The reason for weekly observance is our desire to follow the pattern of the early church set forth in Acts 20:7.  During this time two plates will be passed around.  One will contain pieces of unleavened bread, which symbolizes the body of Jesus, and one will contain small cups of grape juice, which symbolizes the blood of Christ.  This weekly memorial can be read about in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.  Each participating Christian will break off a piece of the unleavened bread and eat it and likewise will take a small cup of grape juice and drink it.  We encourage all baptized believers to participate in the Lord’s Supper each and every Sunday.  If you choose not to participate. do not feel embarrassed or out of place.  Feel free to pass the tray along to the person beside you.

The Offering

During this time our members will take part in a weekly giving like we read about in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.  As a guest, you will not be asked, nor expected to make a contribution.

Scripture Reading

Before the sermon everyone will stand for a public reading of God’s Word.  The words will be put up on the screen for all t0 see and read to themselves.

Sermon/Lesson

Our ministers do not have special titles like Pastor or Reverend and they do not wear special clothing that sets them apart.  Our ministers are part of the church that meets here at Hilldale, however at this time in our worship they get to use their gifts God has blessed them with to share a message from God’s Word.  The sermon will usually be about 20-35 minutes in length and will be Bible-centered.  You may follow along in your own Bible or there are some on the back of the pew in front of you that you can use.  You will also discover that some passages are projected on the screen during the sermon.

At the close of the sermon the speaker will offer an “invitation.” During this time the congregation will stand and sing.  If anyone would like to ask for prayers, confess sins in a public way, or ask to be baptized they may come down front during this time.  This is just a convenient time to ask for help or to solicit prayers so we can live out James 5:16.  During the song two of our Elders will join our speaker down front to meet anyone that may “come forward.”  There is no need to feel uncomfortable during this part of our worship.  You will not be asked to do anything or be singled out.  If any “respond” one of our Elders will stand up and lead us in a prayer for that person, or someone may get ready to be baptized.

Baptism

If someone responds for baptism, they will confess their faith in Jesus Christ and will be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.  The entire assembly will be able to watch the baptism.  The baptism will be by immersion (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3) and for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).