While having a personal, intimate relationship with God is the basis of salvation, it is also important to meet together with other believers to encourage each other and learn together. Here are a few things that you will see at a regular service and why they are important.
- Worship: There will be a time of singing (Colossians 3:16). There will be music, prayer, and the sharing of verses. You may see some people raising their hands, with their eyes closed. This is a form of positioning ourselves physically for praise (Psalm 134:2). It is a position of surrender, adoration, and worship. Others may stand still with their eyes open. This is a matter of preference. The main goal is for our hearts to be opened to praise and to be ready to receive what the Lord has for us through His word.
- Preaching: Our pastors have spent hours studying, training, practicing, and praying to teach scripture (I Timothy 4:13). A great way to participate is to take notes and bring a Bible (or use the Bible app).
- Baptism: Often there is a time of Baptism during a service. Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward change that happens when we decide to follow Jesus (Acts 2:41). A person is fully submerged under water to represent the death of their old life and being cleansed of all sin. Then they come out of the water to represent the new life they have in Jesus. All new believers are encouraged to participate in Baptism.
- Communion: Jesus started the tradition of communion. He instructed His followers to use bread and wine to remember the sacrifice He was going to make when He died for our sins on the cross (). They ate the bread to represent His body because He is the bread of life (John 6:48-51). Then they would drink wine to represent the blood that was spilled when He was sacrificed for our sins. This is a precious time of remembrance for believers; most churches use bread or crackers and grape juice, but the most important part of communion is the time to thank Jesus for His sacrifice for us.
- Offering: During a regular church service there may be a time for giving. This is because the church solely relies on generosity to sustain its ministries. Every dollar goes towards the ministries of the church, the ministries and charities the church supports, the payment of the staff, the maintenance of the church building, the maintenance of supplies etc. (2 Corinthians 7:9).
These practices are ways that, together with other believers, we can build a community based in worship, reach others with the gospel of Jesus, and remember what God has done for us.