We hope you’ll be our guest at the Lebanon Valley Church of Christ! We want you to feel comfortable, so here’s what you can expect when you honor us with a visit.
Our background may help you understand us. Our goal is to restore the New Testament church in our time. We attempt to determine what the church was like in the beginning, and to be like that church as much as possible.
We work to be a non-denominational, Bible-centered church. We know our conclusions aren’t flawless and our practices are sometimes colored by habit, preference, tradition or convenience. Even so, we hold the Bible as our only guide in religious matters.
Now, let us walk you through a typical worship service.
If you have visited another Church of Christ, you may have noticed some variations from this description, because every Church of Christ is autonomous (independent). We are not associated with any denomination or organized religious group.
Doors are open early at 25 North 4th Street. If you enter via the front of the building, you’ll enter what we refer to as the “auditorium”, where you will find rows of chairs. There are no reserved seats, so feel free to sit anywhere you choose. If you enter via the back parking lot and entrance, you’ll first pass through our fellowship room before coming to the auditorium.
One of the unique things about most Churches of Christ is that the music is acapella. That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. During the worship service, the words of the songs will be projected onto the screen in front of you if you’d like to join us in singing.
Spoken prayers are a large part of our gatherings. We believe in the power of prayer, and we often pray for specific needs and requests.
The Lord’s Supper / Communion
The Lord’s Supper (or Communion) is a central part of our worship service. This time of remembrance is the original way of celebrating the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of each week.
Before service starts, please take one of the pre-packaged communion wafers and juice cups located in the back fellowship room if you’d like to participate (they’re on the right side table as you walk in from the back, parking lot entrance).
During this time of the service, someone will share a few thoughts and then offer a prayer for the bread, which symbolizes the body of Jesus. After the prayer, each participant will take the unleavened wafer and eat it.
Next, a prayer will be offered for the cup (of grape juice), which symbolizes the blood of Jesus. After the prayer, each participant will drink the juice.
Prior to the main lesson/sermon, all kids ages 2-10 will be dismissed for children’s worship. This is optional, but provides a lesson/craft geared towards them.
Who preaches is not as important as what is preached. He won’t be wearing any special clothing that sets him apart. He is one of us. The reason for this is our belief that all are equal in the priesthood of believers.
The lesson will be around 25-30 minutes. We hope you find it refreshingly Bible-centered, useful, and encouraging as you begin a new week.
The Invitation / Garden of Prayer
Inviting worshipers to make a commitment to Jesus will sometimes be part of the sermon. At the close of the lesson, the speaker will usually “extend an invitation”. He will encourage those who wish to “respond” to go to him or one of the elders while the congregation sings.
Don’t feel ill-at-ease during this invitation. You will not be singled out in any way.
There may be several who respond, or none. Some may respond for baptism. Some to confess sins. Some to ask for prayers for a specific need or to give thanks.
If anyone responds for baptism, you will witness baptism during the service. The baptism will be by immersion for the forgiveness of sins.
How many times will you be asked for money? None. We have containers in the back room to collect the weekly financial offering. As our guest, you are welcome to make a donation if you’d like, but please do not feel obligated to do so.
What Will Be Expected of You?
Nothing at all! You are welcome to participate but do not feel obligated. Just observe if that is your choice.
So, what kind of people can you expect to find? Pretty much the entire spectrum. Like many groups, we are diverse, coming from varied backgrounds and different stages of knowledge and spiritual growth. We don’t know everything, but we are learning. We don’t do everything right, but we are improving. We don’t always treat each other as we should. We haven’t arrived – we’re on the journey.
But you see, we were not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or personal righteousness. We were brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus.
We were brought together by a common goal. We want to be God’s people and bring others to the tender healing mercy of our Father in Heaven.