MAIN SERVICE: 9:30 AM SUNDAYS
Have you been invited to one of our services? Just looking around? Here's the lowdown on what goes on...
Our Sunday service starts at 9:30am and generally runs just over 1 hour. The service is in English. After the service, you have the option of stopping for a chat over tea or coffee. The most important thing you need to know is that you are our guest! Below is a brief run down on what happens during a typical Sunday service.
When you walk in, you'll be greeted by someone from our congregation. They'll give you a copy of our newsletter "The Beacon" and might ask for your name if you're new or visiting. If it is your first time, we would love for you to sign our guest book as a record of your visit. Of course, this is optional and you don't have to give us your name if you'd rather stay anonymous.
Wherever you like is the short answer. If you know someone, you might like to sit with them. If you think you might wanna duck out or don't want people to see you, you can stay up the back. The seats furthest away tend to attract fewer people, especially the far left. If you really want, you can sit right in the front row! Nothing's reserved.
We like to open our service with singing. During this time, we'll sing a few songs that give praise to God. Generally it's a combination of modern Christian music (set to piano, drums, guitar and bass) and more traditional style hymns. The words to the songs are all shown on a data projector and we've got 'praise leaders' up the front. Their job is to sing really loud in the microphones so no one else gets embarrassed!
The purpose of the music and singing is to focus us back on God. The daily week can be distracting! Singing helps to open our hearts up to what's important in life. If you don't feel like singing out loud, that's OK. Some of the songs are sung standing up and some sitting down but if you're not a fan of standing, then it's OK to stay sitting. We have regular folks who stay sitting so you won't need to worry about looking out of place.
It's always nice to have visitors or new faces, so during this time there is the opportunity to greet one another bit.
Someone will then talk about upcoming events, important things that have happened during the week and general 'housekeeping' issues. It's so people who regularly attend are reminded of what's happening in our church family.
This is the heart of our service. Churches who are part of the association of the Churches of Christ in Australia will celebrate this every week. Communion has many other names including: the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, the Sacraments, the Elements or the Bread and Wine.
You don't have to be a member of our church to participate. If you believe that Jesus is your personal Lord and Saviour, you are invited to take part.
This ceremony symbolises the key message of what Christianity is all about, that by Jesus dying on the Cross, He took the punishment that was meant for us and that the act makes us appear clean us in the eyes of God, 'forgiveness of sins'. We do this because there are records* in the Bible that Jesus asked us to do so. Jesus didn't specify the details of what was required. Rather, it's what we're thinking about when we're doing it that's important.
Helpers will bring around broken pieces of dry wafers. This is the 'bread' that symbolises Jesus' body that was broken on the cross.
Helpers will then bring around individual cups of grape juice. This is the 'wine' that symbolises Jesus' blood that was poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Usually we will be invited to wait until everyone has a piece of bread and then eat it together expressing the fact of our unity in Jesus Christ)
There are some different views about what communion is. What we believe is that the bread and wine are symbols and aren't actually special in themselves. That's why it doesn't matter if we use bread or wafers, wine or grape juice. What is important is that we understand the abstract concept it is representing. It also doesn't matter if you do this ceremony every day, every week, every month or every year. We choose to do this every week so it is the highlight of our service.
This is the part of the service where our regular attenders and partners have an opportunity to give a financial offering back to God.
If you are new or visiting, you are our guest so please do not feel that you have to give.
The money collected is used to pay our pastors and administration staff and to fund ministries at the local community level (such as Streetwork), national level (such as the Australian Christian and Indigenous Ministries) and international level (such as Global Mission Partners).
During this part of the service, a member will speak into the microphone and 'lead' the congregation in prayer. We believe that when we pray, we are speaking directly to God. Some people like to bow their heads or close their eyes to help them focus and concentrate but it is not a necessary part of prayer. Neither is speaking out loud! During prayer, we thank God for all the blessings that He has given to us, we pray that the money given in the offering will be used wisely and we pray for people and special events that may be happening. The prayer ends with "Amen" which means "That's the truth". Some people in the congregation will respond by also saying "Amen", which means they agree with the prayer that has been said out loud.
Before the sermon or message, we will have a passage from the Bible read out. The words will be shown on the overhead screen. We believe that the Bible is the word of God, that is, His instruction booklet to us for life. We also know that we have to be cautious in how we interpret His instructions. In particular, not to take parts of it out of context, or not to take parts literally when they were meant to be figures of speech or vice versa!
The sermon or message generally follows the Bible reading. During this time, our pastor (or guest speaker) will speak to us about a key aspect of Christianity and help us to understand the Bible passage that was just read. We encourage everyone who listens to make sure that we are communicating the right message about what God wants and not distorting it based on our own biased judgements. The Bible actually warns us not to blindly accept everything we're told but to critically evaluate and test it to make sure it comes from God (1 John 4).
At the end, we'll probably have a brief closing prayer and maybe sing another song.
After that, the service is finished and it's a more casual time for tea, coffee, biscuits and a chat!