When you visit the services of the Oxford church of Christ you will be warmly received. There are greeters located at the doors you come in and, if necessary they will point you in the direction you need to go, whether for worship, Bible class, the restroom or nursery. If you need anything please feel free to ask!
We worship in what we call the “auditorium” of the church building. The auditorium is suitable for a large attendance, so please feel free to sit where you like, where you can be comfortable and attentive. Worship services average about one hour to one hour and ten minutes in length. Worship attire is determined on the part of the participant; however, we encourage a good, modest approach to worship apparel. When we assemble, we may begin with a period of announcements. The worship itself consists of five acts, or parts, which have been observed by the church since the first century. We are confident that, with the right heart, our worship modeled after New Testament teaching is acceptable unto God.
When you are seated, you will find a songbook located on the back of the pew in front of you. When the song leader announces a number, you can turn in the songbook to that number to find the words and music. The same page of music will be displayed on the projection screen at the front of the auditorium.
To pattern Scripture, the singing is congregational; that is, everyone sings together. Also, we sing “a capella,” or without the accompaniment of musical instruments. (1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:18,19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12) We are convicted this is the way God approves, since both Scripture and church history corroborate this method.
There will be several prayers during the service, and there may be prayers for special needs or requests. One of the Christian men will lead the church in prayer.
If you visit on a Sunday morning, the Lord’s Supper will be included in the worship proceedings, because churches of Christ observe this memorial every Sunday. Again, the reason for this is to follow the pattern of New Testament teaching. The first century church celebrated its observance on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7).
During this memorial, plates containing pieces of unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) Each participating person will take off a piece of the bread and eat it. Next, trays filled with small cups will be distributed. The cup will contain “fruit of the vine,” or grape juice, symbolizing the blood of Jesus. Each participant will drink the contents of one of the cups.
Also, if you visit on a Sunday morning, containers will be passed to collect the weekly financial offering (1 Corinthians 16:1,2). As our guest, you are not expected to make a donation. Feel perfectly comfortable in just passing the collection plate down the row.
You will notice that the preacher doesn’t have a title. He won’t be referred to as “Pastor” or “Reverend.” He will probably be referred to as “brother.” He won’t be wearing any ecclesiastical vestments which set him apart. The reason for this is our belief in the priesthood of all believers – that all are equal in Christ (Matthew 23:8-12; Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Peter 2:5,9). The sermon, or lesson, presented will be Bible-centered, so you may want to bring a Bible with you; otherwise, there are Bibles available on the racks on each pew. There are usually helpful handouts/outlines you may pick up upon entering the auditorium that may help you follow along during the sermon. The preacher also often uses Power Point as a visual aid for his lessons.
At the close of the sermon, the preacher will “extend an invitation.” This is simply an expedient time to invite those who are moved to do so, to make a commitment or request prayer support. He will encourage those who wish to “respond” to come to the front of the auditorium while the congregation sings a hymn. There may be several who respond, or none. Some may respond for baptism. Some to confess sins. Some to ask prayer for a specific need. Some to “identify” or “place membership” with the church. If anyone responds for baptism, you may witness the baptism during this service. The baptism will be by immersion (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2:12). And it will be for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).