by Irvin Barnes, Pleasant View Church Of Christ
Would you consider attending the worship services of a church that is ONLY a church? A church that provides no theatrics, no special fund-raisers, no fashion statements, no Sunday schools, no sports programs, no health or exercise programs? A church not involved in political agendas, secular celebrations, festivals, pageants, vacation bible schools, paint ball games, and other forms of entertainment? A church that provides no professional choir, no special singing groups, no special solos, no orchestra, and no band?
The following pages are offered as an introduction to the Church of Christ, which meets at Pleasant View. This is to let you to know who we are, and what we stand for religiously. We also wish to explain the simplicity of the church that meets at Pleasant View by pointing out the activities that the church engages in on a regular basis.
We hope this information will cause you to look further into the affairs of the congregation by attending the regular worship services each Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A friendly atmosphere and cordial welcome awaits you. At Pleasant View, you will find a joyous, happy and hopeful group committed to following the New Testament Scriptures as our only guide in matters of faith and practice.
At 10:00 a.m. every Sunday, approximately 20 families, including folks from infants to senior citizens, will gather together in one undivided assembly (Acts 11:26, Heb. 10:25, Acts 15:30, Acts 20:7, James 2:2-4). The congregation is made up of people of all ages and from various walks of life. We have some who are retired, others who are accountants, doctors, skilled factory workers, students, paralegals, teachers, computer techs, sales persons, comptrollers and farmers.
Everyone is encouraged to dress modestly, (1st. Tim. 2:8-9). Beyond the modesty factor, there is no dress code. Some will choose to dress casually, while others may choose to dress more formally.
The service will begin when a song leader will come to the front of the assembly. He will call the worship service to order, welcome those present and announce the first song number. Everyone is encouraged to take a song book provided in a holder on the back of each pew and sing together congregationally. The singing is a ccapella.
There are no mechanical instruments of music in the building (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16, Heb.2:12).
After the congregation has worshiped together in the singing of 4 or 5 songs, hyms and spiritual songs, a brother will go to the pulpit and read his text for the lesson. Following the reading of scripture, another brother will word a prayer (1st Cor. 14:15-16, Acts 2:42). Each member of the assembly is encouraged to listen to the prayer that it may constitute congregational worship in prayer and praise to God. Following the prayer we usually have another song. Following the song one of the male members will come before the assembly to teach a lesson from the word of God. The teaching is always done by male members only, with one speaker, speaking at a time. (1st Cor. 14: 26–35). At the conclusion of the lesson, another song is sung at which time any person who wishes to respond to the gospel may step forward and express his/her desire to the person who has given the lesson. The teacher will then convey to the assembly the need of the one who has come forward. If the individual who comes forward is a member who wishes to confess faults, this is explained to the assembly and prayer is made on his/her behalf (James 5:16).
If some one steps forward requesting baptism, an announcement is made that the baptism will occur as soon as the service is over. When the worship service is completed, the baptistry will be filled. The candidate for baptism will make the good confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and then the individual will be immersed in water for the remission of sins in the presence of those who have stayed for the baptism (Acts 8:12, Acts 2:38, Acts 8:35-39, Rom.10:9-10).
In the event that there is no response to the invitation song, the teacher turns the service over to a brother who has been appointed to offer thanks at the Lord’s table. The Lord’s table will have been prepared before the service began. A single loaf, (cake of unleavened bread) and a single cup (drinking vessel) containing grape juice will be on the table. The brother who is serving at the table will read scriptures or make remarks to explain the purpose of the communion and to encourage the members to truly remember the crucified body of Christ as represented by the bread and to remember the shedding of Christ’s blood to seal the new testament as represented by the cup of grape juice.
Following the explanation, the brother will ask the congregation to unite their minds together as he offers words of blessing for the bread. The single loaf will then be passed to each member. Each communicant will then break from the bread and eat in memory of Christ’s body. After each member partakes of the bread, the brother who is serving at the table will offer thanks for the cup containing grape juice. The cup will then be passed to each member. Each communicant will drink from the cup in memory of Christ’s shed blood which sealed and ratified His new testament. The scripture references that teach this practice are found as follows:
Acts 20:7, Acts 2:42, 1st Cor.10:16-17, 1st. Cor. 11:23-26, Matt. 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:17-20. This communion service observed every Sunday is the only communion service observed by the church.
At the conclusion of the communion a brother will review the teaching of the scriptures concerning a monetary collection. These verses are as follows:
1stCor. 16:1-2, 2ndCor. 9:6-7. A basket is then passed so each member can contribute into a common collection. This collection taken every Sunday is the only collection ever taken by the church. The funds collected each Sunday are placed into a treasury. The money is used to support the spreading of the gospel (1st Cor. 9: 15, 1st Tim.5:17) and to assist fellow Christians who have suffered hardship (2ndCor. 8:1-15 & 1st John 3:17).
Announcements are made pertaining to upcoming church services, those who are sick and gospel meetings at sister congregations in the area. The congregation is asked to stand for a closing song and prayer. This concludes a service of about one and one half hours of worship in song, prayers, giving, preaching and communion in memory of Christ’s death.
The congregation has other public worship services which are intended to encourage Christians and to preach the gospel to the unsaved. This type of service is held each Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The church also has protracted meetings where the church meets every night for the preaching of the gospel by guest preachers. These gospel meetings will vary in the number of days the services are continued. Usually, the meetings last 1 week. In these services the worship is the same as on Sunday morning, except we have no collections and no communion. The communion and the collection are taken only in the Sunday morning worship service according to Acts 20:7 and 1st. Cor. 16:1-2. These special services are in keeping with Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 2:46, Acts 11:26 and Acts 15:30.
A SPECIAL INVITATION
Please make plans to attend any of our services. If you have questions concerning the church or if you would like to enlist the help of some of our members in studying the scriptures, please call Irvin Barnes at 417-833-4710 or Kent May at 417-833-1032.