What You Can Expect When You Visit the Wetzel Road Church of Christ
We know how an unfamiliar place can be intimidating, so let us tell you what you can expect when you honor us with a visit.
A Warm Welcome
We trust that you will observe that we are a church family that enjoys being together. We warmly interact with each other, and we warmly reach out to our visitors. So we will gladly greet you at the door and introduce ourselves before and after the worship service. As you enter, someone will likely hand you a worship bulletin that will include an order for the worship service.
Our congregation loves to sing praises to God. The words and the music will be projected on the screen at the front of the auditorium. You are also welcome to use a hymnal that you will find in a bookrack on the back of the pew in front of you.
One of the unique things about churches of Christ - and something you may find refreshingly different - is that our music is “a cappella.” That is, we sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments.
This is a conviction with us, not just a preference. It has its roots in our restoration heritage. We are seeking to worship according to the New Testament pattern. Since the New Testament leaves instrumental music out, we believe it's best to exclude it, too (1).
We hope you will find the singing meaningful, and inspiring as the entire congregation joins together in praise to God.
There will be several prayers during the service. Some of the prayers will be offered for specific needs and requests.
You will notice that the preacher doesn't have a title. He won't be referred to as Pastor or reverend. He may be referred to as brother, but will more likely be just called by his first name. He won't be wearing any ecclesiastical vestments that set him apart. The reason for this is our belief in the priesthood of all believers - that all are equal in God’s sight (2). The sermon will likely be from 25 to 30 minutes in length. We think you will find it refreshingly Bible-centered.
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. Don't feel ill-at-ease during this invitation. You will not be singled out or pressured in anyway. There may be several who respond; or none may respond on any given Sunday.
Some may respond for baptism. Some to confess sins. Some to “identify” or “place membership” with this congregation. If someone responds for baptism, you will witness the baptism during this service. The baptism will be by immersion (3). And it will be for the forgiveness of sins (4).
For those who would desire a more private response or conversation, the elders or ministers of the congregation are available following the conclusion of the service. (Just ask anyone to point them out to you.)
If you visit on a Sunday morning, the Lord's Supper will be included in the worship service.
During this memorial, plates containing pieces of unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus (5). Each participating person will take a piece of the bread and eat it.
Next, trays filled with small cups will be distributed. The cups will contain “fruit of the vine (grape juice),” symbolizing the blood of Jesus (5). Each participant will drink the contents of one of the cups and place the empty cup back into the tray.
If you choose not to participate, don't be embarrassed. Feel free to pass the plate or tray to the person next to you.
Also, if you visit on a Sunday morning containers will be passed to collect the weekly financial offering (6).
As a visiting guest, please do not feel compelled to make a donation. But if you are a believer in God and want to give an offering to God, then go right ahead. God is pleased with the cheerful giver (7).
What Will Be Expected of You
Nothing at all! You are welcome to participate. But don't feel obligated to. You may just observe, if that is your choice. You will be given the opportunity to fill out a visitor’s card. This simply provides information so the church can thank you for your visit. Supply the information if you are comfortable doing so. But feel free to decline this request if you prefer.
What kind of people can you expect to find? At Wetzel Road we have pretty much the entire spectrum of people; each unique in personality, education, economics, and race. You will see young and old. People who have been Christians for many years, and people who are just beginning their search for God. We don't know everything. We don't do everything right (although we are trying). We don't always treat each other as we should (although we want to). We haven't arrived - we're just on the journey. But, you see, we were not brought together by any illusion of our perfection or righteousness. We were brought together by our recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus (8). But, bottom line, you will find people who love Jesus and love the Bible.
We hope you will come visit us soon.
(1) 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12. (2) Matthew 23:8-12; Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Peter 2:5-9. (3) Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12. (4) Acts 2:38. (5) 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. (6) 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. (7) 2 Corinthians 9:7. (8) Mark 2:17; Romans 5:6-9; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7.