Elders and Deacons – Church government
We hold to the Presbyterian form of church government. This means that we are governed by Elders. Eldership is a role specifically for men whom God has called and who fit the qualifications found in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. The Pastor and Elders will oversee all the worship while also encouraging younger men to participate in different areas of the service.
What is involved in our Sunday Worship service?
We believe that the worship of God is central to every aspect of our lives. Jesus said the time would come when true worshipers would worship God in “spirit and in truth” (John 4:23) and this can be done whenever and wherever we are. We believe that as we gather together on Sunday, we meet to celebrate and proclaim the risen Lord Jesus. It was on Sunday that He rose again and therefore the day we set aside to spend in corporate worship (as a body of believers).
During our worship, the Bible is central as it is the Word of God. The Bible reveals and teaches us about God, along with revealing more of our own state before Him. It also makes known how He has worked throughout history to save His people.
The preaching of God’s Word takes precedence during the service on Sunday. We seek to study the Word of God so that we can better understand it by applying it to our lives and the lives of our families and friends. Joel R. Beeke explains Reformed experiential preaching this way,
“Reformed experiential preaching is not merely aesthetic, causing people to walk away thinking, “what a beautiful idea!” It is not merely informative, imparting knowledge about the Bible and Theology. It is not merely emotional, warming hearts and producing strong feelings. It is not merely moralistic, instructing and exhorting in what is right and wrong. All of these elements are present in good preaching, but none of them is the heart of the matter.
Reformed experiential preaching uses the truth of Scripture to shine the glory of God into the depths of the soul to call people to live solely and wholly for God. It breaks us and remakes us. It is both exhilarating and humbling. Such preaching brings us face to face with the most glorious and delightful Being in the universe, and also face to face with our own profound wickedness. By such preaching, the Holy God binds Himself to sinful men heart to heart with a word of blood-bought grace.”Joel R. Beeke, Reformed Preaching (Crossway: Illinois, 2018), 24.
During our worship, we also take the time to sing Psalms, hymns and some contemporary songs of praise to God. We are led in worship by a talented musician who is also an Elder of our church.
Prayer is also very important during our worship to God. Every service begins with a call to worship followed by prayer. We seek to call upon God before, during and after worship to ask for His blessings and Grace to be upon us. Part of our time together is dedicated to a Pastoral prayer where we focus on time to pray for our members, the broader church and the world.
We celebrate the two sacraments that were given to the Church by the Lord Jesus Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We believe baptism is the sign of the New Covenant. Baptism is not just for those who believe and profess faith in Jesus. It is also for the children of believers. When we read the Old Testament, we see clearly that the children of the people of God (Israelites) were a part of the covenant society. In Deuteronomy 29:10-15 the children were included in the important moments of worship and covenant blessings that God gave to His people. We see the same thing in Joshua 8:35, 2 Chronicles 20:13 and Joel 2:16. Children are considered to be a special part of the people of God. They are always included and always welcome. When we come to the New Testament, the covenant sign has changed from circumcision to baptism. This baptism is for those who are old enough to believe and take the sign upon themselves, and also for babies or infants of believing parents. For example, when the Gospel began to spread we expect the sign of believers to also spread. In the book of Acts we have many examples of family groups and households being baptised. This included believing parents and their children (Acts 2:37-38, 10 & 11, 16:14-15, 16:31, 18:8). We do not believe that baptism saves a person rather it is a sign that the person is a part of the people of God. We baptise the children of believing parents with the hope and desire that the child will grow up in the covenant, receiving the blessings, nurture and guidance from their parents and the whole body of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper is also a sacrament that we take very seriously. We join together once a month to celebrate, remember, and be spiritually nourished during the Lord’s Supper. After the Lord’s Supper, we will also come together to share in a meal. We believe that the bread is to remind us of Jesus’ body that was broken, and the wine is to remind us of His blood that was shed for us. This sacrament comes with a warning and is to be taken seriously. A person is to discern whether they are to take it or not, because taking it with the wrong motive or intention is a sin. This sacrament is not for the self-proclaimed righteous person, rather it is a sacrament for the sinner. It is to be taken by those who look for forgiveness and hope that is found in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 26:17-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 23:7-23, 1 Cor 11:7-34).
Creeds and Confessions
During our worship, we will read from either the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed. This usually takes place on the Sunday we celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. The Creeds encourage us to concisely proclaim what we believe out loud to each other.
While the Confessions like the Westminster Confession help us to clearly understand the doctrines we believe as found in the Holy Bible.
What about Children During Worship?
Before the worship service begins, there is an optional Sunday school that begins at 9:45 and is held for 15 minutes. During this time, the children will be taught about the Westminster Shorter Catechism (questions and answers about our faith), or a text from the Bible.
Once the children have taken part in Sunday school, they are all welcomed into the main meeting room/hall before worship begins. We believe that corporate worship on Sunday is so fundamental to our lives as Christians that we encourage our children and visitors’ children to take part in the full worship service. Jesus said children should not be hindered from coming to Him (Mark 10:14) and we seek to support them and lead them by example in worship so they may grow up in the fear and knowledge of God.
For those who want to seriously consider joining our congregation, we encourage you to join as church members. Church membership is not like joining a club rather it is a way believers can declare and proclaim their promise to join in and participate in the church and congregational life.